As a college student who loves animals, I know firsthand how hard it is to live without your family pets while away at school. Most college students understand that adopting an animal is out of the question– you don’t know what you will be doing for the next few years, and you aren’t financially stable yet. Yet, most students have not heard of the ability to foster a pet – the sweet spot between having your own pet and not having to worry about providing for him/her financially. Read on to learn more about fostering animals– it might be the perfect opportunity for you to fulfill your longing for your family pets!
1. What exactly is fostering?
Most animal rescues (and some town shelters) have a foster program. When fostering an animal, you provide the living arrangements, daily exercise and love for him/her, and the rescue organization provides all training and veterinary costs, as well as any food or toys as they are donated to the rescue. The animal then lives with you for however long the rescue deems appropriate– eventually, though, the animal will be placed up for adoption and adopted out into a forever home.
2. Are there different types of fosters?
Yes! You can be a short-term or long-term foster. Short-term fosters usually only have the animals until they can be properly evaluated and placed into a long-term foster home. This can range anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Long-term fosters, on the other hand, agree to keep the animal until a forever home is found.
3. Why is fostering ideal for college students?
Fostering an animal is perfect for college students who live in pet-friendly housing. Because fostering is temporary, and because the rescue pays for all vet and training expenses, students don’t have to worry about the long-term commitment and financial strain that comes with adopting a pet. However, you will truly experience the daily commitments that come along with having a pet, like giving him/her daily exercise, consistent training, and playtime.
4. Why might fostering not be the right fit?
Although fostering sounds great, you truly do have to think it through before rushing into it. Are you away from campus for long periods of time and on weekends? Do you want to go on vacation for spring and winter breaks? Is your daily schedule erratic, and would it include time to give your foster animal the attention and exercise he/she needs? Do you have roommates who would not be OK with an animal in the house? All of these are important considerations, and must be taken into account before deciding if fostering is right for you.
5. Why is it so important to have fosters?
Even though fostering might make you happier, it really does help make the lives of animals better, too. Animals brought into rescue usually come from neglectful situations, or were sitting in shelters for months with little human contact and no interest. Some were likely close to being euthanized because of lack of space, their age, or even just because no one was interested in them. By opening your home to a foster animal, you are quite literally saving their life.
6. What can you expect when you foster?
Fostering a cat or a dog might be very different than any other experience you have ever had. Although you are taking an animal into your home and loving it as if it is your own, you ultimately have to be prepared to let him/her go– so they can be adopted into their forever home. Additionally, the animals you foster might have challenges to overcome, such as medical issues, fearfulness of men or other animals, anxiety, stress from living in a kennel, or simply a lack of training. Because of this, the animals may need extra care and time dedicated to them, and you will need to learn to read their body language and behavior.
7. Is fostering an animal right for you?
Fostering can be a very emotional and very challenging experience. However, it will leave you with a sense of fulfillment unlike anything else. You are the only one who can decide if fostering is right for you.
Do you want to foster a pet in college or do you have any questions about fostering? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image Sources: Instagram.com/puppytrip
Kim Meneo is a student at Connecticut College studying English and environmental science. In her free time, she volunteers at a local equine rescue and produces freelance articles for several companies. During the summer, she can usually be found relaxing on the beach with a good book. Any questions, concerns, or general inquiries can be emailed to her at email@example.com