Oooh how excited I am to tell you about my recent visit with the lovely Ms. Pepper!
Pepper is the adorable little pooch I was fostering last fall until finding her the perfect home on the east coast. On a recent trip to NYC, I got to see her for the first time since re-homing her, and it reaffirmed to me the many wonderful reasons to foster.
I often get asked if fostering is hard due to getting too attached. It is perfectly natural to get attached to an animal you are fostering, but keeping a few things in mind can be helpful. Fostering provides an invaluable service for rescue groups as it is often the only way they can pull an animal from a shelter if his or her time is up. It gives the animal and the rescue group the needed time to find a proper home. It can also help the animal to become more socialized or recuperate if he or she is traumatized by the unfamiliar shelter experience, as is often the case.
A foster can also provide a rescue group with useful feedback on an animal's temperament, energy level and other factors that help with placement in a new home. This information is critical to assuring a successful adoption.
While fostering is not for everyone, it is a great way for someone who cannot commit to a companion animal long term; not only do you get some furry cuddle time, but you also help the plight of shelter animals overall. Sometimes it can be helpful to establish a limit to how long you're willing to foster to mitigate any fears about becoming too attached. It also helps to keep in mind that for every foster that ultimately gets placed in a great home, you have a space open to save another animal who also deserves a second chance.
Sometimes you even get to stay in touch with your beloved foster animal like I do with Pepper. I often get cards and updates on animals I have fostered. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to witness them safe and happy in their new homes -- and to see the joy they bring to the two- and four-leggers in their new families! Add to that the fact that I have a space to help another animal, and you see why fostering is so rewarding!
To find out more about fostering opportunities, contact a group in your area. You can also create your own volunteer profile on AdoptAPet.com outlining the specific ways that you are able to help shelter animals. Be sure to designate fostering as an area of interest if you want to give it a try. There is no shortage of animals needing your help and so many fun and easy ways to get involved!
So consider adding a little "spice" to your life. I'm certainly glad that I did!
Dr. Pia Salk