friendly advice: fostering a pet during COVID-19

friendly advice: fostering a pet during COVID-19

By Hannah Carter

Our Friendly Advice series features interviews with local professionals, business owners, and pet lovers on a wide range of topics that keep us awake at night.
Is there any aspect of our society that COVID-19 hasn't upended? As pet lovers, we've been following the unintended fallout for animals – especially those without homes.

If you're devouring news like we are, you probably know that animal shelters are facing a severe shortage of volunteers to help feed, walk, bathe, and play with all the animals cooped up in their kennels.

As an alternative, shelters and sanctuaries are looking for people to foster their animals temporarily. Considering there have never been more people stuck at home – leaving only for the occasional grocery run or solitary exercise – the idea is actually a brilliant solution to feeling isolated and alone. 

Thinking you might like to foster? We asked Amanda Halle a friend and foster pet advocate living in the city, to share some insight into how you can prepare for fostering and make the most of the experience. 

  1. We love that fostering a pet helps both parties feel less alone. How can we prepare our apartments for bringing home a four-legged roommate?
Amanda: Here’s my ‘must-do’ list:
  • Remove anything that a pet could chew or potentially damage themselves by getting into.
  • Pick up rugs. You don't want accidents.
  • Make a space for your pet – either a crate with a blanket and toys or a dog bed (can be a blanket).
  • If you're not using a crate, and leave your foster alone, realize that they may get into trouble – I've had fosters chew the molding along my walls! Make sure the dog has chew toys, but also understand this may not be enough.
  1. What should we know about the emotions that dogs experience as they transition from shelter to home?
A: Most of the time you won't know what their past experience entailed, but they will most certainly be scared and anxious. Also, know that these emotions show up in different ways for different pets.
  1. How do I prep myself emotionally to take on a new companion – and potentially part with her in the near future?
A: Remind yourself that you're doing an incredible thing for an animal in desperate need. You’re playing a critical role – the world needs fosters like you.
  1. Let's talk about commitment for a sec. Is there a minimum foster period? 
A: Usually, it’s two weeks.

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