Fostering: Another Way to Volunteer!
Updated: Apr 21
At capacity, our main campus facility at the Halifax Humane Society can hold approximately 400 animals. However, almost every time I tell volunteers or guests this ‘fun fact’, they reply with “Where?!”. Despite our updated facility, new kennels, and new spaces for our animals, many of our shelter animals rely on our volunteer fosters for temporary homes. Some of these animals are not ready for adoption - perhaps they are too young to be adopted, or have medical issues that mean they need to heal before being placed on the adoption floor. In other cases, some animals simply thrive in a foster environment. The shelter can be a stressful, loud, and scary place for many of our animals, especially those that come from already stressful situations. For both these animals, and those who have been at the shelter for a few months, the sights, smells, and sounds can begin to take a toll on them. A quiet, calm foster home can be just the thing that these animals need. Foster homes help to show potential adopters the animal’s friendly, playful side out of the shelter, as well as give these dogs and cats a chance to learn how to be in a home.
In addition to benefiting the shelter animals, fostering can have great benefits to the foster volunteers. For some volunteers, regularly coming into the shelter is not an option, but they still want to help out in a significant way. By taking in a foster dog or cat, they can make a direct impact on that animal’s life by giving them a temporary, comfortable home before they find their forever family. It can also be a great option for volunteers who cannot commit to fully adopting an animal of their own, but want the companionship and responsibility of a temporary pet. For some of these volunteers, of course, these animals might become ‘foster fails’, meaning the foster turned into the adopter. Two of our dog walkers, Anna Marquette and Nick Le, did just this with a Storm Trooper Foster from Hurricane Dorian, Maggie. At the shelter, Maggie was nervous and skittish, and had yet to be adopted. When Anna and Nick took her in, she weighed only 42 pounds, had heartworms, and was very wary of anyone that came too close to her. After a few weeks and a lot of love, Maggie had almost become a different dog. These days, she’s a friendly, playful girl, and has put on a few pounds to keep her at a healthy weight. Despite being a foster fail, Maggie is a great example of a dog who, with a bit of love and TLC in a calm home, can thrive and show adopters her true colors. Of course, Maggie had stolen the hearts of Anna and Nick, and decided her foster home would be her forever home!
If you are interested in fostering, we highly encourage you to reach out. We have plenty of animals that could hugely benefit from a foster home: from younger kittens and puppies, to older animals that have lost their owners, even to those with medical or behavioral issues that need a calm, quiet space to decompress. For inquiries about fostering with HHS, please contact either our Foster Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org, or our Volunteer Manager at email@example.com.