What You Need to Know About Fostering a Pet
Fostering a pet is different to adopting a pet. When a pet is adopted it stays with its new family for life. When a pet is fostered, it is housed on a temporary basis with a family before being permanently rehomed. There are many reasons why an animal is fostered rather than kept in a rescue centre or animal shelter. These include:
- Illness of an owner – if an owner of a pet is ill or in hospital their pet will need love and care until their return. Fostering is an ideal solution as the pet is fostered within a family until the owner is ready to look after them again.
- Domestic violence – many domestic violence refuges are unable to take pets. Therefore short term foster care is often an important service that can be offered to sufferers of domestic violence. There are specialist schemes that are set up to help the pets of families who suffer abuse.
- Illness of a stray or abandoned animal – sometimes a rescue centre or animal shelter may foster a sick or injured animal with a knowledgeable and experienced pet foster family. This is so that the animal can be given the constant care that it requires.
- Special needs – dogs or cats that have come from intensive breeders are sometimes fostered before they are rehomed. These animals are used to living outside and without much company from humans. They therefore need socialising before they can be rehomed. These are often pure breed dogs and these are handled by specialist rehoming organisations.
Fostering RequirementsFostering a pet does require some very special skills. Fostered pets maybe scared and frightened. They are often much loved pets and companions who suddenly find that their circumstances have changed – perhaps through the illness of their owner. The fostering family will need to be experienced of dealing with all sorts of types of dogs and cats. They will need to know how to deal with sick animals and how to give added reassurance to a nervous pet. This is in addition to the time that will be required to settle a pet into his new home – however temporary.
Many pet fostering organisations will pay for any expenses incurred, such as medication. The fostering organisation will also arrange for any special housing. Cats, for instance, are often homed in cat 'chalets' outside that keep the cats secure and this stops any risk of straying. While a lot of help and support is given to the foster family, they will, however, need to be prepared for the upheavals involved in taking on a new pet as well as the emotional aspects of looking after and caring for a pet for a short period of time.