Future pet owners are often so focused on adoption, few consider becoming a foster home for animals in need. Adoption might be the end goal, but fostering rescues is a huge part of preparing pets for their new homes. Foster homes give animals the opportunity to work through behavioral issues and experience the life they’ve always wanted before they find their forever homes.
Rescue pets aren’t the only ones who benefit from foster homes, either. By opening your doors to a rescue pet, you’ll realize it was you who needed rescuing all along! Below are just some of the ways fostering can transform the mental health of you and the rescue pet you foster.
Mental health benefits for foster pet parents
When people choose to foster a rescue, their main focus is improving the animal’s quality of life. But what they soon discover is that fostering has unexpected benefits for humans, too. The following mental health benefits are common in households that have become a sanctuary for rescues:
- Broaden your social circle: Pups love to explore the great outdoors, and they want you to come with! Dogs need daily walks and trips to the park where you’re likely to meet other pet parents along the way. Rescue pups often come with behavioral quirks, so training classes are another great way to get out and meet people. If you have trouble putting yourself out there, a rescue dog is the perfect excuse to venture outside the house.
- Develop higher self-esteem: The idea of fostering a rescue might seem daunting. Rescue pets present a unique set of challenges, but watching a guarded animal break out of their shell will prove you can tackle anything. Foster pet parents make a positive impact in the world around them. You’re capable of more than what you might think!
- Cope with life changes: Life is full of changes—some less desirable than others. Having an adorable kitten or pup around can ease the stress that accompanies change like a divorce or loss of a loved one. If you’re experiencing a drastic life change, you and the rescue have something in common. They’re also going through a major transition, so it may help to know you’re both in this together. Humans and pets provide mutual companionship as you weather the tough times.
- Discover a sense of purpose: It’s nice to feel needed every once in a while. Rescue pets make an especially great fit for empty nesters and people who live alone. Foster rescues serve as a daily reminder that others are counting on you for food, shelter and love. You’ll start holding yourself to higher standards so the rescue can have the best experience possible.
Mental health benefits for foster pets
Every rescue has a troubled past. Emotional trauma lingers long after the animal has recovered from illness and injury. A foster home is exactly what rescues need in order to heal their minds and move forward. Here’s the amazing impact you could make on a rescue pet:
- Avoid the stress of shelters: Shelter life causes undue stress for rescue pets. Facilities are burdened by the overwhelming stray population, forcing animals to live in close quarters with each other. They’re cooped up most of the day and often surrounded by noisy, anxious roommates. Foster homes give rescue pets a stress-free environment that’s conducive for overcoming behavioral issues. Stress relief is a necessary step as rescue pets prepare for the adoption process.
- Adjust to domestic life: A lot of rescues have never lived in a real home. Acclimating strays to domestic life takes patience and happens gradually over a long period of time. Foster homes offer a chance for rescues to get used to living with humans and obeying house rules. They also learn that home is where all their needs are met. Foster pet parents put in the work to ensure the animal is ready for adoption.
- Receive undivided attention: Resources and staff are spread thin at rescue shelters because they have so many animals to take care of. Placing rescues in foster homes guarantees the undivided attention they all deserve. Foster pet parents are more equipped to provide ample play time, mental stimulation and training. There’s no better place to feel the love than in a foster home!
Fostering a rescue touches the lives of everyone involved. Humans and pets alike have something to gain from the experience that will make a lifelong impact on their mental health. Nothing’s more rewarding than watching a pet finally discover happiness. Once a rescue finds their forever home, you get to experience the same journey with more animals in need!