Fostering a pet: how to do it and why you should

What does it mean to be a foster parent for pets?

An interview with Danielle Cummings, development coordinator for Gainesville Pet rescue, provided the ins and outs of fostering for all of those who are interested (and you should be!)


Danielle Cummings, development coordinator for GPR. Photo by Susanne Massa

Fostering is important in two ways: it ensures that more animals are being saved and it can be an important first step for adoptable cats and dogs. For dogs especially, being in a foster home provides a better quality of life than staying at the shelter. Foster parents provide the love, attention and training an adoptable dog needs in order to blossom into the best version of themselves. Foster volunteers are asked to keep a journal of dogs’ likes, dislikes, and overall temperament to improve their chances of finding a forever family that fits their needs and behavior.

“The more fosters we have, the more animals we can save,” Cummings said.


Siblings, Avi (left) and Marla (right), two of GPR’s current rescue puppies. Marla and Avi will be available for adoption soon after receiving their spay/neuter surgeries. Photo by Susanne Massa

Gainesville is full of stray cats, and when spring comes along (or “kitten season,” as Cummings described it), there will inevitably be a surplus of kittens who need some extra TLC. Foster parents provide the kind of round-the-clock care that newborn kittens so desperately need but may not be able to receive at crowded shelters.


2-year-old Katniss, one of GPR’s current rescue cats. Katniss is available for adoption. Photo by Susanne Massa

To apply for the GPR foster program, you must be at least 18 years of age, agree to keep pets indoors (aside from walks and outings, of course) and all current household pets must be spayed or neutered. Preferences such as age, gender, etc. can be accommodated, and all supplies will be provided by the rescue. Rescues and shelters have a limited capacity, and those who can temporarily open their home to a pet in need are strongly encouraged to consider doing so.

“Our goal is to become a no-kill county in 2017,” Cummings said. “This means a live outcome rate of 90% at Alachua County Animal Services.”

This goal is only possible through the help of foster parents. Gainesville residents can click here to support the effort and apply for the GPR foster program. For the readers outside of Gainesville, a quick Google search for nearby rescues should do the trick! Happy fostering!

Love always,



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