By Jeannette McQueen-Nobbs
Have you considered being an animal Foster Parent? This is a great way to help animal rescue associations save many animals lives. Animals that you foster parent are so grateful to be rescued. There are many rescue groups that you can find on Petfinder.com. They are listed under shelters and you can find an animal shelter that's in your area. When I searched through the animals on the Petfinder website they have ads placed asking people to foster parent animals and you can download an application form there to fill out and then apply to do this work. The rescue groups will make an appointment with you and come to visit you at your home. They will need to go through your home to make sure it is safe for the animal to come into.
Once you are approved you will be notified when a dog or cat is available for you to take care of. Make sure that the rescue group knows what size of dog is best for you and how many you can take in your home. They will arrange you getting the dog and what supplies you'll need to look after them. Each rescue has their own policies so make sure you're clear on them.
Most rescue dogs do not come from good circumstances and have emotional or behavioral concerns so you will need to be very patient with them. Keep the dog on a leash when you first take them out for a walk or to see the new home that they are in, as you don't know if they will run away. Take off the leash once they are inside your home. Slowly introduce them to your other pets so that you don't frighten him. You will have to watch him all the time for the first few days unless you have a pet crate to put them in. You can leave the pet crate door opened when he's not confined so he can go there to feel safe when he needs to.
The rescue will contact you to find out information about the dog or cat. If the dog has some issues that's okay as we can work on it. Just love him and train him so he will become a great dog. One day the rescue will contact you to arrange a meeting with a future adoptive family. Some dog foster parents may want to meet their foster dog's future adopters because they have become attached to the dog. The foster parent can answer questions about the animal better as they've taken care of them. It will be difficult to let the animal go to the new adopters home but there are so many other little dogs or cats that you can foster parent and help save their lives too. There are many animals out there that need a safe, warm place to stay until the rescue group can find them a permanent home with a loving family.