Answers to Common Host Family Questions | Special seasonal sections

Animal shelters serve as temporary resting places for animals that are between houses. The purpose of shelters is to provide food and a safe environment for abandoned or lost animals until they can be reunited with their owners or adopted by new families.

The ASPCA reports that approximately 6.3 million pets enter U.S. shelters each year, with a nearly even split between dogs and cats. While the number of pets in shelters has been declining since 2011, many shelters simply cannot accommodate too many animals. In many cases, shelters rely on foster families for pets.

Pet fostering is the commitment of an individual to care for a pet in need in their private residence until the animal is placed in a new forever home. Often times, shelters ask adoptive parents to step in and foster puppies to provide early socialization and training to acclimate these young animals to life in foster homes.

Who pays the hosting costs?

The issue of funding for foster care depends on the organization you are working with. Most shelters or rescue organizations will cover at least some of the cost of supplies and medical care. However, this is not always the case. It is important that prospective foster parents understand the commitment required by the foster family before enrolling.

What are the benefits of foster care for those affected?

While there are many benefits for the pet, including a less stressful and calm environment, people also get something out of foster care. Foster families can bring love and affection to an animal in need. It can be rewarding to do something selfless and teach everyone in the house compassion. Since having a pet is a big responsibility, adopting a pet also serves as an introductory lesson for anyone considering becoming a permanent pet parent. When you adopt a pet, everyone in the household can see the daily chores that pet ownership entails.

How long is the reception period?

The ASPCA says time commitments for the promotion may vary. Sometimes it can be a matter of weeks or months, depending on the foster program and the animal’s situation.

What are common expectations?

A welcome program will explain their specific expectations. These can include training pets to urinate outdoors or in a litter box. Foster parents can be expected to teach a dog to rest in its crate or give it basic commands.

The Great Pet Care animal care resource says municipal shelters, nonprofit shelters, and nonprofit animal rescue groups typically have placement programs. Rescue groups tend to have more time and resources to provide temporary pet parents with more compatible animal matches.

Adopting a pet can be a rewarding and helpful experience for both pets and people.