Whether you don’t want to commit to 10+ years of ‘parenthood’ or simply can’t face the idea of toilet training a puppy or kitten, fostering is an amazingly rewarding alternative. Basically, you’ll get all the benefits of owning a pet with none of the long-term responsibility.
Need some inspiration? Here’s, six reasons to contact your local animal shelter and become (fur baby) foster parent.
Save a crossbreed
With their loveable eyes and gleaming coats, Golden Retrievers are hands down adorable. The same goes for bumbling Labradoodles, impossibly fluffy Chow Chows and smiley English Staffies. But while pedigree pups are endearing, there’s definitely something to be said for their crossbreed counterparts. Mutts are far more likely to end up on the streets, or be abandoned by their owners. The good news is they’re just as loveable. Not to mention smarter and easier to train.
Owning a pet is no cheap commitment, with the latest stats from the NZ Companion Animal Council revealing that the average pet owner spends around $1,686 NZD a year on their furry friend. From vet care to daily food, the costs can quickly add up. With fostering most organisations fix you up with everything you need to give your temporary pet a comfortable and loving home.
Love and companionship
From easing depression to alleviating stress, pets go hand in hand with an array of emotional benefits. When you foster you’ll get to reap all the love and companionship that comes with owning a pet, without the lifelong commitment.
Join a community
From a social perspective fostering a pet is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in a local community of fellow animal lovers. For example, some animal shelters often throw BBQs to thank their volunteers. You can also get involved in fundraising campaigns or volunteer your time as a secretary, foster coordinator or animal attendant.
Take your pick of animals
We’ve focussed a lot on dogs but the reality is that there are opportunities to foster all kinds of animals. From kittens and birds to horses and other farm animals, there are so many ways you can contribute to the fostering movement.
A sense of accomplishment
Just like raising kids, fostering an animal can give you an incredible sense of accomplishment. Often your role will be to get your foster pet ready for its ‘forever’ home. This means teaching it basic manners, getting to know its personality, building trust and of course, plenty of snuggles. This ‘parenting’ process can be amazingly rewarding and is a great way to bring a sense of fulfilment to post-retiree life.
Want to know more about fostering? The SPCA has a wealth of information on becoming a (fur baby) foster parent