Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Room for One More

Although not all the available pets that have been mentioned in this blog spent Christmas night lounging under the lights of their own tree or at the feet of their new humans, the ones that we know of were at least in a home; pets who are waiting to be adopted through the organization we volunteer with are taken into foster homes. This is a practice that you might find with many rescues. These temporary homes serve to provide a pet with a stable and loving environment, offer an opportunity for much one-on-one interaction with the pet, and also enable a better understanding of the the pet's particular personality, behavior, and needs.

Ella, adopted
Foster homes are truly beneficial for animals waiting for adoption; what may be even more beneficial is what these pets bring to their fosters' homes. There is possibly nothing more rewarding than the grateful adoration and love of a homeless pet. Seriously, anyone who has ever fostered, or adopted, can tell you these animals literally display a sense of gratitude and appreciation. Perhaps we underestimate the emotions and abilities of animals, those creatures who we, as humans, deem ourselves to be superior to. One example is the non-human ability to forgive and forget, which can be found regularly with animals who have previously suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of the humans in their life at that time. If only we two-legged, "superior" creatures would just take a lesson or two from these wonderful animals!

Taking an animal into your home on a temporary basis, caring for it and ensuring physical and emotional needs are met - as well as paying attention to any particulars that might characterize this one as in need of a particular environment or certain type of people, and their interactions with other pets, children and strangers, enables a broader and more complete picture of the pet, thus helping to ensure an appropriate permanent home. Granted, there are some rescue groups and shelters that take this responsibility a bit too far - in becoming so focused on the details of the pets, they sometimes lose sight of the flexibilities of both people and animals which eventually would overshadow such details. In general, though, the foster arrangement is very successful for both pet and future family.

Although it varies by rescue or shelter, many of the requirements for doing so are the same. For some, the cost of supplies is covered, by others it is not. For some, the temporary home is required to bring the pet to adoption events, necessary veterinarian appointments, special events; for others there are other arrangements. Depending on the time you wish to commit, you may be able to offer your home for, say, a weekend - to cover for fosters who will be out of town. Others prefer a more substantial commitment. Through it all, though, being a foster home means offering a place for a pet to stay, to live in, until their forever home is found.

Do you get attached to your temporary charges? Of course! You surely wouldn't be offering to do this if you didn't already love animals, and it doesn't take long to get attached. Although choosing to adopt the pet is always an option, thereby never having to say goodbye to them, it is best if possible to pursue a new home for them. Why? Because then you can take in another who needs a place to stay. And the more often you take one in, the more accustomed you become to the whole process, making it a little easier on that goodbye part. For many, the knowledge of having been able to assist along the way in a beautiful animal's journey toward it's forever home has been truly gratifying in itself. And they remain with you always, anyway - because they leave their pawprints on your heart!

Kudos to all those who open their homes and hearts to animals in need of a place to stay! For every shelter that feels they cannot hold just one more animal, may there always be a foster home stepping forward. Fosters are an integral part of the process of bringing Fido (or Fluffy) off the street, and into his very own loving home. If you think you might be able to do so as well, check with your local shelter or rescue group, give it a try! A home is a terrible thing to waste.


  1. That was such a great post and it is sure a very impawtant topic! Thanks for reminding everyone.

  2. What a Wonderful Topic. We are your newest followers
    Check us out at

  3. I really enjoyed this. I think being a foster is a great way to have the benefits of a pet if you can't have one full-time. Also, just wanted to say that CindyLu has a striking resemblance to my dog Gigi. She's adorable. :) Terrific Post.

  4. Hi! I just wanted to pop in and say thank you for following my blog and leaving a comment. It's always nice to meet new people.

    Thanks again!

  5. Another inspiring post. Like I've already stated, the word would be a much better place with more caring people in it like your good self.

    By the way, is that adorable little dog a Shih Tzu? Because it looks much like my three little beauties :)

    Thanks for following my blog :)

  6. We are unable to get another pet, but once we have a bigger place, we will definitely take in foster animals.

  7. Elena and Wendy - yes, CindyLu is a wonderful blend of Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier...the Shih Tzu really shows, and she has straighter hair probably from the Yorkie side of the family. Her personality is even a combination of the two!
    Cooper and Lola - Woohoo! You've got great plans, CindyLu's excited for you!
    Thank you to everyone - fostering is taken seriously here at our house!

  8. "a home is a terrible thing to waste." - nice way to put it.

    georgia was supposed to be just a temporary dog in our home, and some company for a depressed rufus who'd just lost his old friend. look what happened :p i don't know how YOU do it, cindylu's muse. you are a Prolific Foster Carer!

  9. Greetings,
    A very well written, thoughtful and heartfelt posting you have submitted.
    Bringing a homeless pet from a shelter is a most worthy cause. A cause I heartily embrace.
    I'm sure our beloved Jack Russell, Penny, a cherished family member, would love the company of a fellow innocent creature.
    I found out about your superb blog via Wendy's latest posting. Kudos and respect, your way, Gary :-)
    Or as Penny would say, 'pawsitive wishes :-)

  10. What a great post. My mom person is seriously considering this, but there are some issues she has to work out first.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  11. So true, a home is indeed a horrible thing to waste. I've only recently found out about foster homes for animals and I think it is a wonderful idea. I have to try and see if this is also done in my country.

    Though giving the pet away to find a permanent home is very hard... My fiance and his mom couldn't give away their cats, now we're holding on to Aschiuta...

  12. Oskar - hope your mom can work out the issues, you'd get extra pals!
    Georgia Little Pea and Lavi - BOL, that's how I have Rascal and Bo as my brothers! They call it "foster-failure"...I'm thinkin' it's more like foster pet's-success!

  13. Klahanie - Thank you very much! Penny would love having a playmate! Penny sounds like a really cool pup - pawsitively!;)

  14. Lavi - p.s. - the "trick" is finding really wonderful people to adopt the animal, then you don't mind quite as much letting go...and reminding yourself of all the others out there that could really use a place to stay!


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