Flexibility: High

Social Engagement: Low

What’s What: If you love animals and are able to house a cat or dog awaiting a  “forever home,” fostering may be for you.

Amava Take: If you have some time to foster a dog or cat, you can literally save a life. This is a wonderful, flexible way to do something to help an animal that might otherwise be cooped up in a shelter (or even euthanized). Fostering is also a great way to enjoy the benefits of having a dog or cat without the long-term commitment. Or, if you’re not sure if you want to get a pet, or not sure what breed is right for you, fostering is a good way to figure it out. Go in with your eyes open – many people fall in love with an animal and end up adopting one of the first dogs or cats they foster! To paraphrase the famous commercial: you can buy dog food or cat treats. But the satisfaction of knowing you have saved a dog or cat’s life–priceless!

From the Front Lines:

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these jobs?

Animal lovers who have time and a suitable home to take care of a foster pet.

Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

Cat or dog-proof your house (and yard if necessary) before you bring an animal home. Make sure everyone living in your house is ok with sharing their home with a foster dog/cat.

What’s a typical daily schedule like?

This can vary depending on the specific animal. The dog or cat you foster will typically love playing and getting attention, so the more time you have to devote to the animal the better. But even if you work full-time, animals would rather be in your home during the day than in a shelter.

From the Trenches:

What’s the most satisfying part of the job?

Knowing that you saved a dog’s or cat’s life.

How would you describe the hard parts?

Saying goodbye to a dog or cat you’ve fostered once they’ve been adopted can be tough. Also, rescue animals can have behavior or socialization issues.

What’s the most memorable foster experience you’ve had?

Having a cat give birth to five kittens while fostering her.

Special Requirements: Shelters and animal rescue organizations generally have vetting procedures that require an application and references.

Finding a Position: Go to the Humane Society to find a local animal shelter. Most shelters are locally run so you can also search online for one in your area. The ASPCA can point you in the direction of fostering rescue pets and this article explains the pros and cons. If you are interested in fostering a certain dog breed, many rescue organizations specialize, like this organization specializing in fostering greyhounds.