The benefits of fostering and adopting pets

Adopting a pet is a great way to give an animal a second chance at life, but the benefits don't stop there.

Written by Caitlin Saville

Many of us will agree that pets were the heroes of the pandemic. As we rushed to buy our lockdown companions, breeders struggled to keep up with demand, and the cost of designer puppies skyrocketed

However, since life has resumed, some furry friends have gone from being a buddy to being a burden. 

Last year the Guardian reported that the RSPCA recorded a 24% increase in pets being left at shelters. In the first six months of 2022, animal abonnement figures went up from 18,375 to 22,908 in the same period the previous year.

According to Alex Pearce, a volunteer with All 4 Paws Dog Rescue in Victoria, many of these animals need to be saved from being put down.

“At the moment we have 55 dogs in our care, and we would love for them to find their forever homes,” she says. 

Reports claim one of the main causes of animal surrender is rising living expenses. With that trend looking to continue, shelters are calling for people who have the means to consider adopting or fostering a pet. 

What is pet adoption?

Pet adoption is bringing an abandoned animal into your life permanently and providing them with a forever home. Pets up for adoption can come from animal shelters, rescue groups, or other pet adoption organisations. Typically, this means they have gone through medical evaluations and vaccinations before going home with their new owner. 

Looking for Pet Insurance? 

They bring out your best. Help protect them with Medibank Pet Insurance.

Three updated cover levels now available!Plus, health members save 10% on premiums.#  T&Cs apply.

What is pet fostering?

Pet fostering, on the other hand, is a short-term arrangement where you take a pet home until they find a permanent residence. Depending on the needs of the animal, fostering a pet can take anywhere from a few days to several months.

Many organisations provide foster parents with assistance and resources, including food, supplies, and veterinary care, so you won’t be out of pocket.

Before committing to pet fostering, it's important to check the RSPCA website to learn about the standards for foster care, which can differ between states and territories.

What are the benefits of adopting or fostering a pet? 

Adopting a pet is a great way to give an animal a second chance at life. You’re providing a loving home to an animal that might otherwise be euthanised.

Adopting or fostering is also usually much less expensive than buying from a breeder. Adoption fees typically cover the cost of vaccinations and other medical expenses the pet may have needed while in the shelter.

What’s more, there are a multiple mental health benefits to having a pet. Studies show pets can improve your mood, reduce stress and even help you socialise. 

For those who cannot commit to a lifelong pet but wish to improve the lives of animals, fostering is a great choice. It also helps animal shelters make room for more animals in need.

How can I adopt or foster a pet?

Fostering and adopting pets can be done in a variety of ways. Researching neighbourhood animal shelters, rescue groups, and pet adoption organisations is the best place to start — check their websites to learn about the animals up for adoption or foster care.

If you’re keen to adopt, the process is fairly simple. It involves filling out an application, undergoing an interview or home visit, and paying an adoption fee. The adoption agency will determine if you are a good match for the pet you want to adopt through the application procedure.

The application process for fostering is much the same but without any fees.

What should I consider before getting a pet?

There are several things to think about before bringing a new furry addition into the household. 


Consider whether you have the time to commit to a pet, as they will need plenty of attention for things like exercise, play, vet visits and mealtime. 


Think about whether you have the financial means to cover food, playthings, grooming equipment, and medical expenses.


Consider your lifestyle. If you have a busy work schedule or travel frequently it may be challenging to care for a pet. You also need to consider the size and accessibility of your home and yard. 


Look into the best breed for your lifestyle. Pets come in all shapes and sizes so choosing the right breed to suit you is important.

Join a pet community

One of the great things about adopting or fostering a pet is it provides an opportunity to connect with a local community. 

These days there are online pet networks and meet-up groups to connect with others who share similar interests in pets such as breed-specific clubs, rescue organisations, or general pet lover meetups. 

You may even want to get involved at your local shelter and take up volunteer opportunities that focus on animal welfare. 

Generally, you’ll find adopting or fostering a pet is a tremendously rewarding and worthwhile experience, as well as a great way to connect with like-minded individuals in your community.  

If you’re not ready quite ready to start fostering, rescue kennels like All 4 Paws are always welcoming volunteers or donations. Check out your local shelter to see what help they need.

Father hugs his daughter

Like what you're reading?

The Power Issue of Live Better magazine is here. Whether it's a digital detox or spending time by the ocean, delve into the small but powerful things we can do to recharge.

Written by Caitlin Saville

Caitlin Saville lives in Melbourne and has worked in the world of books, films and opera. You can follow her on Twitter @cjaville.


Previous article

Does your dog have separation anxiety?

Related articles