What kind of pet do I want to foster?
Most people who have decided to foster a pet from a shelter or rescue are “pet people” who have other
pets at home. You’ve probably considered what kind of pet would best suit your family of humans and
It’s important to know a bit about behaviors instilled in certain breeds of dogs, especially before bringing
another home. Of course, every pet has different personalities and will fit in the way HE/SHE wants to,
but a little bit of instinct goes a long way depending on their genetical background!
Consider your lifestyle, personality, and family needs before bringing in a pet, even if it’s for a very short
time. Will you and your family be able to part with that pet if it becomes a very long time? Some adoptive
animals spend years in a foster home awaiting a perfect family. It all depends on circumstances.
Check your savings account. You will never recover what you spend on saving a life. A pet’s life is worth
every dime, but you have to have enough dimes to continue treatment if you end up with a pet who
requires a lot of vet care. Because pets are housed at shelters with many more pets, illness passes very
easily between kennels. Kennel Cough, Parvo (check for blood in stool… ), and even distemper has been
known to easily take out many a pet at shelters. These are all airborne diseases that can affect your OWN
pets at home very easily. There are no guarantees with a shelter pet whether it’s free of diseases.
Sometimes symptoms don’t show up for days or weeks later.
Will you recover your adoption expenses? Spay/Neuter expenses? Shots and Vet expenses? …. in most
cases, probably not. You can ask for an adoption amount to help with incurred expenses, but it may not
cover your monetary loss in the end. Most people will not spend much to adopt a rescued pet, let alone
a small fortune for treatment you received for the pet to save him.
Do your own homework checking the pet out. Runny nose, dull or teary eyes, wet or smelly ears, white
tongue, and foul breath are all signs of sickness. It could be a mild cold, or it could be something else.
What about limping? Cocking head to one side? Heavy breathing?
Your pets at home MUST be vaccinated PRIOR to you bringing home any pets for fostering. Make sure
you’ve given the vaccinations the allowed time to act so your pets are covered. Not all vaccines can stop
the spread of sickness, but most do a good job.
Questions to ask the shelter:
WHY is the pet at the pound? Behavior problems? Aggressive? Family Loss? Destructive?
What is the pet’s breed or suspected breed
How old is the pet?
Is it full grown, or will it grow more?
Do you know of any illness? Have you seen the pet’s stool? Soft? Runny? (could be from stress, too
…. but if it has blood, BAD thing!)
Have you seen the pet with kids? Women? Men? Actions with families?
What is the policy as far as adopting the pet out again (some shelters demand that you keep the pet
for a year).
Many of the shelter volunteers have their own opinions of the pets in their care. It is good to get as
much information as possible from them versus leaving blindly with a pet.
Make sure this is a good option
for you and your family:
Remember your furry friends at home and their personalities, realizing that they’ll have to share your
attention with another addition. This could bring on jealousy or even bad behaviors.
Also remember that the new pet may bring bad habits of his own, and could very well chew your
favorite shoe or even your livingroom sofa! It may or may not be potty trained. It may be a jumper
and scale your fence. It may eat your parakeet. It may jump on grandma or not retract its claws
when walking across your favorite comforter. It may wake the neighbors up at 3:00 in the morning,
barking because he wants something and you have NO IDEA what it is!
You’ll also be a teacher while it’s in your care. And for that you’ll need time. Is your family prepared
for that? Considering all factors, does everyone in the household agree to the change of life? Are
you prepared to take on the responsibility alone if other family members decide they changed their
Also… because YOU are the RESPONSIBLE person for this pet, are you okay to interview potential
adoptive parents? Are you prepared to let the pet go if you DO find a wonderful parent? How about
the rest of the family and their feelings? Attachments happen…. especially if you’re reading this and
your as big of an animal lover as we all realize!
All good questions, huh? Only you can answer them honestly. For the pet’s sake, and for your life’s
sake, think long, think strong, and be sure. Saving a life is hard work, but it has rewards like no other.