Pet Fostering & Adoption: What You Need to Know

According to the American Humane Society, about 4.5 million animals are euthanized due to overpopulation in shelters and adopting or fostering a pet is one of the most helpful and kind things you can do to help this problem. Fostering or adopting a pet is a significant decision, and you should enter into it as prepared as you can be. Below, check out what you need to know before you make the decision to foster or adopt a pet.

Woman with her dog

Pet Fostering
If you want a pet, but aren’t sure whether or not you are ready to make a lifelong commitment, fostering a pet is an excellent choice. Fostering a pet allows you to truly see whether or not a pet fits into your life at the time, and it can help you gauge how a pet you already own will react to the addition of another animal. Before you make the final decision about fostering, think about:

  • Think about the type of fostering you want to do. There are several ways to foster animals: some shelters need fostering for young kittens or puppies, others may need foster care for animals with behavioral or medical issues. Whatever route you decide to take, be sure that you fully understand what is being asked of you when you foster an animal.
  • Consider the financial investment. You want to talk about the financial matters with the shelter before you adopt an animal. Some shelters provide the necessities such as a crate, collar, leash, food, bedding and ID tags, but other shelters may expect you to take on the financial responsibility yourself. Know what you are getting yourself into before you make the final decision.
  • Understand the time commitment. Every animal has different needs, but the one thing all foster animals have in common is that they need somebody to provide for them and to spend time with them. Before you foster an animal, take your schedule and lifestyle into account so that you are certain you have the time and energy fostering a pet requires.

Girl playing with a pet dog

Pet Adoption
Adopting a dog, cat or other animal is a massive undertaking and is a full-time commitment that should last the lifespan of the pet you welcome into your home. If you are unsure about whether or not you’re ready to make a lifelong commitment, consider fostering a pet first. If you feel like you’re ready, consider the following before adoption:

  • Are you available? It seems pretty common sense, but really take a good look at your lifestyle and your schedule. When you adopt a pet, you want to be sure that you can provide your pet with the time he/she needs and requires.
  • Consider your energy level. Famed dog expert Cesar Millan suggests that you adopt a pet with an energy level similar to yours. “Make sure you evaluate the dog when he’s been out of the cage for some time and has had a walk. Take him out and see how he behaves. A dog in a cage is not going to give you the reality of their natural energy.
  • Try to take emotion out of the equation. This is an incredibly hard thing to do once you’ve visited a shelter. All of the adorable faces and loving animals that need homes can make you feel quite emotional, but adopting while under the influence of these strong emotions can ultimately lead to a dog that isn’t right for you or your household. Taking the time to thoroughly think through the decision to adopt can save future heartache and struggles that may arise if you end up with the wrong pet.

Whether you decide to foster or adopt a pet, you are making a difference in that animal’s life and giving the shelter space to provide another pet a safe place to be. Do thorough research on about the type of animal you plan on fostering or adopting, and take a realistic look at your schedule. Entering into the decision to foster or adopt should be a happy and exciting time, and if you do a bit of work beforehand, it is sure to be an enjoyable process.

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