I’ve always believed that if you want things to change, you have to be willing to BE that change. Every day hundreds of animals are abandoned and left homeless. I find it sad that people opt to ‘buy’ animals from pet stores (usually for ridiculous prices) when there are so many kind and loving animals living in shelters. Last year I decided to finally step up and do my part to help homeless animals. I knew with me still being in college (at the time) and my family’s hectic work schedules, adopting a dog just wasn’t right for us nor would it be fair to the animal. That’s when I learned about being an animal foster parent. Foster parents house animals for short periods of time (usually 2-4 weeks) and are a HUGE help to the shelter!
I’ve been a foster parent at Chicago PAWS for two summers now! It’s so amazing being able to help these loving creatures find their forever home! Here are some of the benefits of being an animal foster parent:
• Helping Animals. Obviously the best part about being a foster parent is getting to help the animals. There are so many animals out there that need our help. I’ve only fostered dogs so that’s really the only foster animal I have experience with. There are several kinds of dogs you can foster. You can foster dogs that have just received surgeries and need time away from the shelter to recover, puppies who are too young to be adopted yet or older dogs who just need a mini vacation away from the shelter (these are my favorite dogs!)
• It’s FREE! That’s right FREE, no strings attached. When you foster a dog the shelter (at least Chicago PAWS does) provides you with the dog, a leash, a crate and enough food (both dry and wet) for the length of time you’ll be fostering.
• It Helps The Dogs Get Adopted Faster. After fostering a dog, you fill out a behavior sheet that indicates what qualities the dog possess. Does the dog get along with small children? Is the dog active? Does the dog get along with other pets? These behavior sheets are used to help better match the dog with perspective families.
• It’s FUN! If you’re a dog (or animal) lover than fostering is super fun! You basically get a new dog every few weeks to play and cuddle with. How fun is that?
• It Works Around YOUR Schedule. You can foster as much or as little as you want. That means you can foster a dog for 2 weeks than take a month or two break and resume fostering whenever you’d like. There is no obligation for you to foster constantly week after week.
Here’s a few pictures of my most recent foster son Judd, an 11 week old Labrador Retriever/Newfoundland mix, who just returned to Chicago PAWS and is awaiting adoption! I’m so happy I was able to meet and bond with him and I wish him all the luck in the world in finding his new family and forever home!