Dog and cat fosters save the day

Foster homes for dogs and cats save pets' lives in a tangible way by freeing up space in shelters. Fostering animals provides other benefits, too.
By Denise LeBeau

Of fostering, Tiffany Deaton, adoption and foster coordinator for Best Friends Animal Society-Utah, says, "You can save one life adopting, but you can save hundreds of lives fostering - knowing that they all find perfect homes!"

Why foster a dog or cat?

Foster homes for dogs and cats are a lifesaving force within the animal welfare community. They not only free up kennel space in the rescue or shelter, they help ensure their charges will have better health. At the shelter, overcrowding is one of the biggest contributors to stress-induced illnesses, especially in youngsters and seniors. Foster homes are also the adoptable pet's best champion in finding a new home since fosters provide vital feedback to shelter staff about the animal's disposition, likes and dislikes, and energy level - paving the way for a better forever home match.

Foster homes are also imperative for bottle babies and nursing broods. A warm, loving environment is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to puppies and kittens, whether they are with their momma or are without their moms and yet to be weaned.

Couple with a Chihuahua dog they are fosteringSaving pets' lives one at a time

Lori and Virgil Martinez have been fostering in the Salt Lake area for over four years. Lori and her daughter were at the Valley Fair Mall where they encountered Best Friends-Utah (then called No More Homeless Pets in Utah) for the first time. They were on board to foster right away as their family had been lifelong animal lovers.

"Thirty years ago, my wife and I decided to adopt our first child - so we went to the Humane Society of Utah and saved a life," shares Virgil. They've been saving lives ever since. They really love fostering because not only are they able to save more lives, the support from Best Friends-Utah is great. "If we're going on vacation, they immediately have a place that can take the animal."

Right now, they are fostering Bob, an adult dog who would be wonderful for a family who has one member at home during the day. "Bob doesn't care about other dogs or going to the park; he likes to be with his people."

When asked why they like being so involved in foster care, the answer was quite simple: saving lives. "We can't save them all, but we can save the ones we have in our home, and we know they're going to go on to have wonderful lives, and we play an important part in that dog's journey." Virgil adds, "People love puppies, so we foster adult dogs, because once the puppies grow up there are some people that think they're not as cute and don't want them anymore. We encourage people to foster adults."

Foster families needed

As puppy and kitten season is still going strong, we need foster homes more than ever. If you would like to foster an animal in Utah, please click here for all you need to get started.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is thrilled to announce a new foster program. And you don't have to be a member to participate - anyone in the Southern Utah area can help homeless dogs and cats.

The Best Friends foster program matches adoptable animals here at the Sanctuary with families who can provide love and care until a permanent home can be found. As a foster parent, you'll receive a starter kit with everything that animal needs - food, toys, treats and more. And all foster pets are spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

If you're interested in fostering an animal from Best Friends at one of our regional centers around the US or from one of our Network partners, see the pet fostering page.

Photos by Best Friends staff