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Give a dog a second life Kate Davies | Sat, Mar 10 2012 12:00 PM

Some people can be hesitant when it comes to adopting a new pet. Having a new animal in the home is a big commitment, not only one of time and money; it's a commitment to the animal for its lifetime. This is why fostering an animal is such a wonderful idea for people who are a little shy about making a lifetime commitment.

Many rescues here in San Diego are completely reliant on foster homes to care for dogs in their program whilst searching for their forever homes. Taking an animal from a shelter environment and placing him or her into a family home is infinitely preferable to putting him or her into a boarding facility. Although the boarding facilities are less stressful for the animals than the shelter may have been, the animals invariably need more attention and personal care than a boarding facility can provide.

Most rescues pay for the medical care of the animals in their program and, in some cases, will pay for the food as well. They will have someone available to help the foster parents with questions and concerns, and are very supportive of their volunteers. Good volunteers are the backbone of any good rescue, and are completely invaluable.

It can be very difficult to get a good idea of the personality of an animal in a shelter environment as the shelter can be a stressful place for them.

Once in a foster home however, the rescuer is able to get a better impression of the animal, including any special needs he or she may have, and therefore get a better idea of what kind of home the animal would thrive best in.

Some animals do best as the only pet whereas others bloom in the company of other pets. Some animals love to be around children whilst others prefer the company of adults only.

Foster parents can provide the guidance, love and attention that the animal couldn’t get in a boarding facility. Many foster parents also do some basic behavioral training with the animal, which increases his or her chances of finding a wonderful forever home.

If you are not sure about making the lifetime commitment to a new pet, but would love the companionship, consider contacting a local rescue organization and becoming a foster parent. You would be giving the invaluable gifts of life and love to a shelter pet, and helping a rescue organization give aid to more animals in need.

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