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Foster Parent Expectations

Shelters can use some help caring for the many animals entrusted to them. One way you can help is by becoming a foster pet parent.

According to Old Dog Haven, “it takes a considerable amount of time, dedication, caring and patience as well as adaptability and ability to deal with difficulties”. Set your expectations before signing up for the responsibility. You don’t want to assume the role of foster pet parent and later discover that you’re not suited to handle it.

In this article, we’ll give you a better idea of what to expect if you opt to become a foster pet parent to a cat or dog. Check out the information here and decide if becoming a foster pet parent is right for you.

Anticipate Unwanted Behaviors

Be prepared for any shelter animal to display behavioral issues arising from their traumatic experiences and loss. Some may come around easier than others while some may require more time and multiple strategies to help them decompress. Follow the pet’s lead on what works best for them.

Put plans in place and actively monitor to prevent or provide quick alternative solutions, particularly for unwanted behaviors such as chewing and potty accidents. It’s also important to monitor the health of the foster pet – sometimes medical conditions become more evident when someone is watching the pet more closely than staff/volunteers are able to in a shelter environment.

Becoming a foster pet parent means helping your new animal companion overcome their behavioral issues. Accomplishing that won’t be easy, but it’s a big part of becoming a foster pet parent.

Time Investment As Foster Parent

You cannot count on your foster pet adjusting to your home right away. It may take weeks before they start feeling comfortable and during that time, they may rely on you constantly.

It’s important to know right away that assuming the role of foster pet parent requires a significant investment of time. You must be willing to make that investment for the sake of the new cat or dog in your care.

Be prepared to foster for an undetermined time. Sometimes the unexpected happens such as discovery of a previously unknown medical condition requiring treatment or the foster pet needs a longer time to decompress/socialize. Don’t foster if you’re going on vacation or unprepared to have them for a longer time. It’s hard on the pet and the rescue to have to relocate them.

Personality and Training

While fostering, it helps to make notes such as the pet’s personality, what they like and don’t like, strategies that have worked so far, to help place them in the most appropriate home at adoption. Gear your fostering time toward giving them the best chance at staying in their adoptive home.

While they’re with you, teach the dogs basic life skills such as sit/lay down/stay/off. Don’t feed them from your plate or allow them to get on the furniture or sleep on your bed (if they’re off quarantine). That might be the relationship you want with your pets, but not all adoptive families will feel the same way. Don’t set up the dogs to be in a situation where their new families start out correcting behaviors you created/encouraged.

Saying Goodbye

The foster pet in your care being adopted means you did a great job as their temporary parent. However, that also means you’ll have to bid farewell to a companion who you likely grew to love dearly.

Saying goodbye as your foster pet goes to their forever home will be very difficult. Still, you can take solace in the fact that your efforts helped changed an animal’s life for the better.

Being a foster pet parent is a huge responsibility and you need to remember that you must follow the rescue/shelter’s guidelines for adoption even when they don’t align with your own beliefs. Prepare yourself by internalizing the details in this article and embracing the undertaking fully.

Do you need help taking care of your other pets while you focus on your foster pet? If that’s the case, ask TAILored Pet Services for assistance. Contact us at 425-923-7791 or visit our potty break/dog walking page to learn more about the assistance we can provide.



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