How To Foster An Animal During The Pandemic


Feb. 11 2021, Published 3:00 a.m. ET

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A trend rising during the pandemic has been adoptions and fostering of pets from animal shelters. There are many reasons for this, including companionship – often especially for families with kids and people living solo – and mental health.

With nearly six and a half million animals wind up in shelters each year in the United States, however, there are more reasons than ever to consider bringing home a foster pet as the pandemic continues to rage.

Why Foster A Pet During the Pandemic?

A variety of reasons exist to bring home a foster pet right now. Some of the most common are things you’ve thought of like giving your kids a pal to play with while school stays at home or giving yourself an excuse to get outside more. Here are some other reasons to consider fostering a pet right now.

  1. Animal shelters cannot keep full staff capacity right now, so animals are not able to receive the full care they need.
  2. Foster pets desperately need personalized attention. Many come from poor living situations, living on the streets, or have been abandoned by families unable or unwilling to care for them. That personal attention could change their lives, possibly even saving their lives.
  3. Fostering is a great first step for families unsure if they’re ready for adoption of a pet. Fostering is a great “trial run” for families with kids, singles living on their own, and couples unsure of what kind of pet would be ideal for their homes.
  4. Pets help give us a schedule and routine, something sorely lacking during the pandemic.
  5. Better health for both animals and humans comes with caring for pets. Studies have shown that pet caregivers have lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, higher “happy” hormone levels, better immunity, lessened depression, and more.
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How To Bring A Foster Pet Home

If you’re convinced that fostering a pet right now is the way to go for you and your family/housemates, you can use this guide for finding a shelter, fostering, and caring for your new companion animal(s).

  1. Find an animal shelter or program near you by conducting a simple Google search or looking on the ASPCA site. There are approximately 14,000 shelters across the USA, so it’s nearly guaranteed you’ll find one within a reasonable distance from your home.
  2. See what animals the shelter near you is housing currently.
  3. Determine the type of animal you can foster at this time: one dog or two cats – whatever that number and species are.
  4. Review materials on the shelter website to know how to prepare your home for fostering an animal.
  5. Fill out a fostering application. Each shelter should have its own forms that you can access via their website. If you have any questions or aren’t sure how to answer a given question, call the shelter or email them for more information.
  6. While you wait on the application to be approved, prepare your home for fostering. Put away problematic items (chemicals, breakables, etc.), buy supplies such as food, a litter box, leash, or pet bed, and make space in whatever room you plan to house the pet.
  7. View the shelter’s website, reviewing the animals needing to be fostered. If there’s a particular animal that appeals to you, contact the shelter directly to inquire about fostering that animal.

Once your application is approved, the shelter will contact you and make arrangements with you for picking up the animal. They will let you know what to bring with you for the pickup, as well as their safety procedures during COVID to reduce and prevent direct contact as much as possible.

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By: Rita Pike

Rita Juanita Pike is the granddaughter of Jerrie Mock, the first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theater, podcasting, and novel writing. She now writes about travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves a very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

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