With all of the shelters becoming filled and more dogs waiting for homes, there's only so much space available for strays. One solution that helps with shelter overpopulation is fostering dogs in a home environment.
The Great CompromiseWhat makes fostering ideal is the fact that dogs are living in an environment that doesn't involve metal bars all of the time. They get the human affection that they don't get in a shelter. Shelter life isn't easy for a dog. It's ok for a temporary solution, but after a while, many dogs become overwhelmed and will start acting out as a result of being caged so long.
Foster families have the opportunity to have a dog in their house. There is no permanent commitment required. If the foster family is interested in having a dog long-term, this gives them the option of seeing how the foster adapts to their lifestyle.
Other benefits include:
- Giving the foster pet a calmer environment. Animals don't have to worry about being around a bunch of dogs barking constantly but rather a select few, if any at all.
- It teaches dog lovers about the differences in breeds. Every dog that enters a foster home, brings a different dynamic.
- The rewards of volunteering without leaving your home. You make a difference in a dog's life even if it is just for a few weeks. A dog can become adoptable, and more socialized as a result of its time as a foster.
- It's tax deductible. I first learned about this through my Twitter friend Nadine. Many times, people who work in animal rescue do so for the love of the animal. They really don't profit from it. Now, thanks to a landmark case, Van Dusen v. Commissioner, most fostering costs are tax deductible. However, if the costs over $250, one will need a letter from the 501c3 agency stating that the expenses have to be directly related and solely attributable to the rendition of services towards the benefits of the foster animal.
- It is very hard to remain detached from a foster animal. The bond between animal and human is very strong and it's hard for many to say goodbye when the time comes. Many fosters will wind up adopting one of the animals.
- Many cities and towns have a limit on how many animals a resident can have living in their home. One has to be careful to not exceed that limit.
- It takes a couple of weeks to truly understand the animals behavior. The first days are an adjustment phase and the days after will determine the true nature of the animal.
The Right DecisionWhile fostering a pet isn't the easiest job in the world, it is one of the most rewarding. It's not for everyone, but if you've been curious, it may be something to consider.
Let's Discuss!How do you feel about fostering an animal?
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