How to Be an Awesome Pet Foster Parent

A sad-looking dog under a table.
Pet foster parents provide temporary shelter for homeless animals until a permanent home can be found for them. (Image: via Pixabay)

It is commonplace to see people adopting pets of varying types, most notably the winged or furry ones. However, people need more than love for animals or birds in order to become pet foster parents. The pet shelters require foster parents to meet certain conditions. This can be easier to understand when you consider what happens if such shelters become overcrowded, with some animals or birds needing to be shifted to other locations for a while. Pet foster parents must be willing and able to give shelter to such homeless animals for a period of time until they find a permanent home.

Those with a deep love for animals can apply to become pet foster parents. However, the truth is such applicants will be assessed and they will have to fulfill the criteria for becoming pet foster parents. Here are a few important factors to consider before you apply to become a pet foster parent.

Fostering a pet

First of all, you have to understand that fostering a pet is not equal to adopting a pet! After a certain time, you will have to return the pet to the shelter or surrender it to another family. So it can be somewhat mentally draining for you. Preparing yourself mentally from the beginning is a prerequisite. You will eventually have to let the pet go.

Skill level

Whether you want to become a foster parent of a parrot or a Cocker Spaniel, your capability will be assessed. Fostering different types of birds and animals requires varying skill levels. For instance, not everyone is capable of handling pets with behavioral or medical issues. Some pets can be cranky and require lots of care. The shelter or agency offering the pet for fostering will assess the suitability of your setup as well. For fostering certain breeds of dogs or birds, you may need a large space. It is prudent that you foster a pet that you are capable of handling.

Being a pet foster parent for different types of birds and animals requires varying skill levels.
Fostering different types of birds and animals requires varying skill levels. (Image: via Pixabay)

Time commitment

In addition, the animal shelter will also assess time and lifestyle issues. You can expect them to look at the amount of free time you have at your disposal. If you have a hectic life and spend many hours every day away from home, it may be hard for you to find time to look after the pet.

Prep work

Before you become a pet foster parent, it is absolutely necessary that you prepare your home and ensure family members are also prepared. It will be necessary to maintain a space for the pet. This can be a cage or fenced area in the backyard or even a balcony. Make sure that the area designated for the pet is devoid of any stuff that can be harmful. It should not have sharp objects or open electric wires, for example. You need to educate family members, especially children, about things they should and should not do while dealing with the pet.

Get advice

If it is your first time fostering a pet, talking to experienced people will be helpful. You can find online groups and forums for pet foster parents. Checking social media sites can be helpful in this regard. Interacting with veteran pet foster parents will be a handy way for you to learn all the ins and outs.

Consider existing pets

Some people who already have pets in their homes volunteer to be pet foster parents. This can be good as long as you know the temperament of your pets really well. Not all pets get along well with new contenders on their home turf. A female Labrador who has given birth to puppies may warm up to newborn puppies but she may react differently to kittens, for example.

A grey tabby cat laying down.
Before fostering another animal, consider how any existing pets are likely to react to having someone new on their home turf. (Image: via Pixabay)

Fostering a pet can be a bit tricky at times, but it is not something that should make you frantic either. It is necessary to gather as much information as you can and make arrangements for fostering. If you fall in love with the fostered pet and decide to adopt it, that will be an added bonus!

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  • Raven Montmorency

    Raven Montmorency is a pen name used for a writer based in India. She has been writing with her main focus on Lifestyle and human rights issues around the world.