My Dog Ate My Money

The Benefits of Fostering a Pet Before Adopting

dogThe inability to pay for the pet’s food or veterinary care, not enough time, the pet is too aggressive, the pet is too hyper, the pet destroyed the couch, the walls, or the floors, and allergies to the pet are just a few of the reasons given when owners give up a cat, dog, bird, or other pet. Despite the long list of reasons given by pet owners, most of the time there really is only one true reason pets are given up. The owners were not prepared for the pet they got. This is why fostering a pet before making the lifetime commitment to that pet benefits both the pet owner and the pet.

Learn if You Can Afford the Pet

Pet rescue organizations rely on donations to care for their animals, from housing to food to veterinary care. Often these costs are donated by the foster family. As a foster home looking to adopt, offer to pay for all the expenses related to that pet while it lives in your home. This way, you will know if you can truly afford to care for that pet, and you’ll get a tax deduction for your good deeds.

Learn if the Pet is a Good Fit for You

Not every person or family will enjoy the daily screams of a macaw, the chewing stage of puppyhood, or litter box training a cat. While others may see the beauty of the macaw’s 5 a.m. wake up call, enjoy the challenge of raising and training a puppy, and appreciate the free thinking cat. These are all traits of pets that you have to experience in order to learn if you are a good fit for the pet, and the pet is a good fit for you. In addition, once you know you want to get a dog, by fostering different breeds you can learn if the rambunctious border collie is for you, or if you prefer the more laid back, but exceptionally large, Newfoundland breed of dog.

Learn if Your Pets Will Get Along

If you already have a pet or two, you may think you are well prepared to add more. It may be because you enjoy your cat so much that you want another or you feel your pet needs companionship. However, your current pet may think differently about adding more pets to its home. By fostering before adopting, you’ll learn if all of the pets will get along.

011_9 - CopyYou’ll Have Support and Resources

When you discover that your new foster African grey parrot is afraid of his own shadow, the new cat has never seen a litter box, or the friendly Doberman never stops barking, the rescue group you foster through will be your lifeline. From advice on training and health care to partnerships with veterinarians and trainers, as a pet foster parent you will have direct access to support and resources to help you train and care for your foster pet. Also, many pet rescues require foster parents to take training classes prior to bringing home their first pet. By fostering a pet, you start out better prepared for that pet, and have instant access to help when you need it.

It’s Not a Lifetime Commitment

When you adopt a pet, you should only do so with the honest intention of caring for the pet throughout its life. By fostering a pet you are not making a lifetime commitment. If the pet does not fit well into your family, you don’t have to abandon it. The rescue will gladly take it back and place it in a more suitable home.

You’ll Have Saved a Life

Most nonprofit pet rescues make a lifetime commitment to caring for each pet taken in. Barring severe circumstances, these pets are not euthanized simply because a home was not found. Even if you cannot make a lifetime commitment to your foster pet, you helped the rescue make that lifetime commitment by offering your home and care temporarily. In that sense, you did help save the life of a pet. And your honest evaluation of the pet will help it to find a home that is a perfect fit.

Often emotions take over when getting a new pet, especially when it comes to baby animals. When seeing that cute puppy, kitten, or even baby parrot, it can be hard to think long term about the lifelong needs of that particular pet. Things like chewed up shoes, hairballs, and the damage a beak can do to skin are hard to image when captivated by a new pet. By fostering a pet, you can learn about the care needs of that pet first hand. This allows you to make the a lifetime commitment only when you are fully prepared to do so.


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