Home > Animal Rescue, Dog Park, Pet Adoption, Pet Topics > I could never foster a dog or cat…

I could never foster a dog or cat…


Mattie is a beautiful bi-black Sheltie/Eskie, and she just loves to be the princess. She loves playtime in the yard and has quite a few favorite stuffies that she carries outside even to go potty. Mattie is a very affectionate little girl.
And, Mattie has passed the Canine Good Citizen test!
Mattie is 7 years old and will need someone who can feed her on scheduled times and take her for walks.
She is available for adoption through Minnesota Sheltie Rescue
http://www.mnsheltierescue.org/

Yesterday I took the dogs to the dog park for a long walk. It’s been the first day that it’s been cool enough to take them for any length of time. As we were walking, we ran into a woman we ad seen a few times before and we stopped to chat. Towards the end of the conversation, she said “You foster all these dogs right?” I laughed. “No.” I said, “but they were all fosters at one time.” We chuckled for a second and then she said, “I could never foster.”
I couldn’t help but feel sad. I hear that one a lot along with:

  • I could never foster because I would fall in love and keep the dog.
  • I could never foster it would be too much work.
  • I could never foster and then give them up.

I used to hear similar things from friends and acquaintances when I used to volunteer at an animal shelter:

  • I could never do that because I would be sad.
  • I could never do that because it would break my heart.
  • I could never do that because it would be too hard to leave them there.

Maybe it’s true. I’m sure not everyone can foster, nor can everyone can volunteer at an animal shelter. But, these aren’t the only things that rescues and animal shelters do.

Are you good at organizing events? Help a rescue or shelter to plan their annual fundraiser or volunteer recognition event.

Are you good with talking to people? Offer to make calls to newly adopted pet parents to follow up on progress or offer to go to pet adoption events and share more about your shelter or rescue with people.

Great at writing? Rescues and shelters need help rewriting their informational brochures and packets all of the time. They could use your help.

Great at taking pictures? Offer to take pictures of their available dogs and cats. We now know that good pictures, pictures that show a dog or cat’s personality, makes all the difference in how quickly they get adopted.

Can’t commit too much time? Offer to donate supplies or money. If there is one thing both of these organizations need it’s money. I know it’s not sexy or quite as personally rewarding as “doing” something, but it is the one thing you CAN do that will absolutely make a difference in the life of one dog or one cat. Rescues often pull these animals from kill-shelters. By donating money, you are enabling them to save one more dog or one more cat.

Maybe you are considering fostering and just can’t quite get up the nerve to try. Ask a rescue if you can speak with some of their foster parents about what they do and some of the things to expect. Ask a friend who fosters. Look up one of the many online blogs that shares their fostering experiences.

Fostering can be so very rewarding. Without foster homes, rescue pets would have no chance.

To those of you who have already fostered or continue to foster – Thank you. You are truly the unsung heroes of animal rescue.

You are the ones who say I CAN. 

Everyday Heroes: Foster Families – StubbyDog pays tribute to foster families.

  1. July 19, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    Great post, Mel. This should be published in every shelter and rescue newsletter.

    Besides, none of the things worth doing in this life are easy. And no one ever said on their death bed that the most fulfilling thing they ever did was watch sitcom reruns on television.

    • Mel
      July 19, 2012 at 10:22 PM

      Wow. Thanks Pamela. How funny that I should write this and then discover you are picking up your new foster soon.

      I love what you said about being on their death bed. I completely agree.

  2. July 19, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Nothing worthwhile in life is ever totally easy or without some challenges, but generally all give us the opportunity to feel we are part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

    • Mel
      July 19, 2012 at 10:23 PM

      Amen Carrie. I like being a part of the solution, don’t you. 🙂

  3. July 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    I’m one of the ones who fosters. And like you, I hear “I could never” way too often. I have to say, it bothers me sometimes; while people are worrying about their little ol’ feelings hurting – dogs (and cats and bunnies…) are dying or languishing in the metal cages of shelters.
    It would be nice if more people would just step up – and do something.

