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Foster Caring
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Become a fosterer and help lighten the burden of animal shelters and rescue groups. Foster caring is a great way to help animals and get the joy of a pet, without committing for a lifetime!

Submitted by PetFinderAdmin on 2010-10-30

Do you care about animals? Help save lives by becoming a foster carer!

Maybe you'd love a pet, but due to work, travel or lifestyle you aren't able to make the 10-15 year commitment. Maybe you've got your heart set on a particular breed but you're not sure what they'd actually be like to live with? Are you a person who loves animals but have no idea whether pet ownership is for you?

Foster caring is a great way to help animals AND get the joy of a pet around the house, without committing for a lifetime!

What is foster caring?

They arrive by the dozens each day: helpless dogs, cats and other companion animals that have been abandoned and need temporary care. To get the second chance they deserve, these animals desperately need foster care.

A foster carer is someone who provides a safe, nurturing environment for a shelter animal until a permanent home can be found. The number of animals that come into shelters around the country each week is enormous. Many shelters rely on volunteers to provide a temporary home to the animals that they would not be able to save otherwise due to limited space.

Foster caring also allows a much smoother transition when the animal is placed into his/her new home. As you can imagine, being kept in a shelter can be very stressful and traumatic for many animals. In your home they have a chance to feel safe and secure, to be nurtured and get exercised and socialised. It also allows the rescue group to evaluate the pet in a "normal" environment and discover details crucial to placing the animal. For example, is this cat litter trained? Is this dog good with cats, kids? A furniture hog or counter-surfer? Does he ride in cars okay? Many of these questions and others can't be answered when an animal is living in a shelter.

By taking in a foster animal you're giving that animal a second chance at life.

What kinds of animals need foster care?

Along with all the healthy companion animals that would be not be able to be saved without the help of foster carers, there are also special needs pets that would not survive without someone to foster them.

Sometimes it's young animals that need to be placed until they are old enough for adoption. Small puppies and kittens are able to be given love, time to “grow up” and the chance to live a long and happy life.

Sick or injured animals need somewhere to recover, mothers need somewhere safe to give birth – you don't need to be a veterinarian to care for pets like these, you just need be able to provide tender care under the direction of the rescue group.

Whether you have time for a special needs pet, or would just like to save a great pet from destruction, rescue groups can match you with animals based on your experience, lifestyle and home environment. And these pets will be very grateful to be able to live with you in their time of homelessness.

What do you need to be a foster carer?

To be considered as a foster carer you will have:

- a love of animals, compassion and the patience to provide a positive environment.

- a securely fenced yard.

- time to spend with the foster pet.

- your existing pets' vaccinated and able to live with a newcomer.

- no plans to go on holidays or move in the near future.

- approval from other family members or your landlord if required.

- time to bathe, groom and inspect the animal.

- a willingness to introduce the pet to new experiences, other animals and to teach good house manners.

- the ability to keep the rescue group up to date of the animals' behaviour and personality to assist with matching with adopters.

- the patience to assist the animal to overcome problems or undesirable behaviours should they arise.

Depending on the individual rescues' conditions, cats will likely need to be kept inside and dogs will need to be able to be inside when you are at home.

How long will I have the foster pet?

The time you have your foster animal varies from anything as short as a week, up to a several months depending on how long it takes to find the perfect forever home.

Should your circumstances change, you are able to return the pet to the rescue, but you will need to give the group plenty of time to find another foster carer to take the animal.

It's a big commitment and definitely not a job for everyone, but knowing you helped save a pet from destruction is an incredibly rewarding experience.

Won't I be sad when I have to hand the pet back?

There are always a few tears shed when you wave goodbye to a foster pet. But knowing that you saved its life and that now it's found the perfect forever family make up for the small amount of loss you will feel.

Besides, there's always another pet who needs you!

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