Dr. Pia SalkFrom the brilliant Dr. Pia Salk, who has extensive experience fostering pets: If you can’t adopt a pet but want to get a temporary furry cuddle fix, support the work of your local rescue groups and save lives, then fostering is for you! Fostering is one of the most compassionate and rewarding actions an animal lover can take. The availability of a foster home can make a life-saving difference for a homeless animal. While many people envision rescue groups as having large facilities and a full staff, the reality is more grass roots than that.

Many rescues groups are only able to take in as many needy animals as they have fosters for. Rescue groups work tirelessly to find homes for the animals in their care and to network the ones in municipal shelters, but all too often the time needed to find a home exceeds the time an animal has left. Foster homes provide the critical time needed to connect the dots between an animal in need and an adoptive home.

Foster homes help not only by saving lives, but in other ways too. By getting to know a pet’s personality, a foster helps the rescue group properly place that pet into a suitable home. A brief stint in a safe environment can also help provide the socialization needed to facilitate a smoother transition into a new home.

And let’s not forget the fun part! A foster parent gets to have a furry fix for a stint without the life-long commitment that may not suit their lifestyle.It’s like getting to spoil your niece and nephew when they come to visit!

Anyone interested in exploring foster should contact a few rescue groups in their area (click here to find rescues near you). The rescue can share info on their requirements and schedule a time for a home visit. Ask them to help you establish the kinds of animals you can accommodate and a time commitment that meets your lifestyle. If you’re partial to a certain breed, you can also consider fostering for a breed rescue.

You can also sign up to volunteer on Adopt-a-Pet.com’s volunteer registry, and select “Fostering” as one of your interests.

What a great way to advocate for the animals!

Happy fostering!