Help Save Lives – Become a Foster Parent

| March 3, 2023

By temporarily providing a home for an animal, being a foster parent is a wonderful way to make a difference in the lives of animals in need, while also enriching your own life. 

Whether you’re fostering stray kittens, providing a sanctuary for shy bunnies, or helping a dog recover from an illness or injury in the comfort of your home, many foster parents have expressed that caring for animals in need is a highly rewarding experience that changes their life, and the lives of the pets they care for, at the same time.  

For example, Shastine Bouwmans, a Toronto Humane Society foster parent who cared for a large family of two mother cats and their seven kittens (dubbed the Star Wars Crew) comments; “Though it was an incredible amount of work, it was so rewarding and worth every moment knowing that I was able to provide them with a safe space all together until the kittens were weaned. As I got to know them better, it was apparent that the Mama’s and babies were thriving, and I truly think that it’s because they were able to all stay together.”  

You’re never alone in your foster parent journey. You’ll receive training as you’re onboarded, and ongoing support from our foster, training, and medical teams. But you do need to have a willingness to learn and an understanding of the potential challenges of caring for an animal.  

I think the most important qualities for someone interested in fostering are patience, an openness to learning and understanding that every animal will have unique challenges,” Shastine continues. “Although fostering is rewarding, it’s also a lot of hard work! As for advice, I’d recommend that new potential fosters do their research and chat with experienced fosters about ‘a day in the life’ to help decide if the lifestyle is right for them.” 

There are also personal challenges potential foster parents should consider. For Shastine, it was a challenge to say goodbye every time her foster pet found their forever family. “I thought that over time it would get easier but if I’m being honest, it doesn’t,” Shastine shares. “Though it can be hard at times, I remind myself time and time again why I do what I do as it’s the most rewarding feeling knowing that you lent a hand in ensuring that these animals received the care and love that each and every one of them deserved before they start their journey with their forever families.” 

Get Involved – Become a Foster Parent

Becoming a foster parent can be a fulfilling experience for both the pet and the foster family. Toronto Humane Society’s foster program has care-based position openings to better support animals with unique needs. Currently, we are only recruiting foster parents who can provide support to dogs that require behavioural assistance. However, other openings will emerge as needs change, and potential foster parents interested in different animals to continually check our website.