    • Mel
      July 19, 2012 at 10:22 PM

      Great point Kim. I would rather help where I can than do nothing. I know fostering is so needed. When I can again I will. It’s such a rewarding experience.

  4. jackiebouchard
    July 19, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I’m hoping to foster at some point. At the moment I don’t have enough time, but hopefully some day soon. My hubby is a huge dog lover, so I think this would be a fun thing for him to help with some day when we are retired and have more time to spend on the pups. For now though, I do volunteer at a shelter, and sometimes hear the “oh that would be hard – I’d want to bring them all home.”

    • Mel
      July 19, 2012 at 10:21 PM

      That’s awesome you volunteer at your shelter Jackie. I did so for 8 1/2 years and miss it. I used to hear that very same thing all of the time. Funny. I didn’t want to bring all of them home, but I did get attached and spoil quite a few. 🙂

  5. Jan
    July 19, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I could never foster because I tried it twice and now i have four dogs in their forever home. This is one more than the city suggests so I try to maintain a low profile.

    Your suggestions are great.

    • Mel
      July 19, 2012 at 10:19 PM

      LOL! I know the problem Jan. I have fostered 5 and kept 3. I think the odds are not in my favor when it comes to giving them up. 🙂

  6. July 19, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    People don’t give themselves enough credit. There are about a million things I said I could never do. I think before I do anything for the first time I probably say I can’t. But then I give it a shot and what do you know, I can!

    Fostering is something I’ve always wanted to do but never felt I had the time/space etc etc. Perhaps it’s something I need to start thinking about more seriously now that one of those issues has been solved.

  7. July 19, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Love this post. It’s so true that not everyone is fit to foster. Heck, my first attempt failed. I’m actually writing about Ira and our failed foster attempt for my Blog the Change entry. Despite that, however, there are so many other areas that rescue organizations and shelters need assistance. That is why we’re as involved with the Boston rescue in our area; without the space to foster, we try to help out in other ways. All we can hope is that people don’t give up on helping organizations simply because they can’t or won’t foster, and find other, more manageable ways to help.

    • Mel
      July 19, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      Sarah – That is so funny. I have been a failed foster mom 3 times and successful twice. But, I admit that I would take back Jasper’s sister in a heartbeat if given the chance. I love your recommendation to find other ways to help. Exactly!

      I look forward to reading your post.

  8. Jen
    July 19, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Great post Mel and a topic that has been on my mind a lot. I am one of the ones who have said, I can’t foster for various reasons. However, lately I have been trying to find ways to help out rescue organizations and shelters. I learned my options through bloggers who are doing some of these things, don’t know why I couldn’t of thought of it on my own. Last week my son and I took a box full of treats to a local shelter. The volunteers were so grateful, it warmed my heart. This weekend I am going to attempt to go to a rescue event at a local store and take some pictures for a friend who is taking part with her Pitbull rescue organization. I have found that it is difficult to commit myself to certain areas of helping due to everything else that is going on in life, but I am trying to find a balance. I have the resources and I need to use them!

    • Mel
      July 19, 2012 at 10:18 PM

      I love what you are doing Jen. I can’t foster anymore either. Maximum capacity, but I am helping with home visits and lost dogs and may be helping in other capacities soon. I will foster again someday, but until then I am doing what I can to help. Just like you. I hope you’ll share some of those great photos when you are done. 🙂

  9. July 19, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Your pack is very lucky to have you 😀

    • Mel
      July 19, 2012 at 10:16 PM

      Thank you. I feel lucky to have them too.

  10. July 21, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Thanks for this great list. I can’t foster for another reason but this reminds me that there is still a lot I CAN do.

  11. July 27, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Such a good message… I love when people stop thinking about what they can’t do and start trying to figure out what they can do. There are so many ways to help – honestly, there is something for everyone.

  1. July 23, 2012 at 12:57 AM
  2. December 2, 2014 at 8:27 AM

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