If you can't adopt, foster!

foster catAdopting a shelter animal is an amazing way to change lives. Not only are you rescuing a homeless animal in need, but your life and the lives of your family members are sure to change as well. Many of us want to help homeless animals in any way possible, but the reality is that adoption simply isn't an option for everyone. However, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria's foster care program is an excellent alternative for animal lovers that are able to provide temporary care.

Fostering an animal in need is a rewarding and sometimes heart-breaking experience. The League's foster care program helps kittens and puppies that are too young to be adopted, as well as adult animals recovering from major medical procedures or simply in need of a home environment to remedy behavioral issues. Our network of foster caregivers provides animals with the one-on-one attention, care, and love that they require in order to prepare the animals for adoption and beyond.

"Our foster program and the caregivers who volunteer are invaluable to the League and our homeless animals," says Autumn Vigil, foster program coordinator. "It's truly rewarding for caregivers to see animals find their forever homes and know they had a hand in making it possible."

Foster caregivers come from all walks of life and almost anyone can volunteer to provide a temporary home for animals requiring foster care. In a recent article in the Belvoir Eagle, Vigil points out that military families unable to have pets permanently are ideal candidates for the foster program. Families that currently have pets at home can also become caregivers, as can busy working singles, retirees, and anyone over the age of 18. The League carefully matches caregivers with animals, and vice versa, and the foster period can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

The League provides all basic care items to foster caregivers as well as medical care. Training classes are held and networking and communication between foster homes is encouraged. Although many animals require foster care before they are available for adoption, there are some adoptable animals living outside of the shelter. Buffy and Monkey are currently searching for their forever home from the comfort of a foster home. After several stressful months in the shelter, both animals required a quiet, stable, home environment where they could continue their quest for a permanent, loving family. Foster care has done wonders for them and they are ready to begin the next chapter in their lives.

No matter what your background is and what type of lifestyle you live, you can open your heart and home to animals in need of a foster home. Please visit www.AlexandriaAnimals.org/foster for more information and to complete and application. You may also contact Autumn Vigil at avigil@AlexandriaAnimals.org or 703.746.4774 for more information.

Foster care truly makes a difference in the lives of animals like Blossom. Visit www.AlexandriaAnimals.org/TailOfTheDay to read her story and learn how her foster parents saved her life and prepared her for adoption.

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