Do you love animals? Have you ever thought about fostering an animal in need but didn’t know where to start? This month, we are going to dive into Fostering 101 and highlight the incredible, lifesaving journey of becoming a volunteer pet foster parent. Let’s start with what fostering actually means and why this volunteer role is a critical need in every part of Florida.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 6 million companion animals enter shelters and rescues in the United States annually. This breaks down further to over 3 million homeless cats and 3 million homeless dogs nationwide. Of those, nearly a million are euthanized every year for lack of space, resources and adoptions. In Florida, these numbers are highly represented as one of the top states in the country to euthanize companion pets. Over 20,000 dogs and cats lost their lives just last year in our state facilities. Many of which could have been saved with an available foster home.
Fostering means providing a temporary home, love and care to an animal that is under the supervision of a shelter or rescue organization. Most fostering arrangements include the coverage of all medical care, food, supplies and support. Signing up to foster is a great way to be involved without a permanent commitment to a new or additional pet. It is also a great way to introduce your family to the responsibilities attached to lifetime pet ownership. Often, finding new foster home volunteers can become a challenge for many nonprofit animal rescue organizations.
The most common concern is becoming too attached to the foster animal and not wanting to later let them go to an adoptive home. This fear of attachment and loss is natural but also temporary. To those with this concern, remember that this pain is small when compared to the pain of losing the animal completely, for never having intervened. Expanding our hearts is one of life’s many gifts. Opening ourselves up to save a life is a moment in which one will seldom, if ever, regret.
You can maximize your impact by choosing a local shelter, organization or foster-based rescue, with a well-oiled system and history in your community. There are many options in Florida to find your perfect fit. If you’d like to find out more information and explore foster animal opportunities locally, reach out to FishHawk TNR Inc. Animal Rescue by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn how you can save the lives of animals in need.