I'm Not Sure About Fostering

I'm Not Sure About Fostering
If you’re on the fence about fostering an animal or playing with the idea in your head, read on. A love of animals and compassion for those in need of help are basic requirements for fostering.  Lots of laughter, love, tears and learning are par for the course
. You can foster for your local animal shelter, humane society or find private rescues as well. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of animals in need. One word of warning, make sure you do some research if deciding to foster for a private group to make sure they are legitimate. Now let’s take a quick look at the kinds of animals who need a foster.

Bottle feeders and age

Sometimes shelters get the tiny babies who for whatever reason don’t have a mother to nurse from. This is when bottle feeding and basically being a mother to the little ones until they are weaned comes into play.

Kittens or puppies who are too young to be neutered or spayed but able to eat on their own are another option. It has been shown that these babies have much better outcomes when they are in loving homes until they are old enough for surgery and then go up for adoption.

I’m not going to lie. These fosters can be a lot of work, but the rewards are huge. I for one think they are the easiest to give back just because it’s a pretty sure thing they will be adopted.


When a shelter gets a pregnant animal or one with babies that are still nursing, they don’t want to separate mom and babies until they have been weaned. The benefits of nursing from the mother are many and being taken away too soon can have negative consequences on the babies and on the mother.  Many people are willing to take mom and babies to foster until they are old enough to be weaned and have surgery.


Often some of the animals need a home environment in which they can recover with less stress from an illness or surgery. Sometimes they need to be in a home with no other animals, so they don’t get overexcited.  Recovery outcomes are much more positive and faster for the dogs or cats who can do so in a calmer and more comfortable environment.   

Special cases

Too many times shelters need fosters for the extra shy and abused animals. These are usually a longer time commitment and honestly are very hard to give back for adoption. The best situation I’ve run across when doing this is when the shelter lets the animal stay with you until it is adopted. You meet prospective adopters at a park, etc or bring the animal to adoption events.  


Sometimes a long term resident dog or cat just needs a break from the shelter. The environment at shelters can be very overwhelming for some dogs and cats. Those who are interested in fostering who can’t commit to full time are able to take an animal for the weekend and make some wonderful doggy memories.  This gives the animal an opportunity to have some fun and relax in a home. It’s also a great way to try out fostering.


Many shelters have people who foster animals who are near to end of life due to medical conditions or just old age. This gives that animal a chance to have some home life, love and social connections as their last experiences before they pass. These are hard but so rewarding to know that you gave these animals loving memories before these passed on.

Special conditions

Shelters may call on their fosters due to severe weather, natural disasters and overcrowding conditions where they receive multiple animals due to various circumstances. They may need you to take an animal before a hurricane, 4th of July, etc so that they are able to be comforted and feel safe during severe weather.               

So that’s a peek at most of the different types of fostering. If you’re thinking about fostering but don’t know if you’ll have the time or be able to make the commitment your local shelter can work with you and discuss what fits you and your current lifestyle. There are many different kinds of animals that need fostering. Not just dogs and cats. There are birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, sometimes horses, donkeys etc depending on the shelter.

The shelter can match you up with a foster that meets your availability as well. There is a foster situation conducive to most homes. You will get training from the shelter before starting, most provide the food, toys, vet visits, etc. Whatever the animal needs.

 I would encourage you to try it out. If it doesn’t suit you, no harm no foul. There are also numerous benefits for you and the animal you foster.


  1. The reality is that animals are put down in shelters when they are overcrowded. You are literally helping to save two lives. The foster and the animal who now has that space at the shelter.
  2. Your home gives a foster a happy place to live and be trained in while they wait for their forever home. Shelters can be very traumatic for animals.
    The foster family learns all about the animal, it’s personality, it’s quirks. This helps perspective adoptees know if it would be a good fit for their home Many times an animal is returned because the adopter had expectations that weren’t met. Also, animals don’t always show their true personalities, good or bad, while in a shelter. In your home they are more apt to be their true selves.
  3. It gives a foster parent the fun and responsibility of having a pet without having to commit to one full time.
  4. It allows the foster parent to see what kind of applicants want the animal and if they are going to go to a good home.
  5.  Also if you yourself eventually want to adopt an animal in the future if gives you a great idea of what kind of animal and personality is right for you. It is highly advisable to work with a rescue group rather than rescuing a pet and finding a home for it on your own. Most shelters work with several rescue groups and help them identify and save animals that are most adoptable.

Keep in mind you will get attached to your foster and will be very sad when it’s time for him to go. The best way to combat this is to remember there is another foster that needs you just as much and that this foster has a forever family to go to. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that there are many good people out there. All you can do is hope and pray that your foster is going to meet one of them and get a great home. This allows you to move on to the next. There are so many animals in need, what choice do we have?

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Join our community on facebook