The new craze is giving Shelter Animals a holiday - in your home

It's true, instead of visiting and walking a dog at the animal shelter, more and more people are giving the animals a Foster Holiday!

When I walked into my first animal shelter many years ago, I felt overwhelmed by all the dogs and cats that barked and stared at us, "Take me! ... Take Me!"  hoping that we have come to take one them home with us.  It was difficult for us to consider which animal will be the perfect one for our family and our lifestyle.  The animal shelter manager recommended that we consider to rather Foster before we make a final decision.

That was the best advice that we received and solved much of the stress of adopting a new family pet.

What exactly is a Foster Holiday?

Instead of just visiting the animals at your local shelter, more and more people are applying to become Foster Parents.  They collect a new animal every week or two, and it stays by them for that whole time.  The animal gets spoilt with toys, treats, walks and some good family time.  The benefits are endless for both you and these shelter dogs and cats, because they not only get a holiday, but they get to experience what it is like to live in a home.  The only problem is when it becomes a Foster Failure.  These animals and people enjoy each other so much, they end up staying forever.  (What a bonus!)

What if you do love animals but cannot provide a lifetime commitment due to your work or lifestyle? 

Maybe fostering an animal could be the perfect answer for you too!  By doing so, you will experience having a pet in your home, but you will also enjoy all the benefits of their love and company and give them some time-out from life in the kennels – call it as we said, a little vacation away from the animal shelter, but it is rewarding for both you and the animal that you take into your care.

Do you want to adopt an animal but you feel too sad when visiting an animal shelter?

I know, sometimes it is just too hearbreaking to visit them.  Seeing those eyes stare at you, begging you for some love is just too much for many of us.  
This is another good reason for you to consider FOSTERING A DOG OR CAT before you adopt it.  By doing so, you will see if you are happy with this animal in your home and with your lifestyle.  And if it does not work out, then you have at least given it a little vacation away from the shelter.  Each dog has a perfect family waiting for them, but not every dog is suited for every family.

The Benefits of fostering a pet: (Source: Animal Welfare Society - Stellenbosch)

  1. You want to help as a volunteer at your local animal rescue but can’t make it there every day, or every weekend, and taking them home for a while is the next best thing.
  2. You will be able to help an animal recover from illness or injury in a quiet home environment, just ask them which animal could do with some ‘time out’ from their facility.
  3. You will be able to help an animal adapt to home life (some of them really don’t know what a home is), help to build up its self-esteem and give it a better chance of being adopted.
  4. Get your cuddle fix and love bucket filled, without the long term commitment.
  5. You have the privilege to evaluate the animal’s behaviour so the potential adopter has more information about the pet, thus making a better foster match.
  6. Due to your nurturing, love and care, it is very rewarding to see the animals grow to trust and love again.The animal gets a much needed cage break from the hustle and bustle of kennel life.
  7. You save a life! Foster one, Save one! When animals are placed in foster, shelter cage space is opened up for us to take in more animals.

Animal Shelters seek foster families for:

  1. Pregnant moms and babies. They need extra TLC and babies must wait until they are old enough to be vaccinated.
  2. Bottle Baby Care. Kittens and puppies who lack a mother need a foster mom to take care of all their needs.
  3. Holiday Break: A much needed break from the kennel. Animals who have been at the shelter for an extended period of time, need time out to escape the stress of a kennel environment.
  4. Medical Care. These are animals with specific medical needs.
  5. Behaviour. This is for animals who require training, specialised observation and socialisation before they can be adopted.

How long does it take to foster?
Depending on the situation, anywhere from 7 to 10 days or as long as 6 to 8 weeks.

How Do I become a FOSTER PARENT?
Contact your local Animal Shelter.  They will probably ask you to complete their important application form and follow a small application process.  From there, the love begins.

Sometimes the animal shelter can also help with the expenses (sometimes at cost), but more often they will appreciate if you can be the sponsor, they will also gladly help you with a starter pack of food and blankets if you need to get going. 

It is the most rewarding experience one can have. Go on, spoil the animal with a little holiday!

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