Hospitality is a cultural cornerstone in Alabama. However, that doesn’t have to just mean human houseguests! Our furry friends need homes to welcome them in, too. I became a foster parent to some of our fluffier Birmingham citizens—here’s why you should do it, too.
There are several organizations you can foster through in the Birmingham area. I volunteer and foster through the Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS). Being new to the state and new to “adulthood,” it’s been so fun to have precious little fur babies running around my apartment!
All sorts of animals need foster homes—puppies, kittens, dogs, cats, full litters, etc. Foster parents can spend anywhere from less than a week to a few months with their fur babies.
Even though each foster situation is unique, the goal is the same: to provide animals with the best care possible while they get ready for their furever homes!
Donating your time and space in your home is no small commitment, so that’s all that is required. All you need is a small space and a lot of love—everything else is supplied!
Food, vet treatment, puppy pads, litter, and anything else is provided to foster parents.
Sweet cuddles and fluffy company are great perks. But the real reason we foster is that no matter how wonderful a shelter is, home environments usually make for more well-adjusted pets.
Animals can need a foster home for a variety of different reasons. Fully-grown rescues can need some time in a home to recover after surgeries or treatments. Younger fosters get to grow up in a peaceful home environment away from shelter stress.
New mamas are also prime candidates for fostering. Raising a litter of babies can be stressful enough, so it’s nice to have a warm and quiet place to do so. Bonus for the humans: mamas take care of their fur babies themselves, so you have a lot less work to do!
Is Fostering Right for You?
GBHS provides a great list “before you foster” checklist. Here are a few of the yes/no questions they ask you to consider before becoming a foster parent!
- Are you able to devote adequate time daily to your foster animals? (Many foster parents have full-time jobs. That doesn’t prevent you from participating!)
- Can you follow the protocols that are in place for making sure your foster stays as healthy as possible while in your care?
- Are all the people in your home on board with fostering animals? (Including your other pets?)
- Will you be able to say goodbye when your foster is ready to come back to the adoption floor?
- Are you okay with the fact that first-time fosters are not allowed to adopt their fosters?
- Do you have time to adequately socialize and train foster animals in your care to make them more adoptable?
If You Answered Yes…
You may be ready to foster! The next steps vary between organizations, so check out these websites to find out more about how to get started:
My first step was attending a volunteer orientation at GBHS and going through the foster track. The whole process took a little under 3 hours total. It was super helpful to learn tips about fostering and get connected to fellow foster parents who have given me great advice more than once!
There are plenty of wonderful animal advocacy organizations in Birmingham with which to get involved. If you’re not ready to foster parent fur babies of your own just yet, you can volunteer in a ton of different ways.
What other foster opportunities did we miss? Let us know!