Everything you need to know about fostering with Pet Helpers

Tori McKelvey

By Tori McKelvey

Pet Helpers Foster Program

Q: Why should I foster?

A: Some dogs and cats do not do well in shelters mainly because of anxiety issues and needing to have constant attention. Pet Helpers is also a no-kill shelter, which can lead to overcrowding, while fostering allows for more animals to be cared for. Most everyone craves to have a companion by his/her side. If someone is on the border of adopting a dog and wants to dip their toes in the water, this is perfect! The time commitment and other responsibilities will come to light and show if they truly are ready for it all.

Q: What is the financial responsibility?

A: As a college student, I couldn’t imagine having to pay for vet bills, food and all the other necessities. Fostering takes out all the financial factors! Everything is supplied — food, toys, collar & leash, crate. It is still a huge responsibility, but they make the job easier.

Q: What will I be responsible for?

A: The responsibilities are to let ’em out, feed ‘em, love ‘em, care for ‘em. Each animal is different and will have specific needs (e.g. weight loss or training). While applying to be a foster and choosing an animal, the workers at Pet Helpers will help to decide a perfect fit based on what the foster is looking for and can handle. These depend on how much attention they can receive, exercise, training time, etc.

Q: How long is the commitment? 

A: Animals at the shelter are waiting for adoption, always. The shelter and the foster will agree upon a certain amount of time or an indefinite amount of time until the animal is adopted. The foster animal could be waiting weeks or months until someone wants to adopt him/her into a forever home. Here’s a blip about my experience: I am fostering an 8-year-old pit bull mix, Nella. Her back leg limps, but she still moves where she needs to go. She has the sweetest soul and very much loves to lie on her back with her head in my lap. She is about 20 pounds overweight with her belly filling out the floor when she lays down. My responsibility is to help her lose weight with her diet and exercise. She has recently taken a liking to 2-year-old Charlie, who loves to play with her and chomp off some pounds. I take her on short walks around the neighborhood four times a day which also helps in the slimming process. Shedding off weight would surely help her back legs. Her favorite thing to do is cuddle, and by that I mean get all up in your space-bubble. She’s a total love-bug. If I nap next to her, I need to be the first to fall asleep. Her snore is a song you can’t fall asleep to. Nella really needs a forever home! My other responsibility is to put out the word for her and Pet Helpers and make this possible. That is the goal. Find them a forever home! While I cannot afford to adopt, I have plenty of time to take care of her needs; you probably have the time to foster a fuzzy creature, too. Could you also be a perfect fit?

Becoming Involved

Q: How can I foster?

A: You can apply online here! If Pet Helpers accepts you, you will start receiving emails with information about animals, whether it be dogs or cats, and you can inquire about which fuzzy creature could be right for you.

About Pet Helpers

Pet Helpers is a no-kill shelter based in Charleston, South Carolina, supported primarily by private donations. Their mission is to end euthanasia, promote forever adoptions, provide humane education and fund low-cost spay/neuter surgeries.

1447 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412 | Adoption Center (843) 795-1110 | Spay/Neuter Clinic (843) 302-0556 | pethelpers.org