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What are the joys of fostering?

By Dog Foster Mom

10. Adopting a pet. I fostered over 50 cats before I adopted Merlin. I can't properly put the reason why into words, but Merlin and I have a special connection. If a friend or family member was looking for a cat, and I hadn't adopted him, I'd still probably recommend Orca or another cat over him. Because he's not the best cat in the world. It's just that he's the best cat in the world for me. And I never would have known it if I didn't foster!

9. Knowledge. I love to learn new things. Especially if it has to do with dogs and cats. And fostering gives me a great opportunity to learn. I can practice my dog-training skills that I'm learning from the Companion Animal Sciences Institute on my foster dogs. I get to learn about all sorts of dog breeds, and see their breed differences first-hand. I have access to many different experts, and take advantage of the opportunities I get to ask them a lot of questions. Because of fostering, I now feel comfortable reading a dog's body language and can communicate much more effectively with them. And I love that.

8 Diversion. I am never bored. I can't imagine ever being bored at home again. There is always something to do. A dog wanting to play fetch, or a cat wanting to cuddle, or a blog post to write, or a room to clean, or paperwork to be filled out, or countless other things to do. No matter if I'm in the mood to work or to play or to relax, there are many options available to keep me busy at all times - even if it's just busy cuddling with a pet while I relax on the couch.

7. Sprung from a Shelter. The joy of watching a dog feel grass again and have room to run, after being in a shelter that doesn't allow the dogs to go outdoors, is wonderful. If you haven't seen it, you can't imagine the pure joy they experience. Their joy just overflows to everyone around them, and people nearby can't help but to stop, watch and smile as the dog runs, then stops and rolls in the grass, then gets up and runs again, all with a giant grin on their face.

6. Blogging. I started this blog just as a way to record the various dogs and cats who came through my house. I don't do scrapbooking or photo albums, so blogging seemed like a good option. Now it's turned into something bigger, as there are actually people who look forward to reading this. And I really enjoy writing about my experiences with fostering. My blog would be pretty boring without any foster pets. I am always looking for interesting experiences to share with you. For example, I debated getting a live Christmas tree this year. I figured it was sure to get knocked over by the dogs or cats. But then I thought - well, it'd be something to write about! So I have a tree. Which I am amazed to report is still standing. So far.

5. Puppies and Kittens. Most kids can't resist adorable puppies or kittens. They see them, and they just HAVE to play with them. Some adults are like that too. I'm one of them. I want to pet and play with every puppy and kitten that I meet. So fostering is awesome! Because I can take the cute puppy or kitten, and play with it, and then adopt it out before it grows up, and go bring in some more! I always get the youngest, cutest model and never have any guilt for trading them in for the next youngest, cutest one to come along.

4. Faith in Humanity. As I said yesterday, doing rescue means a lot of dealing with the public. And one of the joys of fostering is learning how many people out there really do care about the animals. The people who adopt an older pet, or a black cat, or a special needs pet, just because they know those are the most needy. The people who stop and put a few dollars in the donation jar on their way inside PetSmart. The people who donate items for the pets in shelters or foster care. The people who attend fundraising events, or transport animals to foster care. There are so many ways we all work together to save animals, and fostering gives me the opportunity to meet many of those people.

3. Entertainment. Foster animals provide constant entertainment. Have you ever watched a cat chase a feather toy? Or play with a toy mouse? It's better than TV. And dogs playing together, or chasing a laser light, are hilarious as well. Not a day goes by that I don't laugh or smile at something that one of my foster pets does. And that makes each day a pretty good day.

2. New Friends. I have made so many new friends through fostering and volunteering. Real friends, that I do things with outside of adoption events - almost like having a social life! Many of them are fellow volunteers. A few are adopters that I've met at adoption events. They all love animals and don't mind listening to me talk about them constantly. As someone who used to be really shy, fostering and volunteering has helped me to make friends that I would never have met otherwise.

1. Saving a life. The number one joy of rescuing. Because the feeling you get from knowing YOU made a life possible that would otherwise have ended is just amazing. Each foster pet becomes a part of my life that I will never lose, no matter what. And sometimes, I get to see my fosters again at a later time, and when they remember me and greet me happily, I think the feeling is mutual. But even when they don't seem to remember me (darn cats), i still have that same joy from knowing that I made a difference in their life - I made their life better than it was before. And to me, that's what fostering is all about.

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