Giving an abandoned animal a new home is such an incredible way of giving back, even if you can only do it temporarily. Many animal charities are crying out for those willing to foster dogs, cats, and everything in between, but is it right for you? If you want to help out animals in need, without it being something permanent, then fostering could be an excellent way to achieve this. However, there are some things you need to know first. This is our ultimate guide to fostering animals.
What you need
Firstly, most animal shelters will provide you with all of the basics you’ll need for fostering an animal, so don’t worry too much about that! However, you will need to ensure you have a pet-friendly home that has enough space to foster. Don’t be too worried if you feel as though your home isn’t big enough; after all, it’s likely to be bigger than a cage! The animal shelter will let you know if you have enough room and what kind of animals you’ll be able to foster with the space you have available. Everything else, including food and bedding, is likely to be covered by them too.
Fostering with other animals in the home
Most animal shelters will be happy for you to foster even if you have other pets in the home, but you will need to double check. As long as all of them are neutered and can be proven to get on well with others, then there shouldn’t be any problems. However, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to foster ‘problem animals’ that do not get on well with other pets. You don’t want to have to break up a dog fight in the middle of the night! The same rule applies with children, too. Most animal shelters are fine with this, as long as the pet that needs fostering has no problems with children.
How long it lasts
Generally, fostering is a very flexible option that can last anything from a day through to a few months. Really, it all just depends on how quickly the shelter can find a more permanent home for the animal. An average amount of time these animals will need fostering is around two weeks. What is important to note is that you can fall in love with these animals pretty quickly and find yourself getting attached – only for them to be rehomed days later.
Can I adopt them?
So, what happens if you do fall in love and decide you want to adopt the animal instead of just fostering? Well, according to some animal shelters, it actually happens more than you’d think. Many foster carers get attached to the pets they’re looking after and end up going down the adoption route. You’ll still have to follow the same procedure as anyone else who wants to adopt and it might be that someone has already got their application in before you. If theirs is accepted, then you will have to give the animal back.
Fostering an animal can be such a rewarding thing, but it can also be heartbreaking if you find yourself getting attached. Consider if it’s right for you before taking the plunge.