Fostering Pets :: What I Am Teaching My Child

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Last fall I decided to take a training class to be able to foster cats or dogs for Pawmetto Lifeline.

I thought it would be fun as I’ve toyed with the idea of getting another dog or maybe a cat for my daughter. My husband wasn’t too thrilled, but he goes along with my crazy ideas most of the time, so it was fine. I also knew it would help teach my daughter some lessons on pets. So I took the class, and here we are!

Pawmetto Lifeline is a no-kill shelter with cats and dogs located off Bower Parkway. About five years ago, we went there and got our amazing dog Barley. He is the sweetest little Shih Tzu – poodle mix with an underbite that will melt your heart. 

Barley

 As we were fostering, I realized I was teaching my daughter some valuable lessons. 

Lessons I’m Teaching My Daughter About Pets

Animals are not disposable.  

When you agree pet ownership, you commit to helping that animal as best you can, and you don’t dump them somewhere when it’s inconvenient for you.

Pets can be hard work. You have to give them food and water every day, play with them to keep them stimulated, and for some animals like dogs, teach them to use the potty outside.

You get up early some days to get it all done so you get to work on time, but you do it because you said you would.

Not all dogs love to be pet or hugged.  

This one was hard for my animal-loving daughter, but she now knows to ask before petting other dogs as not all dogs enjoy people love as much as Barley.

Giving up time to help those in need – animals or humans – is important.

My daughter goes with me a lot to pick up dogs, supplies, or medicine required. She understands extra time is required to help these pets. Your time is so valuable, but it means a lot when you use it to help others in need. 

Not all pets have homes.  

This one was confusing for my daughter at first, but she now knows not every pet has a forever home. This even helped teach her why she was packing supplies for the homeless for a service project at daycare. Not all people have homes either and we must help if we can.

You can take a pet home the same day you complete your training.

We took our first dog home the day I took foster care training. His name was Topaz and he was a recent rescue who was sick with kennel cough. Kennel cough is highly contagious, so it’s best for these dogs to be isolated or fostered out so they don’t spread it. Our daughter still asks if Topaz has a permanent home even six months after he left.  

Topaz

After Topaz, we were able to keep some puppies for a few weeks until they were old enough to be adopted. Then we helped out a shy older dog named Grace for a bit while they determined what environment was best for her.

The good thing about fostering is you get to do it when you can, and are not financially responsible for anything. They have a vet on staff who takes care of health needs and you get a foster contact who you can text/call with any questions or concerns.  

If you have questions on fostering pets, please reach out. I hope you will consider fostering pets for your family!

Have you fostered pets before? Share your experience with us!

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Lisa is a transplant from the Midwest. She was born and raised in Kansas (yes, she has seen a tornado) and spent a few years in Ohio before moving to South Carolina in 2014. She holds a degree in Biology and works as a research assistant at the USC School of Medicine. Her career in science spans 11 years and she can't imagine a job anywhere else. She has also been married to her college sweetheart for 11 years. He is a professor at USC, so they are Gamecock fans by default. They are proud parents to a spunky 2.5 year old girl who keeps them on their toes. As a family, they enjoy being outside in the wonderful southern sun, gardening, playing tennis, and going to the beach. They also are parents to 2 fur babies who still aren't sure about their little sister.

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