Fostering Pets Helps Shelters and Rescues Manage Their Populations

When it comes to caring for animals, shelters have a wide variety of options. One of those options is fostering, where a person will take an animal into their home for a short period of time.

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While this is sometimes done to alleviate shelter populations, this is usually done when an animal requires some sort of specific care, such as an infant animal that requires constant attention or an adult animal with a broken limb. It can also help animals that have lived in harder feral circumstances become socialized to being around people to prepare them for life after adoption. 

You need to keep in mind that all of this is to allow an animal to get the help that they need. The animal needs to be the focus of your efforts; keep that in mind and your time fostering will go quickly and without incident.

Which Pets Can Be Fostered

There are no real limits on which animals can be fostered. Dogs and cats are the usual recipients of fostering, but some organizations have been set up to help out birds, rabbits, and even farm animals. This is especially useful for birds given how hard life is without flight and the amount of room some farm animals require. In general, any animal needing special help can find it, regardless of the animal; it just requires an animal that requires help and someone who has a way of helping that animal.

However, your living conditions may limit which animals you can foster; a farm animal is probably not in the cards if you are renting an apartment. Check with your shelter to determine specific limitations.

What Are You Responsible For?

As a foster parent, a person is required to do more than just keep an eye on the animals. Each animal has its special needs and the foster parent needs to allow for those needs. At the very least, you need to make sure that the environment is safe for the animal. You should also make sure that anyone else in the house is ready for the fostered animal. Anything that you can do to make the environment safe and comfortable for the animal is good.

For example, a person caring for an injured bird needs to make sure that their food is cut into small enough chunks for the bird to eat while making sure that the bird does not bump its wing. Farm animals require constant checking in, as well as ensuring that specific diets and medicine regimens are followed. Infant animals need to be kept warm and well cared for. In short, each animal requires different types of care and the foster parent must be ready to give that specific care.

What Happens If You Don't Want to Give Up the Foster?

As noted, fostering an animal is a temporary situation at best; it should not last more than a couple of months, with most fostering situations lasting just a few days. While the exact process varies by shelter, in general the animals are taken back by the fostering shelter once the fostering is over. The former foster parent may receive updates on the animal, but generally the animal must return to the shelter. However, some shelters allow foster parents to adopt the animals that they foster, so that is an option to explore. This can be surprisingly common as it is sometimes hard to give up an animal who has found a way to truly sneak into a person’s heart. 

Fostering an animal can be a great experience. It is great for those with the time to take care of animals and is even better for the animal as it receives more specialized care than it would if it had remained in the shelter. For those that love animals and do not mind spending the extra time on a particular animal, this can be a great situation for both the potential foster animal and the animal.

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