Just like children need the comfort and help a foster home offers until a permanent home can be found, pets can also benefit from fostering. Many rescue groups are looking for good pet families that are willing to foster a pet and save it from being euthanized.
Adopting a pet, even if temporary, is a great way to keep pets from overcrowding shelters and to improve their socialization skills. A more socialized and well-behaved pet is much easier to adopt, and once adopted permanently, more likely to remain in the household.
Pets in shelters are under more stress than when with a private family where they can be trained, socialized and taught proper manners. My own dogs and cats are so used to foster pets coming and going in our household, they accept them readily. We foster dogs to help them find just the right home. Here are some tips for foster adoption:
If you have pets, always introduce the foster dog or cat in neutral territory and allow them to get used to each other slowly. DO NOT simply bring them home and have them meet the “clan” as I call it. This is simply too stressful and may lead to fighting and long term intimidation. Cats may require longer introduction and socialization periods.
Do not shower the foster adoption with affection, because it may cause a problem when the normal household routine and interaction return.
Be patient – ensure a slow introduction where both the regular pets and the foster pet are able to interact without fear or intimidation. It might be hours or days, but very seldom a few minutes (as most introductions are performed.)
Work with the foster pet on leash training, obedience, basic commands and utilize gentling techniques as presented by Dr. Tripp on this site. Never use physical punishment.
Be certain the foster pet was vaccinated for all the normal contagious diseases that can be prevented and checked for parasites. You do not want to bring a contagious disease or internal or external parasites to your own pets.
Review the veterinary exam for any special health problems.
Be happy when the “right home” is found and spend some time with the new owner on the foster pet’s personality, behavior and needs.