Top 5 Ways Foster Care Benefits Animals in Need


Photo courtesy of Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Thanks to Dr. Edward Schettino and Animal Rescue League of Boston for contributing this article to Westwood Minute.

By Edward Schettino

You love animals, but perhaps you’re unable or not quite ready to make the commitment to care for a pet for the rest of his or her life.

If this statement rings a bell, but you would love to have an animal companion, then becoming a foster parent may be the perfect avenue for you.

When you open up your heart and home as a foster parent, not only are you freeing up precious shelter space for other animals in need, but you’re also giving an animal the opportunity to receive the personalized attention, care, and love that they deserve.

At animal care and adoption centers, like the Animal Rescue League of Boston, foster animals come in all shapes and sizes – not just dog and cats, but also rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, pigs, and other livestock.

These animals come to ARL in a variety of ways, from owner surrender, to animal cruelty, to overcrowded homes, and more. But no matter how animals make their way into a shelter, a foster home can do wonders for an animal in a period of transition.

Here are the top 5 ways being in a foster home benefits an animal in need:

  1. Reduces stress. A shelter typically has tons of activity, and the quiet and solitude of a home environment can go a long way in alleviating that stress.
  2. Helps with recovery. An animal recuperating from an illness or injury needs a peaceful space and constant monitoring and care to help them heal.
  3. Encourages better behavior. An animal who needs to work on basic manners or other behavioral challenges can make great strides working with a foster parent one-on-one.
  4. Assists in healing. Animals that have experienced trauma from cruelty, neglect or abuse are often shut down emotionally, and a foster home gives the animal the opportunity to open up at their own pace.
  5. Nurtures the young. Puppies, but especially neonatal kittens require round-the-clock bottle feeding and care to help them grow.

While the benefits of fostering are immeasurable for the animals, the perks extend to the foster family as well. Fostering, a form of volunteering, can teach you new skills, help boost self-confidence, combat loneliness, and encourage physical activity. The greatest reward, however, is the satisfaction in knowing that you have made a real difference by giving a deserving animal the opportunity to thrive.

To learn more about the benefits of fostering an animal, and for opportunities, visit or contact your local animal shelter.

Dr. Edward Schettino is the President and CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and has a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

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