There is a true satisfaction in fostering a companion animal. The pet gets to be in a real home, the space made available at the sanctuary becomes available to save the life of yet another pet. The pet will remain HALT's responsibility if it needs medical care; it can be returned to HALT at any time if it becomes necessary; you will have the first opportunity to adopt the pet if you fall in love.... How can you miss?
Please check our "Adoptable Pets" pages to find one, or more, that you'd like to see. Then call HALT, 692-8940, or e-mail HALT to learn more.
With our thanks, this article is reprinted with the permission of American Profile Magazine:
FOSTERING FLUFFY& FIDO
When Susan Turner first met Peanut, the tiny gray and white kitten had been abandoned in a cardboard box at the Franklin County (Fla.) Humane Society shelter. Turner brought the kitten home and for the next few weeks fed it with an eyedropper every three hours. Three months later she put the kitten on a plane bound for Peanut's new family in Pasco, Wash. (pop.32,066).
Turner, who lives in Eastpoint, Fla. (pop. 2,158) has fostered nearly 40 dogs and cats during the last 15 years. Some stay for just one night, others for weeks or months.
"You're not just bettering the life of an animal. You're creating a more adoptable animal," she says. "That's the incredible reward."
Foster homes free up space in animal shelters overwhelmed by thousands of unwanted, abandoned and lost pets. In a foster home, pets learn basics such as how to walk on a leash, or how to use a litter box.
Small-town shelters don't have the manpower to provide such training, Turner explains. With a foster family, "You're in a normal household environment so pets can be exposed to other people and other situations."
Some shelters, like Happy Tales Humane in Franklin, Tenn. (pop. 41,842), rely exclusively on foster homes. The shelter turns a lot of dogs away because it doesn't have enough people to foster them, says Mary Mader, who helps run the shelter's dog adoption program. The people who provide temporary care to Happy Tales' animals bring their charges in each Saturday for adoption day; animals that don't find permanent homes return to their foster homes for another week.
If you want to foster a pet, log on to the Internet and search for the word rescue and the kind of animal you want to temporarily adopt. Local animal shelters also can provide information on foster opportunities.
No special skills are required, Mader says, just love "and a tolerant spouse." Letting charges go can sometimes be hard, she admits, but usually, "you feel good. You've saved a life."
FOSTER CARE APPLICATION
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