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Beacon Senior News

Fostering: a fun alternative to permanent pet ownership

Feb 24, 2022 02:02PM ● By Jenna Kretschman

One of life’s greatest joys is the companionship we share with our pets: a dog’s unconditional love, a cat’s comforting familiarity, and the bond you form as they entrust you with a lifetime of compassionate responsibility. But when a 15-year commitment into the future isn’t feasible or fair to promise to a furry friend, fostering through a local animal shelter is a fun, short-term alternative to permanent pet ownership. 

Pet foster care is a temporary arrangement in which a shelter pet is cared for in a volunteer’s home prior to adoption. Foster stays typically range from one week to two months, depending on the pet, and you choose when and which pet to bring home!

Foster volunteers sign up for a variety of reasons. Some are retired and value their freedom to travel while others simply want the company of a dog or cat without the lifelong commitment. They are a crucial part of keeping the pets of our community safe and cared for. 

When a pet leaves a shelter kennel and moves into the comfort of a foster home, that kennel becomes available for another pet to find safety. Some pets, like newborn kittens and puppies or pets with certain medical needs, can’t stay inside the shelter and rely on foster homes for survival. 

Adoptable dogs and cats also benefit from foster care. Despite our best efforts, any animal shelter is inherently stressful to pets on some level—full of new smells, unfamiliar people and other animals—so spending time in your home while they await adoption is an incredible gift. Plus, shelter staff can more accurately sense a pet’s personality in a home environment, which allows for more successful matchmaking.

Lacey, a 1-year-old blue heeler who was found lost on the side of the road last fall, is one of our “poster pups” for foster care at Roice-Hurst Humane Society. In the shelter, Lacey was fearful and wouldn’t even allow staff to touch her. But once an incredible foster volunteer took Lacey home, her playful personality emerged. We learned that Lacey loves to chase toys and go hiking! Soon after, Lacey was adopted into her forever family, who are immensely grateful for the confidence that Lacey’s foster family gave her. 

If you have a dog- or cat-sized void in your life but are unable to commit to adopting, give Roice- Hurst Humane Society a call at 970-434-7337 or visit www.rhhumanesociety.org/foster to learn more about fostering shelter pets. We would love to match you with a foster pet who could use your help on their journey to happily ever after.

Learn more about Hospice fostering or fospicing.