2. Fostering is hard work.
FALSE! Unless cuddling cute kittens is hard work for you. The truth is, fostering can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be. A friendly mom cat with four babies in your spare bedroom or bathroom is easy-peasy….mom cat does all the heavy lifting; you just supervise! A litter of bouncy kittens takes some time, but they are so much fun for you and the kids! Maybe nurturing and nursing are second-nature to you…bottle-feeding kittens or puppies could be right up your alley. And perhaps you are a retired empty-nester, with medical skills languishing in the hip pocket of your favorite “I’m RETIRED!“ jeans…a medical foster might be just what the doctor ordered! See? You decide on your own foster experience!
4. You have to buy all kinds of stuff for your fosters.
FALSE! Most rescue groups provide foster families with the basics for their fosters. Here at Furkids, for example, we supply pet carriers, crates, bedding, toys, food, leashes and/or a litter box to new fosters parents. Our foster families can come back to our shelters for more food, when necessary; or they can choose to provide their own, as a donation in-kind to the program. It’s all up to you!
5. You are stuck with all the medical expenses for your fosters.
FALSE! The rescue group generally covers medical expenses. At Furkids, we provide vetting, medical check-ups and alters at our shelters, at no expense to the foster families, and around their schedules. We have weekend appointments for medical visits, and late-afternoon drop-offs and pick-ups for spays and neuters.
6. If you go on vacation, you have to find someone to take care of your charges.
FALSE! Rescue groups love their foster families. We will find someone to “spell” you while you are away.
7. My resident dog/cat will never allow for a foster in the house.
Maybe TRUE, you are the expert on your current resident(s); but, surprisingly, often FALSE. Lots of foster families are pleasantly surprised to find that their current residents are curious, and even glad, to have fosters on board. While we would NEVER, EVER, ADVOCATE fosters in a home with an aggressive animal, we have great success in placing fosters IN SEPARATE QUARTERS with friendly household animals who are fully vaccinated. Once the fosters are vaccinated, it is beneficial for them to be exposed to friendly dogs and cats. And lots of people find that their residents “miss” the fosters when it is time for the to leave.
8. I have little kids. It will be good for them to have foster babies.
TRUE! FALSE! It WILL be good for them, IF they are able to understand that the fosters aren’t “toys”; and they need to be handled gently. Well-behaved children are GREAT foster-team members. The fosters gain confidence and become more adoptable. And the children learn compassion. BONUS POINTS! Your kids will probably grow up to be fantastic fosters, too!
9. I don’t want a houseful of bouncy kittens or puppies. We don’t have the energy for that, so we can’t foster.
FALSE! There are foster opportunities all across the energy spectrum. We are always looking for quiet homes for our medical fosters. They might need a little TLC, but lots of them just need peace and quiet. And we have senior animals requiring nothing more than a little love to be completely content.
10. Something might go wrong while I am fostering, and I won’t know what to do.
FALSE! At Furkids, a current foster parent will do a home visit for you. S/he will answer all of your questions, give you emergency contact info, and share foster tips and insight. You will ALWAYS have the support you need. That is why our foster team is more than 120 households strong, and growing!
11. HOME VISIT? I could never pass an inspection! What if they break out the white gloves?
FALSE! We are required by law to have a home study on every foster household, but we are not evaluating your housekeeping, or organizational skills. We ARE looking for a safe space for the fosters, indoors and climate-controlled. You need to have fresh water, clean litter, and adequate food for them. We want to meet you, and feel good about your ability to love your charges. We want to introduce ourselves, as well; so you know the faces behind the foster emails. Home visits are designed to be comforting, not intimidating. And the person conducting yours has been through one, too!
12. I know I will get attached to my fosters. I will never be able to let them go.
TRUE! FALSE! TRUE! FALSE! Oh, how rescue groups LOVE “Failed Foster”! Most of us have done that now and again…fallen in love with a foster; and thanked the gods of homeless animals for sending us such perfection! But fostering feels “different” from adopting. One foster mom describes it this way…”I see myself as the kindly Boarding School Matron. My job is to keep the children safe, nourish them, and teach them manners; then I send them off into the Big World.” Perfect!
Nancy Pihera, Co-Coordinator
Furkids Foster Team