According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 5 to 7 million pets are taken into animal shelters in the U.S. every year. Being a foster parent can help reduce this number.
VCA veterinarian Dr. Donna Spector offers these tips for fostering pets:
- Time and resources – A person or family must have the time, room and resources to dedicate to a dog for it to be a positive experience for all parties involved.
- Ability to say goodbye – It takes a special person to foster a dog. You must remember that fostering is a temporary situation until the dog finds a forever home or is returned to his owner.
- Patience – Dogs in shelters or who have been moved from home to home are often under tremendous stress. They may not be accustomed to cages or other animals. It is important that you are gentle and patient with your foster dog and give him extra attention.
- Slow welcome to the family – If you have other pets or children, make the introductions to the foster dog gradually and only with supervision.
- Vet visits – Some dogs may have had very poor nutrition or medical conditions that have not been properly addressed, depending on the circumstances from where they came. Although the medical care is usually paid for, there will be a time commitment if you need to make several trips to veterinarian.
Serving as a foster parent to a disadvantaged or needy dog is a wonderful service and very gratifying. If you love dogs but are unable to adopt one, consider the option of becoming a foster parent.
There are many different types of foster programs. VCA Animal Hospitals runs several Shelter Partnership Programs with animal shelters and humane societies across the U.S.
PHOTO: David Mertl