Are you afraid of commitment? Do you want variety in your life? Do you want to save a life? If you've ever wanted a pet, but are unsure if lifetime pet ownership is right for you, many area shelters and organizations offer the perfect solution: pet fostering. You can foster an animal for a temporary time and gain a friend in the process.

Pet foster parents provide short-term, safe, environments and care for animals until they are no longer able, or a permanent adoptive home is found. You can foster not only cats and dogs, but rabbits and other animals as well.
 
Pet fosters are desperately needed because shelters and humane societies can only rescue as many animals as facilities and staffing allow. Dozens of loving animals that would make fabulous pets are euthanized daily and more are turned away by shelters simply because, due to the animal overpopulation epidemic, they don’t have a place to stay. Fostering allows more of these friendly, furry friends to be saved. As a pet foster parent, you’ll be saving a life, while enhancing your own. 
 
Fostering also skirts dangers that shelters can pose for newborn animals whose immune systems are weak and susceptible to germs. These puppies and kittens are fostered until they’re old enough to be spayed or neutered, which lessens the chance that they’ll be euthanized or further contribute to pet overpopulation. Foster care is also beneficial to feral kittens or animals recovering from sickness or surgery – animals that could use individualized attention and recuperation time that a shelter can’t provide. Fostering also provides animals with socialization and training skills, which makes them very adoptable.
 
Veterinary care is paid by the fostering organization and sometimes other materials, such as food and litter, are also provided. Regardless, when fostering an animal, resources and support is at your disposal.
 
The time commitment for fostering varies from a few days or weeks to several months. If, in that time, a permanent home is not found, your foster animal can be placed in another foster home, or you can choose to keep it longer or adopt it - after going through the adoption application and screening process.
 
Each organization’s requirements for foster pet parents vary, however all participants must be willing to bring animals to adoption events and to welcome potential adopters into their homes. Sometimes organizations also require a training program.
 
Pet fostering offers unique benefits compared to buying or adopting. It gives you a chance to test your compatibility, your family’s compatibility and other pets’ compatibility with a potential pet. You will also learn about the pet's personality, so that it can matched with the perfect forever home – preventing the animal from being returned into the shelter system again. If you’re unsure of what kind of animal, or even what breed or qualities of a pet you are looking for, you can experience a variety of animals. Also, fostering is perfect for someone who cannot adopt a pet for its entire lifetime because of possible changing in housing, military status, education responsibilities, allergies, career or family circumstances.
 
Now is the time to foster a pet, as spring and summer is kitten season. Visit www.citykitties.org; www.phillypaws.org/Foster; or www.straycatblues.petfinder.org for more information. Those enlisted for military leave may be able to find a foster home for their pets at www.operationnoblefoster.org or www.netpets.org. 
 
Volunteering your time and home as a pet foster parent will surely lift your spirits, especially in these uncertain times. A small amount of your compassion can alter the entire life and outlook of a caring, loving animal that may have had an extremely rough life.