The many reasons to foster animals make it an incredibly rewarding experience. I've fostered cats and kittens, and although it's hard to see them go, it's also really gratifying to know that they've found a permanent home. Animals may be fostered because they need medical care that a shelter can't provide, or to get them out of a kill shelter. If you've never considered it, here are some rewarding reasons to foster animals …
1. Saves Lives
One of the best reasons to foster animals is that it saves lives. Animals will only be saved from kill shelters if they find a foster carer or a family to adopt them. Foster homes allow rescues to save an animal from the threat of euthanasia, and gives them time to find a permanent home. They are a vital part of saving animals' lives.
2. Improving Health
Foster homes are often needed because an animal requires regular medication for a time. I fostered one kitten with an eye problem who needed drops three times a day. This would be impossible in many rescues as they don't have enough volunteers to attend that often. So foster carers step in to give the animal the treatment it needs.
Being a foster carer is a lovely way of caring for animals. It's an absolutely essential step in the process of animal rescue; without foster homes, rescues would not be able to save as many animals. Many rescues are small and run by a few dedicated people who can't afford to set up an animal shelter. So they need fosterers to take the animals in until adoptions are found.
4. Temporary Commitment
Perhaps you would love a cat or dog, but for some reason it's not possible for you to adopt right now. This is where fostering comes in. You can have an animal in your home without making a long-term commitment (which adopting a pet should always be). It is also an opportunity to 'try out' having a pet in case you are not yet certain if it's right for you.
5. Allows More Adoptions
Fostering an animal makes it possible for more adoptions to take place. Thousands of animals die in every kill shelter because they haven't been given time to find a home. Rescues do their best to save as many as possible, but they can't do this without foster homes and adoptions. Open up your home as a foster, and you will enable this wonderful work to continue.
6. Makes a Difference
It's also immensely rewarding knowing that you are making a difference, and it can make a difference to you personally. Most experienced fosterers have at least one 'foster failure,' where they adopt one of their foster charges because they couldn't bear to let it go. I had five happy years with one of my cats because I fostered her and fell in love with her.
7. Helps Rescues
Finally, rescues need you to come forward as a foster home. Any rescue will be desperate for foster carers - there are never enough to meet the demand. Every cat or dog that goes to a foster home eases the pressure on the rescues. And when they move on to an adoptive family, you can then take in another foster charge.
So do think about opening up your home and heart to a foster animal. It's a fantastic way to offer practical help and make a real difference to animal welfare. You don't necessarily need a lot of space; a small room may be enough for an animal that needs isolation. What do you do to support animal welfare?