Many animals are saved by people opening their hearts and homes to take them in temporarily until the pets can find a forever home. Some people may think that since the pets may be there only temporarily that it requires little to no effort to do fostering, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. While it is an excellent idea to foster, you should be aware of the pros and cons before fostering a pet to make sure it is the right decision for you.
Pro: Animal lives outside of a shelter
Having people foster pets is one of the ways that a shelter could hold off having to euthanize animals and help as many animals as possible. Instead of the pet living at a shelter in a cage until being adopted, he can live at a home where he has room to frolic and play. He also has the chance to get plenty of love and attention specifically for him that he doesn’t have to share with many other pets in a shelter.
One of the major cons of fostering is getting attached only to have to give the pet back. While a foster pet parent may get attached to one more animal more than another, it is still very possible to get somewhat attached to each pet that comes into the home. Make sure that you have the strength to be able to return the pet when necessary.
Pro: Opportunity to try different breeds and animals
If you are contemplating adopting a specific animal or breed, fostering can be a good way to judge which is right for you. Once you become a foster pet parent, make a request to the shelter to keep an eye out for a specific animal or breed. If it turns out one isn’t the right match for you, you still did a good deed fostering the pet and can move on to finding a more perfect match.
Con: Constant Training
Some pets that come through your home may have behavioral issues or may need training. You need to make sure you have plenty of patience to deal with potty training issues, separation anxiety and any other issues that come about. You could have a string of pets that need some type of help or training, however, with some work and extra love you could be the foster parent to train the pet enough to make them even more adoptable. Depending on the organization, if you really have a huge problem with training, you may be able to make a request to the shelter for one that has already had all of the training necessary.
Pro: Evaluating individual animals for adoption
A foster pet parent could have priority when it comes to adopting a specific pet. When the bond becomes so strong between person and pet, it may be possible to adopt that animal instead of having to return him. Fostering can allow the person to meet an animal, see how the pet fits into the home and then adopt if possible.
Con: Cohabitation with current pets
If you have additional pets in the home, whether they are permanent pets or other fosters, it can be a struggle to make sure they all can live together harmoniously. Some pets, especially those that are permanent, may not be very happy having a new furry creature in the house. It can be a struggle, but slight adjustments, such as giving equal attention to each animal and feeding them in separate areas, can help everyone to be in the same home without problems.
Many foster pet parents consider the process a very rewarding experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Some have given pets a forever home while others continue to open their homes to fosters that need the extra help. Before fostering, have a long conversation with the organization you will be working with to make sure you know exactly how the process works. If you have any questions, ask the organization before starting.