How to Foster a Furry Friend

Thursday, August 20, 2015

foster-cat-and-dogDogs and cats make great companions. They are therapeutic, adventurous, loyal, and loving. Despite their endearing qualities, many pets still end up in shelters. Sheltered animals just want a loving home and family, but sometimes they need some care before they can be adopted permanently. That’s where pet foster homes come in.



What is a pet foster home?

Foster homes are temporary homes for animals that are not quite ready for a “forever home.” They are a great way for pet lovers to look after an animal without making a long-term commitment.

Foster homes provide for the basic needs of a pet such as grooming, feeding, giving medications, and of course, showing love to the foster pet . But some foster pets need extra attention. Puppies or kittens may need to be trained. Animals with behavioural problems may need special training and care.

In most cases, a shelter will pay for some or all of the cost of food, medications, kennel, and vet bills that an animal may need. When an animal is ready to live in a forever home, he or she is placed for permanent adoption.

Why do shelter animals need foster homes?

Often, animals end up in shelters because:

  • They are stray animals or rescue animals with nowhere else to go.
  • The owner did not anticipate the amount of work it would take to care for a pet.
  • The owner moves to a smaller house or condo that does not allow pets.
  • The owner is moving far away and cannot take the pet.
  • The owner is in a domestic violence situation and needs a temporary home for the pet.

Many pets at a shelter are not ready to be placed for adoption immediately. Some animals in shelters need foster homes because:

  • They are too young or sick to be adopted, and require medication or special care.
  • A dog or cat has a litter of puppies or kittens that cannot be separated from their mother.
  • The animal has some behavioural issues that need to be addressed before being adopted.

Things to consider before you become a pet foster parent

Even though a pet foster home is a temporary placement, it is still a major commitment. It can be very difficult, especially in cases where there is a litter of puppies or kittens to look after, or if the animal requires medication or special care.

Often these animals are not trained, so a pet foster parent must help train the pet. Along with that is the need to understand that untrained animals can make a mess of a house and the furniture.

Caring for animals is a large undertaking, requiring time and energy. It may even mean that you are unable to take a vacation or leave the house while a shelter pet is in your care.

Other members of your household need to be considered before you become a pet foster parent. Is anyone in your household allergic to animals? Are children old enough to be gentle and to care for a pet? Will they be able to say goodbye to that pet when it’s ready for adoption? Do schedules allow for family members to exercise the pet, and give it medication and food?

Qualities of a good pet foster parent

Becoming a pet foster parent takes a special person. There are several qualities a pet foster parent must have including:

  • A desire and the patience to care for an animal that may not have experienced a loving environment before.
  • The cooperation and support of all members of your household.
  • The time and availability to look after a foster pet.
  • A loving, caring environment for your foster pet.
  • The ability to say goodbye once your pet has been adopted.

Becoming a pet foster parent

If you feel that you would make an excellent foster parent for an animal in need and want more information, please visit the following websites:

The Calgary Humane Society - You’ll find lots of information and many opportunities to become a pet foster parent in Calgary on this site.

Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society -This Alberta-wide organization focuses its efforts on rescuing animals. This site provides great information on how to become a pet foster parent.

Oops-a-Dazy - This pet rescue and animal shelter in Calgary and the surrounding area offers opportunities to be a one-time pet foster parent, or to foster a pet regularly.

If you have a passion for aiding helpless four-legged animals, consider becoming a pet foster parent. Your furry friends will love you for it.

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