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Becoming a Parent for Foster Pets

March 2014 Pet of The MonthYou might already have one, two, or even a full family of pets, or maybe you’re a pet lover who is thinking about getting a pet. Whatever your circumstances, you can always consider becoming a foster parent for pets. While this arrangement isn’t for everyone, you may surprise yourself and discover that it’s just what you need. You can be certain that, for some displaced and homeless pets, your foster home is exactly the safe haven they need.

What is pet foster care? Well, there are many cases where a pet shelter or pet welfare organization needs the extra help of kind community members who are willing to open up their homes. Sometimes the biggest issue is simply space. Some organizations just don’t have the room to comfortably or safely house so many animals in one place. That’s where foster homes come in. A pet can be sent to live with a family until more room opens up.

Another reason why foster care is important is that the staff members in shelters need an extra hand in giving loving care to their tenants. Additionally, a foster parent can help the staff learn a pet’s personality, behavior, and other quirks. Knowing these traits about a pet will help the shelter to match each pet up with good owners who are a good fit for personality and lifestyle.

Shelters may also send pets to live with foster families in order to socialize them and help them become comfortable with human interaction. Developing these qualities will help the pet in the future to assimilate happily into a new home. For pets with a past of abuse and mistreatment, this time in a good, loving atmosphere will help them to overcome timidity and fear in the presence of humans and other animals.

Some shelters and organizations provide medical help to pets. In a case where a pet has undergone an operation and needs to recuperate, a foster home is the perfect, quiet, and peaceful place for a full recovery. The atmosphere of a very full shelter is sometimes very strenuous to animals, recovering or otherwise. Foster care provides an option for pets that flourish in quieter, one-on-one settings.

Age is another reason for why foster care is needed to support sheltering organizations. Some pets are either too young or too elderly to be housed in a shelter. For example, a puppy needs a lot of one-on-one attention in order to develop socially and form good habits from the start. On the other hand, an elderly dog may need the peace and quiet of a home in addition to extra care for possible medical conditions.

Its also possible that a pet owner will work with an organization in order to provide care for their pets while they need to be away long term, such as for military service, prolonged travel or temporary residence in another country, and other situations in which the pet cannot come but the owner does not wish to give up ownership. A pet foster can provide a safe home for these pets while their owners are away.

So now that we’ve talked about some of the reasons why foster care is great for the pets and the shelters, let’s talk about how being a pet foster parent can be great for you.

As always, when you’re helping a fellow creature, especially the ones who will love you back unconditionally, you will find great satisfaction and contentment in lending a hand and a home.

Foster care for pets is also a wonderful way for you to experience life with a variety of dogs, cats, or other animals. For example, if you are thinking about getting a dog, either to be a solo pet or part of a doggy family, it’s great to get an idea about what dog types and personalities fit best into your family. If you haven’t had a pet for a while and are wondering if it’s a good idea to get a pet again, this is a good way to check the transition back into being a pet owner.

If you’re not currently looking for a pet but you still want and enjoy the companionship of an animal, fostering can help to fill that need without needing to make a long-term commitment. This may work very well for someone who cannot stay in an area long term but finds him- or herself in a situation where pet fostering is possible.

If you think that pet fostering might be right for you, give it a try! Contact local shelters in your area and ask about pet fostering programs. You can also check online to find out if there are pet shelter organizations in your area, such as those supporting the pets of deployed members of the military. Find out if it’s right for you!

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