What exactly does fostering mean? It means bringing a homeless animal into your home, caring for them, providing them with affection and socialization, until a permanent family comes along who will love them forever.
VIPP has no central facility for our dogs; we rely solely on foster homes. VIPP also relies on fosters to provide a change of environment for long term cat residents who may be having a hard time adjusting to a shelter atmosphere or have special needs. Fosters are crucial to VIPP and our success.
Often times, certain animals may not "show" well in a shelter environment due to excess energy, or jockeying for attention as potential adopters walk by. While fostering a dog or cat, you are able to provide exercise and stimulation, which in turn creates a calmer animal, which in many cases may be closer to what their behavior will look like in a home environment. In addition, you can work with the animal on leash training, house training, or other basic command training, that potential adopters will find attractive.
Shelters and rescues often look to fosters for those animals who may have endured a difficult past such as abuse, cruelty, neglect, under socialization, etc. As a foster, you have the chance and opportunity to gain an animal's trust, show them human touch and love perhaps for the first time, provide an environment for them to feel safe, and watch them transform before your eyes.
If you have existing pets, introducing a cat or dog can be a great experience for them as an additional companion, additional socialization, and an additional playmate! Children can benefit from fostering as a way to introduce responsibility, selflessness, a way to educate about animals, and is also a great way to "test" the idea of a permanent cat or dog into the home in the future.
Fellow fosters and VIPP Volunteers will help guide you through the experience, give ideas and answer any questions. There is nothing quite like sharing experiences with those who do the same and being part of a community of people who have like passions.
When the day comes, that your foster finds that perfect home, the rewarding feeling you will experience is something very special. You will feel a sense of pride, in knowing what you helped that dog or cat accomplish in their time with you. You will feel overjoyed, that they have found their forever family and his happy ending that all homeless animals so desire. And while certainly, some goodbyes can be tough, knowing that a dog or cat has found thier happy ending and that another precious life awaits to be afforded your gifts, is as good of a feeling as there is!