Animal rescues across the country have seen a spike in adoptions and foster applications during the COVID-19 pandemic. Who wouldn’t want to quarantine with a furry friend?! We’re nearing the fourth month of #WFH life, and you may be itching to get out of the house. What better way to enter back into the outdoors than by hitting the parks with a cute new pup?

Well, wait a minute. Are you ready to care for a pet past quarantine? Adoption is a big commitment and is a decision that should be made carefully. If you haven’t owned a pet of your own before, perhaps it’s best to start with fostering. That way, you can test the waters, as well as give a pet a loving home until he/she is adopted.

If you haven’t been a foster parent before…FYI, fostering is PAWESOME! Even Wagmo’s founder is a foster mom! Here are some things to consider when making the decision to foster a pet:

Is your home safe for a pet / does your landlord even allow pets? You need to make sure your house is ready for a furry friend, and that you are prepared to buy the supplies needed to care for the pet in the interim. Fostering is not a free way to enjoy being a pet owner: while the rescue agency will pay for many of the costs associated with fostering, you need to be prepared to provide food, supplies, toys, etc.. to ensure you’re giving the pet the best care possible in the interim.

You will become the pet’s biggest advocate for getting adopted. That means, you’ll have to bring the pet to adoption events, brag about him/her to your friends, and maybe even pass out marketing materials from the rescue agency.

On that note, you’ll want to get involved in the foster family community. Not only is it a great source of playdates and shared responsibilities (like walking!), but it is also a great place to get advice. Talking with other foster parents about your experience and hearing theirs is a great practice that “normal” pet owners don’t usually get to do!

Each pet is different, and you can’t always expect sunshine and rainbows. Fostering means you’re taking a pet in that is in dire need of a home. You don’t know if this animal came from the streets or was abused in the past. Be prepared that each pet’s background will be different, and keep your mind (and heart!) open. You may end up forming a unique connection with the animal and either adopt it or gravitate towards that breed.

Saying goodbye is hard, and it doesn’t get easier! Nurturing a pet back to good health is an emotional, bonding experience that nobody will understand besides YOU. On one hand, you’ll be thrilled to see him/her go to a loving home, but you will miss them dearly. Know that you’ve made a difference in their life and that’s something you can hold onto.

You might just end up adopting the pet! It’s easy to fall in love with a pet you’re fostering, and if you’re in the right financial and emotional place to adopt, you may just do it! Keep an open mind when fostering and if you do decide to adopt, let us know and we might just give you a free month of Wagmo for being a #FosterFail.

So if you’ve read this whole article and are ready to foster, here’s how you can sign up today: Find a rescue group or shelter near you and contact them directly. You’ll likely have to fill out an application and if you are approved, you’ll go through an interview process. Rescue groups take this process seriously, because it is important that foster parents are well- equipped to take in an animal!