Pets come to Palmetto Animal League from varying backgrounds, making it difficult for us to understand exactly what they've been through and how past experiences have affected them.
Coming into a shelter environment can be a huge shock for an animal, and a loving foster home is a saving grace for those who are too young, too weak or too anxious to be adopted immediately.
Foster families give these precious creatures the time they need to overcome past circumstances, preparing them for a lifetime of love.
Fostering also has vast physical benefits for animals. Stress can be a huge factor for pets recovering from surgery or illness. Just like in humans, stress can suppress the immune system, which can delay healing.
There is no better place for a pet to recover than in the caring arms of a foster parent. Similarly, when we have kittens and puppies that are too small for the shelter environment, foster homes provide a safe, healthy place for newborns to begin life.
The benefits of foster care even extend beyond pets to the people doing the fostering. I remember one woman who loved visiting puppies. She had recently lost her husband and had no family nearby. The puppies made her feel happy for a couple of hours.
During one of her visits, a dog was brought in with five two-week-old puppies. The woman was instantly drawn to them and asked how she could help.
Less than an hour later, she was on her way home with the mother and her litter, armed with lots of supplies and educated in caring for newborn pups.
She was an amazing foster mother who even found homes for each of the puppies, keeping the mama dog as her own. After this experience, she felt that she had found a new purpose in life.
To me, this compassionate volunteer is a beautiful example of giving selflessly to your community and getting back in great measure.
Palmetto Animal League is urgently looking for additional foster homes to keep up with growing demand. If you have been looking for a meaningful way to make a difference, now is the time!
Our Adoption Center is full, and new animals are arriving weekly. By providing a temporary home for a pet in need, you are helping PAL save lives - and these are lives worth saving.
For more details, contact our foster care coordinator at 843-441-2901 or visit www.PalmettoAnimalLeague.org/foster to fill out our foster care application.
Ford Howell is a veterinary technician at Palmetto Animal League's Adoption Center in Okatie.