What is Fostering?
What is a Foster Parent?
A foster parent provides a temporary home for kittens, puppies, dogs, cats, or other animals in need. The length of fostering can vary from a few days to a few weks depending on the amount of care or behavioral modification that is needed. The devotion and care given during this time allows the animal a second chance to be adopted by a loving home. The rewards of being a foster parent are many. They include offering an animal a second chance and the added benefit of receiving the love and attention right back from the animal you nurture.
Why are Foster Parents Needed?
Temporary foster families are needed for a variety of reasons. The three most common reasons are:
Limited shelter space –
The number of animals received at a shelter is sometimes overwhelming and adequate housing is not available. Foster homes provide shelters with an additional option until a space becomes available.
Treatment and care after an illness or injury –
Foster parents provide sick and injured animals with the additional time, medication, and space they need to recover. This may include time to recover from emotional, fear, or stress based situations that the animal may have encountered in the past.
Extremely young animals –
Young animals, such as kittens and puppies, which are not yet weaned, require special attention. Unweaned orphans require a serious commitment since they have special needs such as diet and frequent feeding schedules. One of the greatest rewards of nurturing these young animals is knowing that you are giving them a great start in life.
Without the additional time and care provided by temporary foster families, many of the animals that fall into the above three categories would be euthanized.
How do you prepare for a foster animal?
Contact the Friends of the Mobile Animal Shelter to find out about the fostering process and volunteer requirements. The following are some very basic fostering tips to help you prepare:
Family Preparation –
Younger children should be introduced slowly to determine the compatibility with the new foster animal. It is recommended that an adult supervise all interactions between foster animals and young children. An important thing to prepare your family for is that fostering is temporary. Unless a foster family is fostering to see how a new pet will fit into their family, the foster animal will be leaving. Carefully preparing the areas that the foster animal will have access to can help reduce the potential for damage or destruction to your home.
Time and Space –
If you have a family pet, it is recommended that you separate the living quarters of your pet and your new foster animal. This separation allows you time to observe your foster animal for any possible health or behavior issues. Additionally, it allows your new foster time to adjust to you and your family before meeting your pet. Time should be set aside to socialize and care for your new foster animal.
Initial supplies should include the appropriate type of food, toys, housing space, newspapers, litter box and litter (if needed), and food and water bowls. Please make sure to find out from your organization if there are any special supply needs or instructions that your foster animal needs.
Emergency Contacts –
Make sure that you have the organization’s telephone number and an emergency veterinarian telephone number handy at all times.
Fostering is a challenging but very rewarding experience. Foster homes provide shelters with the valuable option of temporary homes to care for their animals. They bridge the gap and offer the crucial extra time and space needed to be able to prepare a shelter animal to be adopted into a forever home. FOSTERING saves lives!!
If you are interested in fostering for us please CLICK HERE for an application