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Thinking about Being a Pet Foster Parent?

The stigma that rescue animals are “damaged goods” or “bad pets” is a stereotype that is unfortunate and untrue. For many rescue pets, what people consider as “bad behavior” is often learned through living in abusive home conditions or in a highly stressful rescue facility. Unfortunately, most of these animals are abused, neglected, and poorly trained. As a result, they’re often seen as having less desirable traits even before entering the rescue facility.

Few of these pets are a lost cause, though. In fact,

foster pets can learn to trust and love humans despite experiencing abuse at their hands. And, once these animals have the opportunity to live in a less stressful environment and learn how to behave in a home, they can become integral members of the family.

Thousands of homeless, abandoned, and abused animals enter facilities each year, and many are not quite ready for adoption—they require the love and care of a foster family to prepare them for their forever home.

What Does It Mean to Foster A Rescue Pet?

Animal foster parents temporarily provide care for animals in their own homes.

Some animals need as little as two weeks of care while others may need a few months. When you foster a rescue pet, you agree to take in an animal and care for him or her for a predetermined amount of time, or until the pet is adopted. Pet fostering is extremely rewarding because you can help an animal in need without the lifetime commitment of adopting it. It is only a temporary commitment, and it gives you the opportunity of experiencing what it’s like to have a pet in your home on a trial basis. Fostering also frees up space in local rescue facilities, so that we can help other animals in need.

If you’re interested in helping local animals in need, fostering can be a flexible, fun, and rewarding volunteer opportunity, because it’s more flexible than most volunteer positions that require you to show up at a specific time for a certain number of hours. It’s also a great way to enjoy a pet if you are not in a position to make that lifetime commitment.

The most common reasons foster homes are needed:

  • Overcrowding.

  • An animal is very young (puppies, kittens, etc.) and is not ready to be adopted.

  • An animal is recovering from illness or injury and needs medical attention.

  • An animal is in need of socialization and training in a home or family environment.

  • An animal was previously abused, neglected, or abandoned and needs to form a healthy bond with humans.

Before You Foster

Before you decide to plunge into the world of animal fostering, it’s important to be realistic about your commitment, abilities, and desire to foster. Here are some important things to consider.

Consider Your Own Pets

You may think your family pet loves other animals and will welcome a new pet, but it’s important for both animals to first confirm this. Introducing a new animal or species can be confusing or spark a territory war between pets. We often recommend keeping a separate area for your foster pet, especially in the beginning, so that everyone has ample time to adjust.

Pet-proof Your Home

Preparing your home and the area the animal will stay in can prevent most accidents, help keep your pet safe, and help set you both up for fostering success. Check out Petfinder’s guide to preparing for a foster pet for more help regarding this matter.

Medical Concerns

Many foster pets have medical concerns that need taken into consideration. The rescue facility will alert you to this beforehand, but you need to be prepared to provide daily medications, etc. as necessary.

Know Your Limits

Does your homeowner’s insurance have any breed restrictions? Do you live in an apartment with pet rules in place? Do you have time to devote to a foster pet? What kind of behavior problems are you comfortable dealing with? These are important questions to ask yourself BEFORE you enter into a foster relationship with a rescue facility so that you do not bite off more than you can chew!

What kind of health considerations might you be willing to accommodate? Do you require a foster pet who is comfortable around small children or other animals?

It’s important to know your limits so that you don’t accept a foster who may need help beyond your experience and knowledge.

The End of the Road

Sometimes it can be difficult to let go once you have become emotionally attached to an animal! Be prepared to shed a few tears when the day comes that you must return your foster pet back to the rescue facility.

But remember, he or she is now much more likely to find a loving, permanent home because of YOUR care!

How Can I Become a Foster Provider?

Are you still thinking about being a foster parent? ​Check out our foster information (and fill out our form) on our website.

Belmont County Animal Rescue League Provides:

All necessary medication

Veterinary care

Food and litter

Education on how to care for your foster animal

You Provide:

A safe and nurturing environment for your foster animal

Socialization for shy animals

A chance for sick animals to recover

Once your application has been accepted, you will meet with the staff. You will then be added to our foster email group to receive notifications for when foster homes are needed. Once you’re a registered BCARL foster parent, if you believe that your home is a good match for newly added foster animals, you may then contact BCARL regarding specific animals.

Providing foster care for pets in need is a rewarding experience.

And yet, we know that sending a successful foster to his forever home is often bittersweet—you are saying goodbye to an animal in which you invested a lot of time, love, and devotion. But it’s important to remember that you’re sending him or her on to the greatest adventure of their life—their forever home!

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