How to Become a Volunteer Foster Pet Parent to a Shelter or Rescue Animalupdated 10/16/14

Tis the season to open up your heart and home! Are you looking to support your favorite local animal shelter or rescue but aren’t ready for the full commitment of pet ownership permanently? Well, not only can you volunteer your money or  time at your local shelter, but you can also become a foster parent.

Fostering a rescue pet can be a richly rewarding and wonderful experience for you and a deserving shelter animal. There are a large number of pets that need fostering, and animal shelters and rescues are in desperate need of people to open their hearts and homes temporarily to a needy animal.

Although you may not be able to keep the pet permanently, you are providing the best possible environment, along with plenty of love until the pet is placed in a forever home. Plus, you are alleviating some of the burden on overcrowded shelters. Fostering just one pet helps your community and makes a world of difference for that pet.

What is a pet foster parent? A pet foster parent takes care of a needy animal in their home for an agreed upon period of time. Foster care can involve administering medications for sick pets, feeding special foods to animals on strict medical diets, helping an animal to be more sociable with other animals or humans, or simply giving a homeless pet a break from the cramped cages, excessive barking, and smells at animal shelters.  Now that you have decided to take a big and fulfilling step to help out a furry friend by fostering, here are some ways to get started as a foster pet parent:

1. Temporary Housing. Remember that fostering a pet is temporary; you should be prepared for the day when their forever home is found. Make sure you discuss it with your kids and other family members so they know what to expect and to make sure your family is ready to be a foster family. With all this bonding time, you might even decide to make your furry foster friend a permanent honorary member of the family. As long as you are providing a loving and nurturing home, the animal shelter and rescue pet should happily oblige!

2. Call your local animal shelter or rescue. If you are interested in fostering a shelter animal, contact your local animal rescue or shelter. You can also search animal rescue organizations’ website and Facebook pages. Most of them will have foster programs.

3. Duration of Pet Stay. Decide how long you will be able to keep the pet. If it’s a puppy or kitten, it will probably only be for a few weeks until they are old enough to be adopted. If it’s an adult dog from a rescue group, it may take several months until a home is found. Please don’t overlook adult dogs when considering adopting or fostering; they are just as in need of a loving home.

5. Budget. Figure out your budget and how much you will be able to allot for food, maintenance and medical attention for the pet. And keep in mind–if you have love to give, and it’s only your budget that’s standing in the way–many rescue organizations and shelters will cover the cost of veterinary services, and in some cases, food for the duration of the pet’s stay. It is normally your responsibility to transport the pet to the vet and to any adoption events.

6. Suits your Lifestyle. At a local animal shelter or rescue organization, you will find dogs of all shapes, sizes, breeds, ages and temperaments. So, chose a foster a pet that fits your lifestyle. For instance, if you live in an apartment, you can request an older dog that is low energy or a dog recuperating from an illness or a cat. If you are an active family or have a house with a big yard, you can foster a pooch that needs plenty of exercise.

Don’t wait to give back, make a difference and become a foster parent today! Your heart and life will be enriched! You never know, your foster pet may even become a permanent family member.

How Can You Give Back To Worthy Rescues and Shelters Nationwide?

Participate in our Best Bully Sticks $1 Donation Program by shopping on and clicking to donate $1 at checkout. For every dollar you donate at checkout, we will donate a dollar with 100% of the proceeds going to rescues and shelters in need across the country. The money raised will help with outreach, basic animal necessities, and rescue programs. Donations raised monthly by you will be given to lucky rescues on an ongoing basis in the form of product and monetary donations.

Happy Holidays from Best Bully Sticks!