I am a huge advocate of fostering for several reasons:
- The obvious: You are actively and literally saving an animal’s life
- You can gain experience in lots of different training and behavior scenarios
- You’re giving back to the community and putting things in perspective
- If you’re looking for an animal to adopt, you can foster until you find the one that fits into your home perfectly
- It’s rewarding and fulfilling on it’s own and it can make you feel good about yourself
- You meet and make friendships with other local animal lovers.
- You get to meet a lot of different animals that are complete sweethearts.
The list goes on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
People frequently say that they could never foster–honestly, fostering is a personal choice and it’s not always easy. But most of the time it’s not that they can’t, it’s that they won’t–or they don’t know how it would work into their life.
With a little effort, you can locate a reputable local rescue and start fostering–even if you have a dog that is reactive, or a cat that is scared of large dogs. Just make sure to be upfront and honest with your rescue–even if it seems like a tall order they can find a dog that needs help that fits your description.
If you need a small breed, hypoallergenic dog but are cool with house-training, say so.
Let them know what animal behaviors you really can’t deal with. For example, my partner and I can deal with a lot of different types of behavior (reactivity, aggression, general manners, separation anxiety), but there is nothing that gets under my skin as much as a constantly barking dog. Could I potentially foster one? Yes. Will I? Not if I can help it. Excessive barking can put me on edge to the point where I have to actively monitor my tone-of-voice with a dog and training doesn’t happen easily because I get frustrated. Couple my own shortcomings with the fact that barking stresses the hell out of Burma (to the point she will start self-mutilating) and our neighbor is very intolerant of animal noise and BAM–that’s the perfect storm and one of the characteristics that we steer clear of in a foster.
No matter what you are able to deal with and what your Achilles’s heel is, chances are that a local rescue can find a homeless animal that fits the bill and will be a happy house-guest.
Pet Haven’s graphic says it best:
Is fostering inconvenient at times? Yes. Is it hard to give them up? Yes. But it’s not harder than the alternative.