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Why do you foster dogs or cats?

I asked several dog and cat lovers why they foster, and I’m sharing their responses below.

I hope to encourage other animal lovers to give fostering a try. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done as an animal lover.

Fostering a dog or a cat typically involves providing him with love and a place to stay for a few weeks, months or maybe even just a day while he waits to be adopted.

If any of you have ever fostered a dog or a cat, let me know in the comments why you foster. I included my own story in the mix as well.

Just fill in the blank. “I foster because … “

Quinn Kelsey, Denver

Kelsey Quinn fosters a dog

“I foster because my dog loves making new friends! I first started fostering because I wanted a dog but knew I could help so many more by fostering.

[quote_center]”Of course, I had a foster ‘failure,’ you know? That one pup you just can’t give up?”[/quote_center]

“Of course, I had a foster ‘failure,’ you know? That one pup you just can’t give up? But now I continue to foster because my dog loves to play with new dogs and they make great companions for her. Not to mention, my full-time pup helps socialize the fosters. It’s a great circle!” (Quinn fosters for All Aboard Animal Rescue.)

Brooke Mallory, Seattle

Brooke Mallory fosters dogs

“I foster because I don’t have a lot of money, and I don’t have a lot of time, but I have an endless supply of love to share. It’s so easy to feed one more mouth, hold one more leash, kiss one more nose.

[quote_left]”I foster because I don’t have a lot of money, and I don’t have a lot of time, but I have an endless supply of love …”[/quote_left]

“Instead of adopting one dog, I have fostered well over 100 dogs.

“Every time that I think I could not possibly expand my heart any more, the rescue calls me with another dog in need and before I know it, I’m falling head-over-heels in love again.

“Many people tell me they can not foster because they love dogs too much … as if to say I don’t? That could not be further from the truth.

“I am not a great foster because I don’t love these dogs. I am a great foster because I love these dogs more than my natural, but selfish, desire to keep them all.” (Read some of Brooke’s fostering stories here.)

Gloria Rodriguez, Sedona, Ariz.

Glo & 2 kittens

[quote_right]”I save lives and love every minute of the adventure.”[/quote_right]

“I foster kittens or a mama with kittens because it is one of the greatest experiences of my life. It is amazing to save a heart beating within a small furry body.

“So many shelters kill healthy pets because there is no room for them. City taxpayers’ funds are utilized to complete the death task but citizens are unaware.

“To witness a mama feeding, grooming, and protecting her young is heartwarming. As a single female with no children, these mothers truly are inspirational teachers.

“My favorite aspect of fostering kittens is admiring how fearless they are as they explore life. Human parents tell their young ‘Don’t do that because you’ll hurt yourself’ but with a kitten you can’t tell them not to explore!

“My motto as a volunteer foster kitten guardian is ‘I save lives and love every minute of the adventure.” (Gloria fosters with Northern Arizona Animal Foster Coalition.)

Colby Webb, Manhattan, N.Y.

Colby Webb fosters pitbulls for Save A Bull

“I rescue and foster dogs for Sav-a-bull to help bring an end to pitbulls being seen as ‘unadoptable.’ This flawed view results in thousands of loyal companion animals being needlessly euthanized in New York shelters.

[quote_center]”Because we believe every dog deserves a chance at a loving and capable home.”[/quote_center]

“Through rescue, medical care, basic training, responsible adoption, post adoption support and education, we save lives and restore the image of this misunderstood dog. Because we believe every dog deserves a chance at a loving and capable home. Even one that has been labeled a ‘pitbull.'”

Christy Zimmerman, Simi Valley, Calif.

Christy fosters cats and kittens

“I foster because I enjoy helping mama cats raise their babies. While the mama cat does plenty of work taking care of her family, my role is to make sure mama has everything she needs so her family thrives.

“Fostering is so much fun. Plus, I have the added bonus of socializing and playing with cute little kittens.” (Christy fosters for Best Friends Animal Society.)

jme Thomas, Redmond, Wash.

jme fosters through Motley Zoo rescue

[quote_right]”I have found a greater purpose in life, a deeper sense of gratitude.”[/quote_right]“I started fostering dogs because I wanted to help my dog become more social and well-adjusted, maybe even learn to play! It has been an amazing experience and I was inspired to found a foster-based organization called Motley Zoo Animal Rescue.

