Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Give Homeless Pets a Place to Rest Their Head by Fostering This Holiday Season

Suri was a foster for a while before finding her forever home.
I'm not an advocate of giving pets as gifts over the holidays, however fostering is a different story.

Taking in a homeless pet over the holidays gives a homeless animal a chance at a semi-normal life during a season when the shelters are most strained from live "gifts" of dogs and cats are coming in from owners who didn't understand what they were getting themselves into.

That's not you though.

You're different. Animals with a bow around their necks are not the same as a football, toaster, or new set of slippers under the tree. They're a responsibility.

Unlike using an animal for a gift that you aren't sure if the receiver is going to like or even be willing or able to take care of the day after Christmas, as a foster, you can make sure that your new charge has everything that they need.

You're probably asking yourself: How to get started?

The best thing that you can do is check in with your local rescues. They have experience working with foster parents and can let you know if there is one that you can help out and for how long. Keep in mind that not all rescues do temporary foster programs, however you can always ask. My advice would be to look at your living situation and see what you can live with and if you are OK with taking in a homeless animal that would otherwise spend its holidays sleeping on a cold cement floor.

Shelters are another source of education on the subject, but in my experience, they're looking solely for long term placement of animals, so keep that in mind. A rescue professional might spend a bit more time with you if they think you're a good foster candidate and are really looking to help.

My friend, Sabrina Wilkerson, whose former foster, Suri is pictured above is a guru when it comes to fostering homeless animals. She's part of the Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego where she's responsible for their foster program. Although she was only a friend of a friend at the time when Peppy (pictured below) needed a new home after her owner passed, it was Sabrina who made the connections to get Peppy fostered.

Peppy, a 14 year old chi-weenie

If you read her stuff over at her new Facebook Page, Foster Mamas, you'll probably see how fostering has changed her life. Her photo journal of her adventures in fostering represents all the good that can come when one person (actually two, her boyfriend Jonathan is also very into fostering) stands up to make a difference. If you need an extra smile today, check out her page when you get a chance.

Photo credits: Sabrina Wilkerson