Foster a lonely pet for the holidays!

There are times in life where you may not be in a position to permanently adopt a dog or cat. And that’s okay! Adoption isn’t for everyone, and sometimes the situation (a new home, a new baby, tight budgets, etc.) just make keeping a new dog or cat untenable for the long-term. But we also know many people love having pets around the home, bringing an extra level of love and joy to the family. So if you aren’t in a place to adopt, you may still be able to offer your home as a temporary foster host!

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During the holidays, especially, a lot of extra strain and stress is placed on pet adoption agencies or shelters. They get an influx of animals that might’ve been given as gifts and then abandoned. Or volunteers and usual pet foster parents are traveling, visiting family or taking vacations–and they simply don’t have as much availability as they do the rest of the year. This is your chance to step into the gap and ensure those lonely pets are taken care of this holiday season.

How do you go about doing this? Check out this handy foster search tool create by PetFinder.com. Participating foster shelters or rescue programs are listed by state and city for your convenience.

Then, once you’ve found a local shelter or foster program that has pets looking for a temporary home, get in touch and express your interest. They’ll be able to help match you with adoptable dogs or cats and figure out the best foster care schedule for you.

Finally, it’s a good idea to prep your home and family for the foster pet’s arrival. Maybe you already have animals in your home, or you have small kids and are worried about how the foster animal will react to them. For your own pets, ensure they’re up-to-date on their vaccinations and aren’t suffering from any major health issues. For the first few days, give the foster pet a special space of their own so they can get used to the new environment a little bit at a time. Introduce the foster animal to your family one person at a time, initially, so they aren’t overwhelmed by a crowd.

Oh, and if the foster pet arrives with a name already provided by the shelter or rescue program, be sure to keep using that same name! Re-naming the animal (unless you end up adopting it yourself) tends to confuse them and hamper potential training efforts, especially if they eventually go back to the rescue program and have then had several names used for them.

Have you ever been a foster parent or family for a dog or cat? What was the experience like? Would you do so again during the holiday season?

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