When you think foster care of animals at the shelter, there are a variety of reasons that may come to your mind as to why you don't think you would be a good foster. Here are the top myths and facts about fostering for the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society!
Myth: I can't foster, I have pets already.
Fact: When fostering, SFAHS asks that you keep your fosters separate from your pets, for the most part. This is for the health and safety of both your fosters and your own pets. This is specifically for kittens and puppies, who need time for their immune systems to build up when they are first born.
Myth: My home is too small!
Fact: Actually, fostering doesn't require much space depending on what you are fostering, especially if you don't have other pets. For kittens, all you need is a small room, such as a bathroom where the kittens live while you're caring for them. If you don't have a spare room for them, you can use an enclosed playpen. We have such playpens on our Amazon wishlist currently so that we can provide some to fosters who may need them!
Myth: I don't have the money to care for foster pets.
Fact: The SFAHS provides everything you need for fostering. We will provide food, bowls, blankets, cages and carriers, and any medicines that they may need. All you need to provide the is loving home!
Myth: I work all day, so I don't have time to foster.
Fact: Fostering kittens may be the best match for you! Kittens that are under 2 months require little time out of your schedule, especially if they are paired with their momma cat. As long as they are healthy and eating on their own, you can leave out food for them to eat throughout the day, give them socialization and cuddles, and monitor their health before you leave and when you get home from work.
Myth: I have kids, so I can't foster.
Fact: Fostering is actually a great way to teach children about the responsibility of a pet! With supervision kids can learn what goes into caring for a pet, playing with them and socializing the pet. Just be sure your children wash their hands before and after handling the foster pets. This can help socialize the foster pet with children, as well as teaching your children the proper and polite ways to interact with animals.
Myth: I don't know how to teach a cat to use a litter box.
Fact: Kittens don't typically need to be taught how to use a litterbox. They have natural feline instincts and will already know where and when to go, as long as you keep a litterbox accessible and keep them close by. They may have a few accidents, to begin with, but they will be pros in no time! If you have any issues, you can always read about litter box issues on our Pet Tips & Reference page or refer to the foster manual you will receive.
Myth: I can't commit to months of caring for an animal.
Fact: Most pets will stay with a foster family for 2 to 6 weeks, depending on their need. There are instances where a foster may need to stay longer, but the time frame of each foster situation will be discussed with you ahead of time.
Myth: I won't be able to let them go...I will fall in love!
Fact: We understand that those little faces are easy to fall in love with and it can be hard to say goodbye! Just remember you are part of their story and the reason they are healthy and happy enough to find forever homes! When you say goodbye to one group of foster, remember there are always more who are waiting for your love.
Myth: I can't emotionally handle it. What if they don't make it?
Fact: This myth does have some truth to it. Fostering isn't for everyone, and we completely understand. Those who sign up to foster have a positive experience 90% of the time. We do have to acknowledge the other percentage where things don't go the way we hope and the kittens or puppies don't thrive. For dedicated caregivers, it can be heartbreaking and frustrating to lose newborn kittens or puppies, but it is worth remembering that up to 60% of low-birth-weight animals under natural conditions will fail to survive. It is not anything you did wrong! Their survival rate improves by being in a home environment over a shelter environment, which is why it is so important to have dedicated fosters watching over them and monitoring their health each and every day! Our staff does all they can to save every single one, but sometimes nature has other plans. Fostering can break your heart, but it can also make it swell up with so much love. Celebrate your wins, because they outweigh the losses by tenfold.