Story by Rebecca West Photos by Candice Eaton
Have you considered animal fostering but you’re not quite sure if it’s suitable for your particular circumstances? There are a lot of inaccuracies and misconceptions when it comes to the subject, so we’ve put together a quick quiz to help you sort through the truths and falsehoods behind it. You might be surprised at the results, and hopefully, it leads to your ability to open your humble abode to a deserving animal that desperately needs your help until a forever home comes along.
- Animal fostering isn’t suited for everyone.
The answer is True. You have to be an animal lover for it to work for both you and the pet.
- Fostering pets is difficult and time-consuming.
The answer to the first part is False, it’s really not hard at all. Your biggest output in time and energy is love, and as a pet lover, you’ll likely enjoy it. As to the second part, it’s only time-consuming if you decide to make it complex, or you choose a special needs pet that frequently requires scheduled medications or complicated feedings. If you’re retired or work from home, it shouldn’t be an obstacle. If your time is limited, you can still foster an animal without health or behavioral issues.
- Fostering is expensive and I wouldn’t be able to afford it.
False, unless you want to go overboard on fancy toys, bedding, treats, etc. That’s up to you, but in general, the basic supplies you’ll need to properly care for the animal are provided by many rescue groups, but not all. If finances are a concern, it’s vital that you inquire with the group you’re debating fostering through. With PACC, for instance, you are responsible for providing food, toys, and a safe environment.
- You’ll be paired with whichever animal needs fostering.
False. If puppies or kittens careening around with mom is out of the question, that’s not a problem. When you apply to foster you will be asked what your situation is and you can opt to care for an adult animal, or even a senior if you prefer to house a less active pet.
- A lot of room is required for fostering pets.
Nope, that’s False, too. Sure, if you want to take on a Great Dane or an English sheepdog, you’ll need a yard to play in and the time to walk the animal. But very often rescue groups need help with smaller pets, those that require a quiet safe space, or senior pets that just want a comfy pillow tucked in a corner to curl up and nap on. Additionally, cats aren’t fostered or adopted at near the rate canines are, and they don’t require hardly any room at all.
- Home inspections are rigid and many people don’t pass/qualify.
That is predominantly False. While home inspections for fostering and adoptions are thorough, the purpose is to make sure everything you’ve represented to them in the application is accurate for the sake of the animal and a successful fostering experience. They’re not coming out to check your bathrooms or kitchen for cleanliness. They just want to get a feel for you and the atmosphere the pet will be cared for in.
- Homes with young children are ideal for younger pets.
That is actually False more often than not, but it largely depends on just how young your kids are and their maturity levels. Very small children should not be left alone with pets who are juveniles themselves, for they may inadvertently harm them without intending to. Oftentimes older pets are much more suited to kids for the fact that they’re usually more patient and gentler with children, but even they shouldn’t be left alone with tots. The rescue you’re working with will advise you if your particular situation is a good fit or not.
- Fostering pets requiring medical attention is on your dime.
Again, that is False. If you’re willing to be a caregiver to an animal who is recuperating from an illness or injury and in need of treatment or medications the foster group should be providing that at no charge to you.
- Foster parents are responsible for finding adoptive parents.
False. While the facility you’re working with will regularly search for ideal candidates, they will also intermittently hold adoption events, where the animals have the best chance of being placed in forever homes. In most cases, you are responsible for transporting them to and from such events, but you’re not obligated to attend. Bear in mind that it could take a lot longer to permanently home the animal if you don’t.
- Current household pets must be up to date on vaccines and spayed/neutered.
That’s absolutely True. If you have pets and are considering fostering, your household pets must be current on their vaccinations and fixed before you’re able to bring a foster animal into the home. This is for everyone’s safety.
Be sure to get all of the facts from the groups you’re contemplating working with, as guidelines can vary.