“I have now fostered over 1,000 animals, and it has changed my life. I really thought the one changed most would be the foster animal, but it has been me.

“By saving a life every day I truly achieve a goal, not chase an elusive dream for ‘happiness.’ I have found a greater purpose in life, a deeper sense of gratitude, increased patience and know that I have made a difference in this world, even if the animals are the only ones to know or remember this.”

Lindsay Stordahl, Solana Beach, Calif.

Tumbler and me 2

“I foster dogs and cats because it’s something I can do to help the millions of homeless pets in our country. Sure, I can only help one or two at a time, but I am making a huge difference for that one animal and for the family that adopts her.

[quote_center]”I know I’m making a difference.”[/quote_center]

“I find fostering so rewarding, and I do it for selfish reasons because it makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I know I’m making a difference.”

Annalisa Berns, Newport Beach, Calif.

Fostering German shepherds

“I foster dogs because – I love dogs! I love rescue dogs more than anything. They are amazing, beautiful, kind and loving, despite their past, health and difficulties.

“They teach me unconditional love, how it is still possible to experience joy and fun despite their history. It is heartwarming when a dog who has come from a difficult past does something for the first time, like let me pet them, give them a treat or take a ride in a car.

[quote_center]”… if I don’t help them, who will?”[/quote_center]

“I specialize in special needs dogs, dogs from extreme neglect, feral dogs, and dogs without regular human interaction. Some of these dogs come out of the experience like nothing ever happened in their past, others never quite get over it. With all of them, I love to care for them where they are at, show them unconditional love and fun too.

“What makes me good at being a foster parent of special needs dogs? I am patient, and if I don’t help them, who will?” (Annalisa fosters for German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County.)

OK, how about you?

Why do you foster? Or, why would you like to foster?

Related posts:

Tips for bringing home a foster dog
Q & A on fostering German shepherds
Should you adopt your foster dog?
15 things to consider before fostering a dog

Emma Purdy

Thursday 8th of December 2016

I foster because dogs are my passion, I can connect with a dog better than most people. I strongly believe every single dog is amazing in its own way and there is always hope and always a loving perfect fit family just waiting for there perfect dog! Every dog deserves a second chance. Every dog deserves love. Every dog deserves compassion. And that exactly what I am able to give them!

Erin Gleeson

Tuesday 6th of September 2016

I foster because I can! I have the extra space to keep kittens seperate from my cat (and from making a mess of the whole house). I work close by, so I can run home over lunch for feedings or bring them in for quick visits and car rides (great socialization).

Most of all, fostering allows me to have the fun of having kittens without actually adopting one. I don't want a kitten, and my adult cat really doesn't want a kitten, so this is a good way for me to have them short-term while setting them up for great future lives.


Wednesday 31st of August 2016

I started fostering dogs because I was not a dog person, and my kids were begging for a dog. I thought it would be a good compromise. Well, our very first temp foster who we were supposed to have for only 5 days changed my life! I fell in love at first sight. She's now our own adopted dog, and we continue to foster other pups.

Robert Keenan

Wednesday 31st of August 2016

My wife and I have been fostering for almost ten years. There's a lot I could say about the joys of fostering, but luckily for me someone else said it all... beautifully.


I am the bridge, Between what was and what can be. I am the pathway to a new life.

I am made of mush, Because my heart melted when I saw you, Matted and sore, limping, depressed Lonely, unwanted, afraid to love.

For one little time you are mine. I will feed you with my own hand. I will love you with my whole heart. I will make you whole.

I am made of steel. Because when the time comes, When you are well, and sleek, when your eyes shine, And your tail wags with joy Then comes the hard part.

I will let you go-not without a tear, But without a regret. For you are safe forever-- A new dog needs me now.

Beth | Daily Dog Tag

Wednesday 15th of April 2015

Thanks to everyone who does foster! I haven't ever fostered, but I have so much admiration and gratitude for those who do. Fostering really can mean the difference between life and death for many of the animals.