Fostering a cat or dog helps prepare them for their forever home (Photo by Alla Shcherbak/Shutterstock)

For those who love animals but cannot commit long term to an animal that needs a forever home, fostering is a mutually beneficial alternative.  

Homeless animals are sometimes sick, injured, or have been abandoned at a very young age when they arrive at shelters and rescue organizations. These animals require special care such as bottle feeding, veterinary care, and often times just a quiet place to lay their heads so that they can heal, grow, get stronger and socialize. Fostering provides animals with the care that gives them a great chance of being permanently placed in a home of their own.  

“Our foster care program increases our ability to save as many lives as possible,” says David Ceely, executive director of Little Shelter in Huntington. “We simply wouldn’t be able to help as many as animals as we do if it wasn’t for our wonderful foster homes.”

Shelters are often at maximum capacity, so fostering frees up valuable space. Often times, cats and dogs become stressed in shelter environments, which can affect their eating habits, overall health, and adoptability. Fostering allows an animal to feel safe and secure, away from a hectic shelter environment.

In most cases, families and individuals agreeing to foster are provided with training, medications, bottles, veterinary care bedding, toys, and anything else that an animal may need while being fostered. All a foster parent needs to provide is love, care, fun, and interaction, to prepare the animals for loving homes. Fosters may often help bring animals to checkups as well as to events and/or to meet potential adopters.

Many fosters describe the experience as beyond rewarding. Giving an animal a fighting chance towards finding a forever home is a truly wonderful experience for everyone involved.

“It’s understandable that a foster family might fall in love with the dog or cat and be reluctant to let them go, but when you see how happy the animal is in their new home and you know you played such a critical role in that story, the reward far outweighs the sacrifice,” Ceely says.

It’s easy to get started. Simply contact a local rescue or shelter for more information.

 

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