Fosters are kind people who open their hearts and homes to animals in need. Fostering really does save lives. When you foster a homeless animal, you are giving that animal a greater chance for survival. Simply stated, a foster is someone who cares for an animal that would not do well in a shelter environment.
Animals typically fostered at the Tehama County Animal Care Center are dogs and cats. They can be adults, orphans, or moms that are either pregnant or who are nursing their newborns. In addition, the animals may be ill, injured, or just need a place to recover from a recent surgery. Whatever the reason, and whether you only foster once or decide to do it frequently, you will know that because of your efforts, an animal was helped through a difficult period in its life.
When thinking about becoming a foster be aware that it is a commitment, not only to the organization for which you are fostering, but to the animal’s well-being. Because the animal will be a part of your home, it is important that all family members are supportive. Additionally, consider how much time you have available. Depending upon circumstances, fostering may take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months. If you already have pets at home, consider that you might have to keep them separated from the foster animal. Also, be honest regarding skill level and experience. Since the ultimate goal is to insure the animal’s health and well-being, the shelter/rescue will need to know abilities to correctly place the animal. Be sure to ask what your financial responsibilities will be and what the shelter/rescue will cover and/or provide. At the Animal Care Center they provide all food, supplies, veterinary care etc., so there is essentially no cost to a foster.
Basic requirements fosters are expected to provide are: a nurturing environment, appropriate nutrition, suitable shelter and adequate exercise. In addition to providing the basics, fosters may be asked to transport the animals to veterinary appointments, adoption events, etc.
Fosters are crucial in rehabilitation situations. By assisting an animal in recovery, and providing it with a nurturing home venue, fostering helps increase the chance of a successful move into a permanent home. With regard to orphans, fosters become the surrogate parent, providing the care necessary for those too young to function on their own. By providing these babies nutrition, socialization, and basic training during their formative first eight weeks of life, fosters help to ensure the health and survival of the animal.
While fosters are needed for orphans under 8 weeks of age, pregnant or nursing moms, animals requiring either medical treatment or a place to recover from surgery, it does not mean you are required to be a foster in every situation. The choice is yours. For some, cats and kittens are easier to foster, because they do not need the space or time that dogs and puppies require. For others, the preference might be small or older dogs.
Unfortunately, finding enough fosters is often a difficult endeavor. One of the reasons is that people are often fearful it will be difficult to let go once there is an emotional attachment. While it is hard to bring a first foster back to the shelter, remember that he/she is now ready, because of your efforts, for that loving, permanent home. (Some of us who have fostered decided to adopt the animal and are now affectionately called ‘failed fosters’.) Each year, a large number of animals are born with no one to take care of them. At the Tehama County Animal Care Center, the ability to take in these abandoned animals is directly dependent on the number of reliable fosters they have to help. The more fosters available, the more lives that can be saved. If you are interested in learning more about the Center’s foster program, please contact Christine McClintock, Manager at 530-527-3439.
Fosters are an amazing group of very caring people who do everything from bottle feeding underage orphans, to working with adult animals in need of recuperation. Fosters help ensure that these animals are ready for human and animal interaction. They provide care, safety and most of all, love. In addition to the benefits that both humans and pets receive from a foster situation, removing one animal from the shelter makes room for another. For every animal that is living in a foster home another can be saved.