Fostering an animal means taking a homeless animal from a shelter or rescue and giving it a home with you until it gets adopted. It's such a needed, life-saving process that a lot of people have questions and misconceptions about. I'm here to address them… Doesn't it cost a lot of money to foster? Reality: Shelters/rescues offer to cover the medical (and sometimes even food) costs of caring for a foster animal, so you're not left with any financial risk by caring for it. What if I get paired with animals I won't be able to handle? Reality: Before pairing you with an animal, the shelter/rescue will go over your lifestyle, animal experience and preferences to make sure that fostering will be a good experience for both of you. If you have children, the shelter/rescue will be sure to only pair you with animals that have proven themselves to be good with kids. I think I work too much or am too busy to foster animals. Reality: If you work a lot, they might suggest fostering an animal that doesn't need a lot of your time — like small mammals, cats, birds, or a senior/very mellow dog that doesn't need the kind of stimulation and attention that a puppy or hyper breed does. It'd be too hard emotionally on me because I'll form bonds before giving them away Reality: If you (or your children) do fall in love with an animal you're fostering, your adoption application is likely to be approved. It's a good way to test out an animal and see if it would be a good fit for your home!
Otherwise, it can be hard to give an animal you've been fostering to its new home once it's been adopted, but know that the shelter/rescue screened the new home thoroughly and that the animal is going to have a great life with its perfect, forever home. Shift your focus to being happy for the animal, instead. Fostering is a beautiful, selfless thing and a great way to teach children about the responsibility of caring for animals and the importance of giving back to your community. Reasons to foster:
Foster homes save lives by opening up crucial space in shelters for more homeless animals
Get the full experience of owning an animal without the longterm commitment.
Shelters/rescues do everything they can to make sure the fostering experience is positive for both you and the animal. If, for whatever reason, the fostering situation doesn't work out for you, you can always give the animal back to the shelter.
Shelter environments are stressful for animals, and can bring out the worst in them, making it difficult for them to get adopted. Getting them into a home environment often helps calm them and gives them a sense of security so they can thrive!
If you want an animal, but feel that you travel too much to commit to one, fostering might be the perfect option for you! You can offer to foster animals between trips; any shelter would be so grateful for the help, and you get the experience of having an animal without the commitment.
You can feel good knowing that you made a huge impact on an animal's life. By fostering, you're helping animals during scary transitional periods in their lives and providing them with comfort and safety until they find their forever homes.