Many volunteers at Red Door are familiar with Coraline, the cute little cat who showed up on our door one day with four newborn kittens. All of her offspring had been adopted, and Coraline still waited. Finally a lovely couple came along interested in adopting Coraline, but they had some reservations. One of them had experienced allergies to cats in the past, and wanted to be sure that adopting a cat wouldn't worsen those allergies. So they decided to try fostering Coraline first, to see if their allegies became an issue, and also to make sure that Coraline was the right fit for them. Needless to say, and as you can see from the photo, they felt Coraline was a wonderful fit (and she agreed), and the foster parents reported no allergy flare ups. The couple was more than thrilled with her, and they decided to move ahead with the adoption.
Fostering is a great way to try out an animal, especially if you're unsure if the animal is the right fit for your home, or if you're concerned about any issues. The process is very similar to that of adoption, though it's not as permanent. That way, if it doesn't work out with the animal for some reason, they can come back to the shelter, and we can say that they got a nice vacation from the shelter. Of course, everyone's hope is that it does work out in the end, and that their story ends the same as Coraline's.
Of course, some volunteers foster animals, long term or short term, for a variety of reasons. Some foster just to give the animal a break from the shelter, some foster because it helps to create space for more animals at the shelter, some foster because a home environment is always more enjoyable for an animal than a shelter environment, some foster for terminally ill animals or animals with medical conditions, etc. The reasons are infinite. Please consider opening your home to foster an animal in need.