By Katelyn Schutz, CPDT
Want to Help? Top 5 Reasons to Foster a Pet!
Today, I said not “goodbye”, but rather “good luck”, to another amazing foster dog who finally found it’s forever home. Two summers ago, I walked into the local animal control and did a behavioral assessment on a zippy, wicked smart, tank of a dog, who later became known as Behla the Am Staff-Coolie mix. She was too fun and full of life to be put down, so we soon placed her into foster care. Little did we know, Behla was A LOT of dog, and often “too much” for particular foster homes… until we found her perfect match. Though it was no easy ride, Behla excelled in her training over the next 2 years along with her persistent foster dad, Joe. With diligence and consistency, Behla went from being incredibly dog-dog aggressive and unruly, to being a well-mannered social dog. When we first pulled Behla, we couldn’t get within a football field away from another dog without her reacting and showing what we affectionately called her “ugly face”. Now, today, we walk through a crowded farmer’s market, and Behla gives at least 2 dozen strange dogs kisses on the face as she passes them. This dog has more doggie friends at the park, than I have Facebook friends! And today, we send Behla off onto a new journey of her life, where she will forever be cared for and loved. Though it’s bittersweet, it’s what we’ve been waiting for all along.
This world needs more happy endings like Behla’s story. I know as a professional dog walker and pet sitter, there’s nothing more rewarding than watching a rescue or foster pet blossom in their new home. There’s so much YOU can do to help too! Here are some of the many positives to becoming a pet foster home:
#1 SAVE A LIFE. Period. What more is there to say? By taking an animal into your home for foster care, you are giving them that second chance some so desperately need, and deserve. Unfortunately, some people don’t see animals as living, breathing beings with feelings, but rather as possessions that they can just toss out with the trash. There is an overwhelming number of animals in need in this country. Start making an impact in your local community. Foster, rescue, adopt, donate, volunteer, and save a life or two.
#2 SAVE ANOTHER LIFE. For every animal we place into foster care, another empty cage is available to save yet another life. Euthanasia rates sky rocket at animal control centers when there is little to no room in the facility. By fostering an animal, more space is made available to potentially save yet another life. A 2-for-1 deal!
#3 FOSTERING LEADS TO MORE PERMANENT PLACEMENTS. While in foster care, a rescue has ample opportunity to learn more about each pet’s specific traits and quirks, thus making placement in a permanent forever home more successful. In a home environment, a foster pet can de-stress and show their “true colors” once comfortable. Animal behavior can be incredibly challenging to assess in a shelter or kennel environment, with so many outside factors playing a role. Often we don’t know a pet’s true nature or “personality” until they’ve been in foster care with us for a few weeks. This insider knowledge makes finding the perfect match much easier, and leads to more successful placements into forever homes.
#4 FOSTER FAILS ARE THE BEST KIND OF FAILURE. Fostering can provide a path to find your next forever pet. I never thought of myself as a Chihuahua person, but when our foster dog Elvis came into our lives, we couldn’t let him go and decided to adopt the little long-haired beast. Fostering allows you to “test the waters” so to speak with different pets, helping you find the best match for your lifestyle. In the process, you may find that you not only open your home, but also your hearts, to an unexpected pet guest.
#5 PET FOSTERING CAN BE TAX DEDUCTIBLE. Not only are you saving a live, but you can save money doing it. Ask your tax professional about how to write off your foster care expenses.
Save a life. FOSTER!