Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor
Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of coming in contact with many dogs and cats through the foster programs my family has been involved with. I’ve met a variety of puppies, a very pregnant mother, two kittens that were previously living in a U-haul and a lot of dogs who for whatever reason, simply did not have a home.
I’ve met these amazing animals through the foster programs with a local shelter. Fostering animals essentially means that you let them live in your home and you take care of them while they are waiting to be adopted by a forever family. This keeps the dogs out of the shelters, and also creates space inside the animal shelter for other animals.
The job of a foster home is generally to socialize the animal so that they are more comfortable with people and human touch before they enter into their ‘forever homes’. So basically that means your job in their life is to play with them and love them.
Foster families are provided with food, toys, bedding, medical care, collars and leashes for animals. They have to bring their animals in once a week for adoptions, and then pick them back up if they do not get adopted.
While it was a bit sad when animals got adopted because they were no longer in my life, I was also happy that they had a new home. Then, my home could be open for other animals in the future.
Fostering animals is a nice thing to do for some animals who are in tough situations that they cannot control. 1.5 million shelter animals are put down each year in America.
While that number continues to go down, there is still a lot that people can do to help these animals stay alive. There are many shelters which do euthanize animals, and many who do not. Support shelters that care about their animals enough to keep them from being put down. “No kill shelters” ensure those animals won’t be euthanized just because they haven’t found their forever home yet.
People can still foster dogs while they have other animals as well. Our family’s dogs get along well with many of the animals, and it helps the foster dogs and cats to be able to socialize with other dogs and cats so that they can get more comfortably if their eventual owners have other animals too.
Working with shelter dogs is a meaningful experience, and it gives a nice solace to their lives as they await finding permanent homes. It is easy, and many materials are paid for by the shelter. It is a truly meaningful and worthwhile experience I would recommend taking part in.
While most of us can’t have pets on campus, after you graduate or as you’re home for different breaks, fostering a dog can be a great way to both help an animal and to be able to form a meaningful connection with an animal without necessarily having to commit to it for its entire life. If you cannot commit to fostering or adopting an animal, donating and volunteering can really help animals and these organizations.