Shelter pets are no stranger to instability and future uncertainty, and in times like these, we humans could learn a thing or two from keeping one around. If there was ever a perfect time to foster a shelter pet, that time is right now!
Fostering an animal means volunteering to temporarily provide care to a shelter pet in your home. A wide variety of animals require foster care for a multitude of reasons — bottle baby puppies and kittens, nursing moms, sick pets, behavior cases, and even adoptable dogs and cats who would simply benefit from living in a home environment (spoiler alert: almost all of them do!)
In March, we proactively sent nearly all of our shelter animals into foster homes throughout the Grand Valley through our new COVID Companions Foster Program in order to create room for emergency relinquishments and lighten the work load for our limited staff through the pandemic. As we continue to bring in relinquishments and transfers from Mesa County Animal Services, each animal is placed into a safe and loving foster home to await adoption.
Here are 5 reasons why you should open your heart and home to a foster pet during COVID-19:
- It’s healthy for you! Studies show that having a pet around can improve both your mental and physical health. Simply having the responsibility of caring for another being provides a gratifying reason to get out of bed each day, even when times are tough. Companionship is an integral part of your overall wellness, and having a snuggle buddy for your Netflix binges or a hiking partner to help you stay in shape will provide just that, especially in these times when physical companionship is limited.
- It benefits the animal! Some pets require foster care due to specialized needs, such as bottle babies, but some pets simply enter foster care because they would rather sleep on your couch than in a kennel while waiting to be adopted — and we don’t blame them! As comfy and enriching as we try to make it, a shelter environment is inherently stressful. Unfamiliar smells, loud sounds, new surroundings, lots of strangers, an abrupt interruption of routine, and a separation from life as they once knew it is surely enough to distress anyone, human or otherwise. A foster home provides comfort, routine, and enrichment in a significantly less stressful place, which allows the animal’s true personality to shine.
- It’s temporary! Fostering is a temporary arrangement that can last from a couple weeks to a few months, depending on the needs of the animal and how quickly they get adopted. It’s all the fun and companionship of having a pet but without the lifelong commitment or financial responsibility. On the fence about adopting? Foster first, and you can find a routine for how a pet might fit into your life — and who knows, you might just fall in love and turn your foster pet into a forever pet! At the very least, fostering is a fun opportunity to get creative and show off your pet to the community as their adoption ambassador. To know that you played a part in uniting a family with their future best friend is the most gratifying feeling in the world.
- It’s kitten season! Kitten season is the time of year between spring and fall when unspayed cats start having babies. Each year, close to 350 kittens enter our foster program, but we expect this year to hit harder than usual due to spay/neuter restrictions put in place during the pandemic. Kittens require foster care for a multitude of reasons — orphaned bottle babies, under-socialized kittens, pregnant or nursing moms, sick kittens, and underaged weaned kittens all depend on your name being on our foster list.
- It increases shelter capacity! When you foster an animal, you’re helping two pets: the one in your home and the one we can now bring in due to that space opening up. The walls of our shelter are as big as the community of supporters we surround ourselves with, and your support through fostering makes an impact in the lives of homeless animals that ripples far and wide.
Are you sold yet? Get your name on our foster list by completing a foster application on our website at rhhumanesociety.org/foster-care-program. We will contact you when we have an animal in need of foster care who we think would fit well into your home!
For more information, please contact our Foster Coordinator Jenna Kretschman at email@example.com.
Can’t foster but still want to support Roice-Hurst through the pandemic? We greatly appreciate monetary donations of any amount or supply donations from our wish list.
Donate on our website at: https://rhhumanesociety.z2systems.com/np/clients/rhhumanesociety/donation.jsp?campaign=6&
Donate an item from our wish list at: https://rhhumanesociety.org/wish-list/.