7 Great Reasons You Should Foster A Shelter Pet

10:23 AM

Since I follow a lot of animal rescue groups on social media, I see many pleas come across my newsfeed every day of shelter pets needing a foster home.  Sometimes it's because the shelter just has no more room to take in any more animals in need, and sometimes its because the animal has special needs and would benefit from living in a home while they recover from medical issues or a traumatic event.  It's hard for me to not foster them all!

Two weeks ago my family and I fostered an incredibly cute puppy, and as usual it got a lot of people ooohing and aaahing over the puppy cuteness, and asking how we could NOT keep her.  But it also inspired at least one friend to sign up and become a foster herself.  And you know what, that made me incredibly happy!  

Have you been how you could make the a difference in the life of a shelter pet?  Here are 7 reasons why you should consider fostering a shelter pet in your home today!

 1. You Are Saving A Life

I am going to tell it like it is.  Every year an estimated 7 million dogs and cats find themselves in a shelter, and unfortunately nearly 3 million of them are euthanized in part due to overcrowded shelters.  There just isn't enough room in many shelters for all the companion animals that are surrendered every day.  This means that many perfectly adoptable animals are euthanized before they have an opportunity to get adopted.  

By fostering dogs on death row, like our Birdie above, you are giving an animal a second chance while waiting for their perfect forever home.

2. You Are Showing An Unloved Animal Love

Many animals who find themselves in shelters have been victims of abuse and neglect, have medical issues and need time to heal, or were found as strays, and it is only in a foster home where they feel love and kindness for the first time.  It is very rewarding to take a dog like our foster Rosie and see their transformation from being scared to learning how to trust people and enjoy a good snuggle on the couch, or to help a shelter pet heal from an illness or surgery.

3. You Get To Play With Puppies

More often than not, a pregnant dog or cat will end up in a shelter, which is pretty much the worst place for a litter to be born, so shelters and rescues rely on foster homes to care for the puppies until they are old enough to be adopted.  So this means you get to play with an endless supply of puppies and get an endless supply of puppy kisses if you choose to foster a puppy.

4. It's Good And Fun for Your Other Pets, Too

Not only do we foster dogs because we love doing it, but we have noticed that the more dogs we foster, the better our dogs get at socializing, especially our little Doxie cross, Peanut.  They also enjoy playing with the foster dogs we bring into the home.  This is especially true if you have just one dog or cat who would benefit from the company of an occasional house guest.

5. It Increases A Shelter Pets Chances at Adoption 

Fosters not only give a shelter a pet a safe place to live while waiting for their forever home, they also give a shelter pet a better chance of adoption because they are learning how to live in a home while waiting to be adopted.  In our case, we learn about each foster dogs personality, likes and dislikes, and any quirks they may have so that they can be matched with the perfect family.  We also work on house training and taking them out in public to increase their socialization skills.  

6. It's Good For Your Children, Too

For us, fostering is an activity the whole family enjoys.  We all take part in everything...from cleaning up puppy poo to feeding a foster small amounts of food at a time because they were from a hoarding case and needed to learn how to eat food slowly.  The dogs not only learn how to live behave around children, but our daughter has gained an incredible amount of compassion and empathy for animals.  Those are skills every child needs to learn, and the lessons learned will help her in her adult life, too.

7. You Are Making Another Person Or Family Complete

I think one of our greatest foster stories is that of Zeus...a German Shepherd puppy we fostered earlier this year that is now on his way to becoming an incredible service dog for an amputee.  When his adopter came out to meet him it was love at first sight.  Zeus instinctively knew that his adopter needed him, and Zeus' calm and easy-going personality made him the perfect candidate for service dog training.  Every time I think of them, my heart smiles.  Even though it is hard to say goodbye to each of the dogs we have fostered, the feeling of making someone else happy makes it all worthwhile.

 So what does it take to foster a shelter animal?  Mostly your time and your love.  For the cost of a bag of food or two, treats, and maybe a few toys, you will be making an enormous difference in the life of a shelter pet, and your own.  If you are interested in fostering a shelter pet, contact a few local animal shelters in your area and see how you can help today!

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