Nearly 90 million dogs and about 94 million cats are living happily as someone’s pet in the United States. Sadly, there are more than 3 million of each entering shelters each year. The lucky ones find a new home; some are put down. Shelters are always looking for folks to foster these animals. It saves the pets, and it brings joy into your life.
You’ll Save Lives
Bringing a rescue or shelter animal into your home gives them and you a new lease on life. An estimated 1.5 million animals are euthanized each year, a number that fortunately is on the decline as more pets are returned to their owners, and more people step up and adopt and foster pets. You can become one of these lifesavers by fostering dogs and cats — even pigs! Most rescue groups don’t have an actual “office” and rely on foster families to house the animals. Giving them a comfortable place to sleep until they find their forever place gives them a safe, stable life.
Find Out If You’re Ready for Your Own Pets
If you’ve been thinking of getting a pet, fostering is the best way to find out if you and your family are ready for the responsibility. Bring home a cat or dog to see which one fits your lifestyle. Make sure your yard is pet-friendly. Some plants can be poisonous to both cats and dogs! Assign your kids jobs to do with the pets. Learn how much actual time you'll need to spend taking care of them. Determine if anyone in your home is allergic. Fostering helps you discover if having a forever pet will disrupt your life or enhance it.
Expand Your Circle of Friends
You meet a whole new group of people when you start fostering. Plenty of experienced fosters are around to give you advice, answer questions, and even form friendships! You share a love of animals and the desire to help them. The Houston area already lands high on “quality of life” surveys and studies. Opening your home to an animal in need further increases this premium lifestyle, and you may even end up being friends with the person who adopts the pet you foster!
Teach Your Children to Help Others
It’s sometimes hard to find the right life lessons for our kids, but fostering is one way to teach them. Children will learn some harsh realities about the way some people treat animals. But they also learn how to turn a pet’s life around with kindness and empathy. Be sure your children understand that the dog or cat won’t be staying forever. While you may worry they may be sad when the animal leaves, many experts believe the rewards of fostering outweigh the temporary grief children may feel when the pet leaves for its forever home.
Get a Pet Ready for Its Forever Home
Animals that have been mistreated or ignored, those with medical needs, feral cats, and very young puppies or kittens come to a shelter or rescue group in need of help or socialization. That’s where fostering plays a huge role. Those that are small or needing treatments can stay in the comfort and quiet of your home until they’re ready to find a permanent home. Animals that fear humans and other animals are recipients of your love and learn how to interact with healthy, normal pets.
If you’re looking to become more involved in the community or a way to give back, consider fostering. What better way to feel like you’re contributing while, at the same time, saving lives.