As we brace for our first COVID-19 winter, things might seem a little extra cold and lonely. If you feel like this winter might be a little rough, try adding a little scruff to the mix to make it merrier.
We’re talking, of course, about fostering a pet.
Fostering, or even adopting, a pet over the holidays gives you a chance to have a live-in emotional support companion. They’re self-heated cuddle buddies. They’re guests without any risk of COVID. Above all, you’re doing a great service to these pets who would otherwise be left a little lonely waiting for their forever homes.
What do I need to foster a pet?
Some of these animals were abandoned, others are homeless. They come from disrupted places and might just need a little loving to feel whole again. That means you need to bring the goodness of your heart to the table when you foster a pet.
Other than love, these pets need attention. They need to be well-fed, looked after, and walked. In some cases, they may need veterinary attention. Most agencies will help you organize, some will even cover the cost, but you are responsible for seeing that the pet makes their appointment.
Since time is money, you really should only foster a pet if you know you can show up for it. You also have to ensure you have the financial responsibility to make sure you can feed your furry friend the right meals every day.
Also, for the sake of creating a safe space, make sure your home is at least somewhat pet-proofed. If you rent, you should definitely ask your landlord for permission, or let them know you’re having company.
I can do it. Where do I sign up?
Take a look at some of these non-profit organizations who can match you with your ideal furry roommate.
Once they’re in your care, ACC is still part of the process. They have a committed team of veterinarians that will be available to the pet if and when it’s necessary
For all things animals, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) is there. With facilities across all five boroughs, you can find a dog, cat, or a bunny from your hood who’s in need of a home.
The first step in their process is a Virtual Orientation. This is your chance to acquaint yourself with the entire process so there’s no surprises as to what’s expected. Be sure to sign up for the appropriate session depending if you’d like to foster a dog or a cat, kitten, rabbit, or guinea pig.
Once they’re in your care, ACC is still part of the process. They have a committed team of veterinarians that will be available to the pet if and when it’s necessary.
If it ends up that you simply don’t have the time, space, or energy to bring the pet home, you can still sponsor them through a donation that goes straight toward its care.
When most people think of animal welfare, they think of the Animal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). This year for the holidays, you can make these animals’ lives merry and bright by bringing them home.
The process is simple:
- Fill out the application and let them know who you want to host. It can be a dog, a cat, or both!
- Wait for approval (about two weeks time)
- Attend foster orientation training
- Bring your pet home!
Keep in mind, rescue pets have pasts. Many of them will be recovering from an injury or have medicinal or behavioral needs. It doesn’t make them any less lovable, but it’s worth asking yourself if you are ready for the responsibility.
Pixies and Paws
If you believe in love at first sight, take some time to scroll through Pixies and Paws. This New Jersey-based agency puts a picture and profile of their cats and dogs up front, making it easier to find your soul-pet.
These rescue cats and dogs aren’t just from the U.S., but many were rescued from Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey. It’s important you’re ready to make them feel extra special, welcome, and loved.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who find love (and realistically, it’s not hard when you look at all these cuddly faces), you can complete an application to foster or adopt right on the spot. It’s like swiping right, but so much more rewarding.
Quick tip: if you plan to adopt, you’ll need to provide references affirming you’re a fit pet parent.
Best Friends Animal Society
Located in SoHo, the Best Friends Animal Society accepts foster carers from all five boroughs and the tri-state area. They work to ensure you’re matched with a foster pet that suits your schedule and your caring requirements. Though you’re responsible for the bulk of the care (shelter, supplies, food), they will cover all necessary veterinary costs.
The orientation process is done online through a mandatory training video and accompanying quiz. The final step is the best part: going to pick up your foster pet! They do not do drop-offs.
If you’re ready to foster, create a volunteer account, and be on your way to happy days.