3 Tips for Successfully Fostering a Pet

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3 Tips for Successfully Fostering a Pet

Here are 3 signs you’re right for the job.

By Jennifer Martin, WeRescue


Pet foster parents are a special breed. They save thousands of animals from potentially being euthanized at overcrowded municipal shelters. Fostering is literally life-saving work.

But it can be a tough job. Do you have what it takes to foster a pet in your home? Here are some hints you might be ready:

1. Your own pets’ health is everything to you.

They’re your babies, your world, your life. If they so much as get the sniffles, you’re zooming to the vet ASAP. Why is this important?

Foster pets can be vulnerable. They might come from rough environments…hoarders, the streets, even dogfighting rings. They might seem healthy…then suddenly have coughs, sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea.

It doesn’t always happen. Most foster pets are healthy. But you have to be ready for a sudden vet run, even late nights and weekends, if they get sick.

If you’ll do that for your pets, that’s a great sign you’ll be a vigilant foster parent, too.

2. You have phenomenal perseverance for fostering a pet.

Being a pet foster parent can be rugged. You might be:

  • Bottle-feeding puppies round the clock
  • Chasing down a cat every few hours to medicate her
  • Taking dogs to a weekend adoption event when you’d rather relax
  • Doing extra laundry and housework…often

And more. Fostering a pet is demanding. But it’s also joyful. If you can persevere through the work, you’ll have the reward of watching a homeless pet blossom in your care. There’s no better feeling.

3. You are able to say goodbye to your foster pet.

The moment will arrive when the right family comes along to adopt your foster. Your instinct will be to hang on, which is natural: You feel a bond.

But that just means you’ve done your job right. A foster pet needs your genuine love to grow, heal, and thrive. So parting will be bittersweet.

But remember:

  • Adopting families will often keep in touch, if you ask.
  • Because of you, this pet is alive and able to trust and love a new family.
  • If you keep every pet you foster, you could wind up with too many.

If you can say goodbye with love, you’ve given your foster pet a gift. And you’ve also opened up a space in your home for another foster pet, if you’d like. It’s a win-win for everyone.

To find a rescue group in your area, open “Filters” on the WeRescue app. You can enter your ZIP code, then choose “Select Rescue Organizations” to see a list of rescue groups in your area. Rescue groups and shelters are also listed in the profiles of individual pets who are up for adoption.