Pet fostering gives abandoned, mistreated, and surrendered animals a new lease on life. It provides cats and dogs with the love, care, and attention they need to prepare them for adoption. Fostering a pet is a noble act that not only saves the animals’ lives but also helps pets find their forever homes.
Being an animal foster parent isn’t easy, but it can be a very fulfilling experience. With enough preparation, first-time foster families can provide rescued animals with the loving and nurturing environment they need to help the pet succeed. If you’re planning to become an animal foster parent, here are 7 things you can do to make your first-time pet fostering experience a pleasant one.
Prepare Your Home for Your New Foster Pet
Before you welcome your first foster pet into your abode, you have to make sure that your home is ready for them. Providing the animal with essential home and living items like pet beds, customizable dog blankets, and pet bowls will help the foster animal feel at home. Having more than enough pet treats and food to cover them during their stay, on the other hand, will keep them happy and well-fed.
Aside from buying things for your foster pet, making your home as pet-friendly as possible will also ensure that the animal will feel safe in your company. It’ll also lower the risk of property damage, especially when the rescue dog or cat has a feisty nature. Some of the changes you can make at home include installing pet barriers or gates, storing fragile items in high places, and getting trash cans with lids.
Know Your Foster Pet’s Story
To give the pet you’re fostering the right care they need, it’s a good idea to know their story. Get in touch with the rescue center where your foster pet came from and ask them about the animal’s situation on the day it was rescued. Knowing what state the pet was in can help you better understand their behavior. For example, dogs that have been rescued from puppy mills are often sickly and have higher rates of fear. With these pieces of information, you can create a foster environment that benefits the healing of your foster pet.
House Train Them Early
The unfamiliarity of your home can put a lot of stress on your rescue animal, and their anxiety may cause them to soil themselves and dirty your home. Even if the cat or dog you’re fostering has been trained to defecate and urinate in the right places, the sudden change in their environment can make them forget their training. That’s why it’s a good idea to start housetraining them on day one to help them build the habit or remember their training.
Slowly Introduce Them to People and Other Pets
Not all foster animals are used to receiving human affection, so it may take some time before they feel comfortable in your presence. It’s important not to force the animal to socialize because doing so can instill fear in your pet, especially when they have had bad experiences with humans and other animals. Give your foster pet enough space and let them socialize on their own terms. Once the foster animal has gained your trust, you can start exposing them to other people and pets. Just remember to take things slow and make sure that your pet is properly leashed when walking around your neighborhood.
Teach Basic Commands
Teaching your foster dog basic commands such as “sit,” “wait,” and “stay” helps them develop behaviors that make them a prime candidate for adoption. When teaching your foster pet basic life behaviors, remember to use positive reinforcement and give them plenty of praise. This way, they’ll be more eager to learn these commands and build healthier relationships with humans.
Take Lots of Photos and Videos and Post Them Online
It’s always good to see progress, so take as many videos and photos of your foster pet as you can and post them online. Documenting their achievements will show you how much your pet has improved under your care as well as your growth as an animal foster parent. Plus, sharing your progress with your friends and family can inspire others to open their homes to foster animals.
Keep in Mind that Your Foster Pet Is a Temporary Guest in Your Home
The day your foster anima leaves for their forever home is one of the happiest yet most difficult aspects of fostering. It’s difficult to say goodbye to the dog or cat you’ve been taking care of for months. However, you have to remember that your goal as an animal foster parent is to provide animals with a safe, loving, and nurturing environment that prepares them for adoption. Moreover, letting a foster pet go to their new home isn’t a bad thing. It just means that you have more space in your home to accept a new rescue animal in need.
Becoming an animal foster parent comes with a lot of responsibilities. Not only do you have to attend to the pets’ basic needs, but you also have to train them so they won’t have a difficult time assimilating with their adopted families. It’s a tough task, but the hard work is worth it. After all, it’s always great to see happy and healthy rescues finally going to their forever homes.