Maybe you’re interested in adopting a pet — after all, pets provide companionship and positive mental health benefits for their caretakers — but can’t necessarily make the long-term commitment. There is another way: fostering.
When animal shelters fill up, foster volunteers can create extra space by opening their home as a temporary home for pets waiting for a long-term adoption. It can be a life-saving act; taking in a foster saves that pet plus frees up space for another animal to stay in the shelters. And as the world emerges from COVID, shelters are seeing an increase in owners surrendering pets. That’s why Greater Good Charities started its “Go Out and Foster” campaign to encourage people — and especially to encourage those who think they don’t have what it takes to foster — to consider the possibility.
“There’s a pet for every situation,” says Noah Horton, COO and spokesperson for Greater Good Charities. “If you’re work-from-home, immobile, retired, work in an office — you’re providing a service. Fostering is a great way to help an animal without the adoption commitment.”
The “Go Out and Foster” program pairs foster volunteers with shelters around the country who are in need. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Greater Good Charities launched a “Stay Home and Foster” campaign, encouraging those who found themselves newly isolated, working from home, looking to help out their community to look into taking in a shelter pet. And now, as the world emerges from the worst of the pandemic, many shelters are seeing a population crisis and dealing with staffing shortages, sometimes simultaneously — making fostering now a more crucial service than ever.
- Learn more about Greater Good Charities’ “Go Out and Foster” campaign and fostering opportunities in your area here.
“We feel like we’ve gone back in time with the overpopulation crisis; we haven’t seen a situation like this for more than ten years,” Horton says. “We’re trying to educate people with urgency of situation and encourage people to take home foster pets. There are lots of different options: short-term, long-term, different species, breeds, ages, medical needs, sizes.”
Through the national effort, which is undertaken in partnership with NBCUniversal Local’s Clear The Shelters campaign, Greater Good Charities and shelters across the country want to emphasize that there are fostering options that can suit most lifestyles.
“Another myth I would dispel is that it’s too much of a commitment. Shelters will provide you with training, resources — food, litter pan — there are short-term fosters and long-term — any amount of time is life-saving,” Horton says. “And I guarantee if you’re never done it before it’ll change your life.”
So, how does “Go Out and Foster” work?
- “Go Out and Foster” makes it easy for people to help by connecting potential pet foster parents with animal shelters in their local communities.
- “Go Out and Foster” provides a universal national form where those interested in fostering a pet can easily register to help. GreaterGood.org then connects them with one of the thousands of animal shelters across the U.S.
- Upon registration, potential fosters select the animal welfare organization they would like to assist and are matched if there is a foster pet available at that shelter.