One of the most unique and rewarding ways you can help animals is by opening your home to a furry houseguest. 

A spare bedroom is a penthouse suite for a few kittens. A bowl and a blanket mean the world to a dog. Becoming a foster directly benefits an animal in need of a home, love, and care while also freeing space within Providence Animal Center for others in need! All it takes is a legal adult with a few pet-care essentials – some of which PAC may be able to provide!

My personal experience as a foster has been enjoyable and fulfilling. On multiple occasions, my wife and I have taken in kittens and puppies. Sometimes one, and sometimes a litter of six! They would stay usually two or three weeks – that’s time enough to grow, get fixed per PAC’s lifesaving mission, and be made ready for adoption. Sometimes, adopters were already lined up to receive them so they never even spent a day in a kennel or cage! Each time we had the opportunity to foster, we had a plan and a projected date of departure.

The length of stay can vary depending on the animal and your preferences. This is something our Foster Coordinator can discuss with you!

A foster pet's stay is like any other house pet’s: full of play, food, naps and scratches. It feels great to get to know them and be able to help. The feeding, playtime, and the cleaning (can’t forget the cleaning) are manageable parts of an overall positive experience. After seeing them off, it's so nice to know that you could do it again for another.

It can be hard to say goodbye! In fact, on one occasion, we didn’t. We fell head-over-blue-heelers for a six month old hound from Georgia after we saw how well he fit into our home. Turkey (in front) played nice with our resident bone chewer, Otis (in back) and was very polite with our cats. So, what was supposed to be an overnight stay turned permanent. This is known as “Foster Failing”, and it's a very common occurrence around here.

But hey! The ultimate goal is a happy home!

There's also no feeling like seeing the pets you fostered make a home somewhere else. When we saw pictures of Han here all grown up, we were elated. He had come so far from the energetic fluff ball that hung out in our kitchen for a while.

In 2020, 385 homes took in temporary pets. The support this gives to Providence Animal Center is immeasurable! For each animal in a foster home, another space is available here. This means that PAC can continue to take in animals from overfilled shelters and worse circumstances all across the U.S. – far beyond its actual capacity! The medical care and adoption services enable these animals to find families.

So, what you’re really fostering is families.

When you foster, you are assuring the health, wellness, and comfort of an animal that would not otherwise be guaranteed. It is a vital precursor to housing every dog and cat.

If you are interested in becoming a foster, you can find information here! If fostering is not an option at the moment, consider donating needed resources or moneysponsoring an animal, or joining our Volunteer Program in the near future, when it reopens. Or just tell your friends about it – our community is key!

Tristan Shahadi is a veterinary assistant and writer advocating for PAC and responsible pet care. With experience in both human and animal medicine, he educates to strengthen the human-animal bond!