If You’re Thinking of Fostering an Animal or Adopting a Special Needs Pet, Know the Challenges First

First things first. Adopting a rescue pet or fostering are two of the greatest things you can do in life if you love animals. The rewards are often immeasurable, but they’re not without their challenges even under the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, a lot of people go into these acts of love with blinders on. To make matters worse, sometimes they do so for the wrong reasons. So, before you rush in, it’s a good idea to know what you’re letting yourself in for first.

sick cat
Photo: Pixabay/mochawalk

Special Needs Pets

Animals with special needs can require time and patience when it comes to adjusting and the level of care they ultimately need. Not everyone has the luxury of nearly unlimited time on their hands, so it’s vital you know this ahead of time. The same can be said of distressed animals. You can’t just bring animals in fragile mental or physical states home and leave for work the next day expecting everything to be all right. Instead, it could end up unsettling them even further and your house being destroyed.

This is where a reality check is in order. Unless you’re retired or a trust fund baby, ask yourself how you will manage the number of hours a day the animal may require — at least initially.

Caring for Sick Animals

This can be another major undertaking. Not only do you need to have time at your disposal when nursing a sick or injured animal, but the costs associated with it could quickly go well beyond your financial means. If it’s a foster, the shelter or rescue you’re working with should cover the costs or at least supplement them. If it’s an adoption and you can’t afford treatment, you may have to start a GoFundMe page. Good intentions aside, this is the reality of adopting a pet with medical issues. If it’s going to bankrupt you, you’ll both end up on the streets.

injured dog
Photo: Pixabay/allymime

Patience is a Virtue

Another thing you’ll need in spades is patience — and not just your own. Anyone who lives in your home will have to have it, too. Patience is critical for successfully reintroducing many of these poor creatures back into life. Some of them are so emotionally damaged that it could take months or even years before they begin to respond. And it’s not only a matter of being timid. They may have house training issues or aggression issues or an inability or unwillingness to take food or medication. Are you up to the task?

Proper Environment

There are also questions regarding the proper environment. Do you have enough room at your place? Is your home quiet enough for animals recovering from illness, abuse, or noise issues? Do you have stairs? Do you have a fenced yard? Do you live in an apartment where, if the animal comes unhinged from separation anxiety the minute you leave, you might eventually be faced with surrendering them or even eviction?

All of these questions are not only legitimate but will undoubtedly be asked when you volunteer to foster or apply for adoption by any responsible group trying to place pets. Matching pets with proper pet parents and their environments is essential to reducing return rates. The last thing the animal needs is to be uprooted again.

injured cat
Photo: Pixabay/HeungSoon

Is the Pet a Good Fit?

You should also put some thought into whether or not the animal is a good fit for you both. Are your energy levels comparable? If you travel a lot out of necessity, would they travel well? Your heart might be in the right place but will the animal be if it’s placed with you? It all boils down to what is in the animal’s best interest. Will your adopting them be beneficial to them in the long run?

People, Pets & Planet

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