By Giselle Rodriguez
Lets face it, pet ownership is not for everyone. According to ASPCA, on average $1000 is spent on the first year for all basic animal expenses, and that amount increases throughout the years. (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “Pet Statistics”, 2019). What if there was a way to enjoy the fun side of having a pet without having to consider the costs of its basic needs? Similar to many animal shelters who provide fostering programs, PAWS Chicago provides food, water, and funds to cover veterinary emergencies if they were to occur. For this reason, fostering is a great option because not only does it benefit your local animal shelter, but you are also able to contribute in saving lives and save money all at the same time.
PAWS volunteers and staff say that emotional attachment is the hardest part of fostering. Sheila, who has volunteered for 11 years and has fostered for 2 years, stated, “At first it’s hard but it gets easier. It’s so fun...you don’t need a lot of space, they are as happy as they can be.” Ashleigh, a PAWS fostering team coordinator mentioned that the best part of her job is “to be able to witness the transformation of an animal from extremely shy, sick, or near death, to a healthy canine or feline… it is a true blessing.” The practice of temporary care has many benefits: the animals learn how to be a pet ready for adoption, residential pets enjoy the company, and kids are able to learn the importance of taking care of an animal.
As reported by the Humane Society, “Of the 3 million cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year, approximately 2.4 million (80%) are healthy and treatable and could have been adopted into new homes.” (The Humane Society of the United States, “Pets by the Numbers”, 2019). Fostering animals helps prevent these sad cases from occurring. As PAWS Chicago would say, “every pet is worth saving.” Consider fostering if you would like a pet, but might need to save on overall pet care costs.