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Your stories of fostering pets, tips and more!



Fostering can be one of the most rewarding ways to help a pet in need. (Photo:

Last month we asked you to send us your stories about fostering pets. The e-mails flooded in. Some of you foster on a regular basis, like Kim S. who has fostered over 50 dogs and cats. Others of you have responded when shelters had animals in special need.

One story was about Sunshine, a kitten who was sick and put in isolation at the shelter. Dina and her daughter volunteer at the shelter and knew that Sunshine was usually very social, so they took her home for two weeks while she got well. “It was a wonderful experience and we’re considering fostering a lonely cat for the holidays,” Dina says.

Carol C. has some tips for those interested in fostering a pet. “I find that it takes about 7-10 days for adjustment with older dogs, and potty training almost always has to be re-taught. The way a new dog is introduced to the family seems to play a large part in how smooth the adjustment is, and I take the time to plan that out and execute it as closely as I can to my plan.”

Carol’s plan includes “preparation of the home environment (I have different zones in my house — from a puppy room to a housetraining area that is accident-proof, all the way to free access to the whole house, when earned) and the ability to change what isn’t working until something that does work is stumbled upon.” She also suggests that an aspiring foster parent take into account the pet’s exercise needs, dominance level, size and strength to make sure she or he can handle the pet in a positive way.

“I did a lot of reading and became involved as a volunteer at the shelter, with the training that provided, before I did my first foster,” she adds. (You can get more tips about fostering pets in the Petfinder library.)

Many of you commented that letting the foster pet go is the hardest part. Kim Z. says, “I take them knowing they will eventually leave, but knowing I have loved them for the time they were with me and they are now in the best homes possible makes it all worthwhile.”

Pat O. writes, “There are always tears as we release a foster into the arms of their newfound forever family, but they are tears of joy because we know that another precious dog has been saved and given the chance to be part of a loving family.”

Kathy L. sums it up nicely: “I have to remember that when one is adopted, we can take another one in who is waiting.” That means the shelter has room for one more.

Thanks to everyone who responded to our question.

Tell us: We get lots of Happy Tails from folks who named their pets Elvis. Do you have a pet named after a celebrity?

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More about fostering pets:

Blog: Pet Fostering 101: What is fostering a pet and how do I start?

Article: Eight Reasons You Can Foster a Pet — Even If You Think You Can’t

Article: Fostering a Pet: Frequently Asked Questions

Article: How to Prepare Your Home for a Foster Pet

How Do I Introduce my Foster Pet to My Current Pets?

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