Halfway to Home: Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming an Adoptive/Foster Pet Parent

Over the past six months, the Creatures Division has taken you on a journey; a journey that we hope educated you on fostering and adopting the millions of cats and dogs who would love nothing more than to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning in a loving fur-ever home. We talked about a lot with you, from the basics of why fostering and adopting is so important, to the beautiful four-legged creatures that are so often (unfortunately) left behind. We've discussed older pets who deserve to spend the ends of their lives with a loving family, as well as trying to answer the basic question of, “how did the pet overpopulation epidemic get so out of control?”

If this campaign has inspired you to learn more about fostering and/or adopting a pet, well, that’s great to hear! But please don’t forget how much of a responsibility owning or fostering an animal really is! 

Here are some quick things to really think about and discuss before making a final decision to take in one of these loving animals!

  • How much care, socialization, and/or training will this animal require?

Both young and old pets need a lot of care and attention. You always need to make sure they are spayed or neutered, and older pets may need more vet appointments. According to Vetstreet, if they spent a lot of time alone in the past, they might need to be taught how to socialize properly, and might even need some basic training. Also, you may have to potty-train a puppy.

  • Are you (and everybody in the household) prepared to treat this animal like a family member?

If you are living with a spouse, roommate(s) or your parents, you need to make sure that everybody is on board when you decide to foster or adopt a pet. Is everybody willing to love and take care of this animal? Have you taught any younger children how to properly treat him/her? Will everybody take him/her out if they need, feed the animal if you’re going to be late, or rub his/her belly when he/she is relaxing on the couch? If somebody in your family, or household is really against your decision to foster or adopt, it might not be the right time. Your newest addition will sense the resentment and it won’t be good for them and your household. Another question to ask yourself, as stated by Positively.com (as sad as this is), is: do you feel 100 percent confident that you can leave your newest family member in the care of your family without worrying that they might be hurt or neglected?

  • If you already have a pet (you know them best), how do you think they will get along with a new fur-brother or -sister?

Some breeds of both cats and dogs are friendly, love being around other animals and will welcome a sibling with open paws, but for others…not so much. As mentioned by Vetstreet, some breeds are more prone to be hostile towards other animals, and even though they might grow to love and accept them over time, the last thing you want to do is alienate an animal for whom you share mutual adoration. If you do already have pets, it might be helpful to look in advance into how your pet gets along with other animals and then act accordingly. You don’t want to upset your loyal fur companion or disturb the peacefulness of your household.

  • Can you afford to care for an (additional) animal at this time?

Whether you are fostering or adopting, there will be out-of-pocket expenses for you. Healthy food, litter and good vet care do not come cheap. You will also need to buy little, but important, things along the way—collars, a comfortable bed—before you take the plunge. As quoted by Vetstreet, make sure that everybody involved is 100 percent understanding of how much money taking great care of a foster or adopted animal will cost.

  • Are you truly ready to take on this responsibility?

If you decide to foster an animal, it can be for a few weeks or even months, and if you decide to adopt, you are bringing that animal into your forever home. Are you ready for that responsibility? Do you truly have the time to care for them the way they deserve? If you just want a cat or dog because they are cute and cuddly, but the idea of cleaning up after them and consistently tending to their needs seems to be too much, it might not be the right time for you to foster or adopt an animal. Foster animals often need more time with their “parents” than adopted animals they usually need more help socializing and adjusting, according to the Pet Blog Lady. Dogs, especially, are loving companions; they want to spend time with you. Animals can get bored just like humans, so if you travel a lot for work or are a social butterfly and always out, fostering or adopting now might not be best. Many pets get abandoned due to relocating, relationships starting and ending, new children coming into the family and financial concerns. According to the SPCA, you need to be sure that changes in any aspect of your life won’t affect your ability or desire to foster and/or take care of an adopted animal.

  • If you do decide to foster, will you be able to say good-bye?

If you decide to foster an animal, the day might come that you have to let your foster fur-baby go to its new adoptive home. It’s VERY easy to get attached to adorable, loving animals; there’s even a name for foster parents who wind up adopting their foster pets: “foster failures." According to Vetstreet, you need to ask yourself: "if another family decides to adopt your foster baby, will it truly break your heart to see them go?

We really hope you guys have enjoyed our Halfway to Home foster and adopt campaign! Don’t worry; just because this campaign is ending (for now!), helping our fur-ever-home-needing fur friends is very near and dear to our hearts, so this isn’t the last you’ll hear from us on this subject! 

One last time before the new year…if you have a foster baby or a senior pet that you love with all your heart, share them with us on social media with #FosterFriday, #ISF and #SeniorSunday, #ISF.

Wishing you all peace and love in the new year!









Photos Courtesy of Michelle Maritz and Marina Passos

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