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“Should I Foster a Dog or Cat?” FAQ with Abby

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An FAQ on fostering a dog or cat with a foster expert.

Abby is Outward Hound’s Global Logistics Manager, but she’s also a huge supporter of paw-lanthropy in the city of Denver! Last year alone, Abby fostered over two-dozen animals. So, she’s learned a thing or two about the process along the way. If you’ve been asking yourself, “Should I foster a Dog or Cat?” review Abby’s advice below to help you make your decision. Even if fostering a dog or cat doesn’t end up being right for you, there are still other ways to support paw-lanthropy in your community.

According to the Petco Foundation, if every pet parent fostered just one animal a year, there would be no need for unnecessary euthanasia in the United States. Fostering a dog or cat saves lives. Many rescues are foster-based. That means that they can only save an animal if they have a willing foster home for it.

In 2020, I fostered 28 animals. With people working from home more than ever during COVID-19, I found a lot of my peers were curious about fostering a pet. These are the questions I get all the time from people curious about getting involved, and I hope my answers can help you out, too!”

A small dog sits in a dog bed on a desk next to a computer

Q: How long is the commitment when fostering an animal?

A: This is up to you! There is a need for both long-term foster and short-term homes. Special needs animals or medical cases generally need a long-term foster home. Short-term fosters are common for healthy, adoptable animals that may be adopted within a week. Sometimes, you may even be foster-sitting for foster homes that may need a weekend off!

Q: How do you avoid becoming too attached to let them go?

A: This is a common hesitation. We often hear people say, “I could never foster because I could never say goodbye!”. In my experience, you’ll find that seeing them go to a loving forever-home is far more rewarding than it is sad.

My best advice for people who want to foster but have this concern is to give it a try. If you find that it is not for you, that’s okay! You still tried. And if you find that you want to keep your foster, that’s okay too!

Q: What if I’m interested in fostering only specific animals, for example kittens but not older cats?  

A: Shelters love foster homes with a specialty! If you want to foster only kittens, there’s a need for that. If you have a male dog that doesn’t love other male dogs, and you can only foster females, there’s a need for that!

Even if you have an affinity for a particular breed, there are hundreds of amazing breed-specific rescues. It may take  extra research to find the right fit for your preference. But with about 6.5 million animals entering shelters nationwide every year, you can always find a foster animal within your specialty.

Q: I can’t foster a dog or cat, but I still want to get involved. What are other ways I can help?

A: We understand that fostering is not for everyone. If you are not in a position to foster, you can still help! Shelters and rescues are always in need of volunteers and donations.

If you are not in a position to volunteer or donate, advocate! Share your favorite rescue stories on social media. Encourage friends and family to consider adopting their next pet. And spread the word about how easy it is to get involved.

Here are a few places near us you can rescue or foster from:

Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue (Cats & Kittens) 
Paws on the Ground Colorado (Dogs, All Breeds) 
Taysia Blue Rescue (Siberian Huskies & Alaskan Malamutes) 

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