• Claire

Ever thought about fostering animals?

Updated: Nov 5, 2018

It's been Foster Care Fortnight™ for the last two weeks and there's been lots of press campaigns raising awareness for fostering children, what it's all about and how rewarding it can be. Foster Care Fortnight™ is The Fostering Network's annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives. It is also the UK's biggest foster carer recruitment campaign for children.

Fostering children in need is vitally important but fostering animals is rewarding too and there are so many animals from lots of different charities like Cats Protection and The Dogs Trust that need a loving home, many organisations have local branches you can go visit. A friend of mine does it, she's had cats and dogs and loves it. Here's her story;

"Three years ago we lost our beloved ‘Tangle’. She was a flat coated retriever and we’d had her since she was 8 weeks old. She joined our family just after my husband and I got married and lived very happily with us through two babies and four house moves. Unfortunately, we lost her at the grand age of 13. It took us a very long time to come to terms with her loss and couldn’t even think about getting another dog anytime soon. The boys missed her terribly as did Rich and I. Eventually, the pain got less and we enjoyed a bit of the freedom that comes from not having a pet, but we had a huge pet-shaped hole in our lives.

About a year after she crossed the bridge, we saw an appeal for kitten fosterers in our local area for the Cat’s Protection league. We thought that this might work for us as it would give us all the contact with a pet that we craved, with none of the long term commitment. And, of course, we’d be helping out these very cute little kittens. Not long after we received our first kitten, Eddie. He was a tiny black fella, about 12 weeks old. He was found as a feral kitten and needed to be placed in a home until he’d had all his vaccinations, health checks and until his forever home could be found.

The boys loved him, he was a real sweetie. Charlie will tell you that Eddie is still his favourite (I think it’s because it was his first). Eventually, Eddie found his forever home in Blandford and went to live with his new family. When his new owner came to collect him, Charlie stood in the corner and cried. We wondered whether we’d done the right thing by offering temporary homes and how it would effect the children. However, not long after we were asked to foster another kitten and all the fun began again and the sadness was forgotten. On the whole, we had kittens from anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. Our longest placement was three months, that was Bonnie, who had issues with her eye due to cat flu and needed a lot of trips to the vet. Just after Christmas, a lovely couple adopted her and she’s a brilliant pet.

In March this year, we saw a lady asking for foster homes for some of her dogs. She was moving from The North of the country to ‘down south’ and needed temporary homes for her dogs until she could find a house where she could keep them. Two little French Bulldogs caught my eye. We’d never had Frenchies before, but their faces were adorable. After much pleading with my husband, he agreed that we could help. After speaking at length to the lady she thought we’d be suitable fosterers and plans were made. Just before she was due to come down, she asked if we could also take a third pup, the brother of the other two. We couldn’t say no!

On April 2nd we received our delivery of 3 gorgeous 11 week old pups. It’s not been easy - at times it’s been like having nappiless triplets running around, but they are adorable. It’s given us a taster as to whether we’re ready to get another pup of our own when these are returned to their owner. (I think we are).

Everyone always asks us how we can do it, how we can say goodbye to the pets we foster. I won’t lie, it’s hard and some you get more of a connection to than others, but you know they’re all going to good homes where they will be loved by their new families. It’s the perfect solution for us - we get all the benefits of a pet without the long term commitment.

With the kittens, we can tell the Cat Protection if we’re on holiday or if we need a break. With these pups, the owner is still very involved and will come with me for walks or will have them for the day if we know we’re going to be out for a long time."

Such a touching story and you can see fostering animals really can change lives, in this case helping a family's hearts start mending after loosing a pet so precious to them.

This is what Rainbow Rescue say about fostering.

"Fostering is an extremely rewarding challenge and a great option if you want to spend time with animals without the permanent commitment. A Foster Carer offers love and temporary accommodation for dogs and cats in their own homes. People who foster animals from home don’t necessarily have huge houses and acres of land! What matters most is that they have the dedication, time, and commitment to improve the welfare of the animal in their care."

If you've been thinking about fostering there are lots of websites to go to for research to see if it's right for you and they all have a 'frequently asked questions' page to help answer some of your initial queries. Getting a pet can be daunting but fostering can give you a very good idea what the commitments are and help you determine if it's right for you. It's also some much needed help for these charities that are looking after animals that may have had an unfortunate start to life or need care in their latter years.

Go on....give it a go!!

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