What is the Difference between Shelters and Fosters?

For many unwanted and displaced animals, an animal shelter can mean the difference between life and death. Animal shelters are typically funded by local government and offer a safe reprieve for rescued strays. However, a shelter isn’t the only viable option for an unwanted pet. Shelters often have limited space and rely on the kindness of animal lovers who wish to provide a foster environment for homeless creatures.

Like shelters, fosters provide a haven for animals, offering food and time to heal before being placed up for adoption. Unlike shelters, fosters are self-funded and partner with the local shelters to provide care for an animal. This partnership frees up space at the shelter for additional animals in need.

A foster environment typically involves a person or family who volunteers to care for an animal in their home for a short or definite period, whereas a shelter will often keep the animal as long as possible, or until it can be re-established with a family.  

Shelters and Fosters

Since many shelters operate predominately on donations, they rely heavily on the time and resources provided by volunteers; it’s crucial to give what you can to keep shelters in operation.

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Donate – You don’t have to donate money (although cash donations are appreciated). One may donate pet supplies to include food, as well as equipment such as bowls, leashes, beds, and toys. Also, volunteers can donate their time to assist with cleaning, animal care and administrative duties.
  • Fundraise. Consider holding a fundraiser at the local dog park or school to honor our furry friends and the shelters who help them.     

The key is to take action sooner rather than later, as thousands of homeless animals are in dire need of homes. With a bit of creativity, you can do your part to ease the homeless animal crisis.

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