Being a pet sitter has mostly highs in terms of rewards. Yet there are times that are challenging. I had a recent conversation with a fellow owner of a petsitting business. One of her employees was petsitting for a client who has a 13 year old cat and fostering 3 dogs . The dogs had been with this owner for two days. while petsitting, the three dogs attacked the owner’s 13-year-old cat. The pet sitter struggled to get the dogs off the cat. She got the dogs separated from the cat but unfortunately it was too late. They killed the cat. The petsitter, the owner of the cat and the owner of the business were all left devastated and broken. My heart is breaking for the owner and pet sitter who had gone through this devastating event. I don’t even know what to say to them.
After I calmed down, I contemplated about how we , as owners, should prepare ourselves when fostering other animals. Next to owning a dog or cat, there is nothing more enjoyable or rewarding than fostering an animal from your local shelter or rescue group. Even if you have a pet at home, you might be able to fit in a temporary tenant–a dog or cat making the transition from shelter to a new adoptive family.
It can be and is a tremendously fulfilling position to be in, knowing that you’ve helped an animal through a difficult period in their lives. It also feels good that your contribution subsequently helped the dog get adopted to a forever home.
There is no perfect profile of a foster family, but before volunteering to foster. There are issues to consider before making that commitment .
Commitment requires time. You may be asked to foster a dog or cat anywhere from two weeks to two months, depending on circumstances. You don’t need to be home 24 hours a day, as a Foster Pet Parent but you might have to postpone that weekend getaway or family vacation if you’re asked to take care of an animal for a while.
There are different types of fostering. Shelters need foster parents for puppies or young dogs, for kittens, for animals needing medical care, or for dogs with behavioral issues. It doesn’t mean you have to be able to foster all of those types; you might just want to foster kittens or pups. But foster parents are needed in all of those categories, and shelters typically offer orientation or instruction to help you deal with each type.
Responsibilities of Fostering
You may be asked to work with a dog on some basic training and temperament issues. There’s more than just feeding, exercise, and grooming involved with a foster dog. Some might need to be house-trained. Others may have problems with chewing, or jumping on strangers. Foster parents may need to devote time to breaking bad habits so a dog can be socialized. If a dog has a chewing problem, make preparations in advance–don’t leave shoes, clothes, or other important items around.
You might be asked to nurse a dog or cat back to health. It could require giving them medication at certain times of the day or perhaps bathing them periodically. If you have pets at home, you may have to keep them separated if the foster dog or cat is contagious. Before taking in an animal that’s recovering from an illness or disease, check with your vet if you have concerns about your own pets.
Be Careful Of…..
Falling in love. It’s the biggest concern of Foster Pet Parents especially if you already have pets at home. After all, what’s another dog or cat in the household?
It’s admirable, but as experts point out, it’s not always the best thing. 1) If you adopt a pet that you’re fostering, you might have reached your limit of household pets and not be able to accept any others. 2) That’s one less foster home for the shelter to rely on. Then you need to re-evaluate your purpose for fostering.
Keep in mind how many dogs you can provide for on a daily basis. More than one dog is too many for some people. You have to keep in mind, if I adopt this dog, can I keep on fostering?”
There’s no question that foster programs are important to the success of shelters and rescue groups. Those reasons include overcrowding issues. Many shelters are continually in need of room for incoming animals. Without foster programs, some dogs and cats might have to be euthanized.
Fostering programs, when ran correctly ,can be incredibly important and useful to the work the animal shelter does.
Foster programs are there to help animals who are probably at risk at the shelter because they’re sick, old, or have other issues that make them difficult for the staff to care for. At foster homes, they get out of the shelter environment and have a chance to be treated, rehabbed, and later adopted.
Even a little time with a family, away from the confined space of a kennel and the continual barking, can improve an animal’s disposition. A shelter environment is stressful.
These animals are at their most fragile. Just for their health, it’s better for them to be raised in foster homes.
What’s The Financial Commitment ?
In most cases, shelters will pay for vet visits and medications and can provide for other necessities if requested–dog dishes, bedding, collars, ID tags, and crates. Before becoming a foster parent, ask what your financial responsibilities will be.
I’m wondering has anyone reading this ever fostered pets? What has been your experience?
- What You Should Know About Being a Feline Foster Parent (catster.com)
- 6 Tips for Picking the Perfect Shelter Dog (dogster.com)
- Save Elderly Dogs in California from Being Destroyed (forcechange.com)
- Foster Parent Shortage in West Virginia (wsaz.com)