How You Can Help Foster an Animal From Your Local Shelter

April 11, 2018

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A sunny gal from Cali living in the south of France. I adore slow living, magic, and celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I’m a self-proclaimed Disney nerd (as is my husband!), obsessed with cats and cocoa, and you can often find me swimming with the fishies in the salty sea. Come along and enjoy the magic, the simple joys of life with me...



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If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you’re an animal lover like myself. Whether you have a pet at home now or you’re looking to adopt a new furry friend in the future, I can’t express myself enough when I say: you should foster!

Now let me first go out and say that my boyfriend and I don’t have any pets. We move around every year and we are constantly finding last minute flight deals and venturing off on new adventures. Because of our adventurous lifestyle, adopting a cat or dog is simply not in the cards for us at the present time. But believe me when I say we cannot wait to adopt a few dogs and cats when we’re older and more settled down! You know how some ladies dream of becoming mothers and having babies someday? I spend my days day-dreaming about the Border Collie/Vizsla/Golden Retriever/Dachshund we’ll someday have in our big mid-western backyard! I dream of a beautiful wrap-around porch, a grassy yard with big trees, and plenty of cats lazily lounging around our home. I dream of being an animal-mom and rescuer someday. But just because I have dreams of being an animal mom someday doesn’t mean I can’t do it today.

Thanks to fostering!

When Alex and I moved to our little colonial town in Virginia, we realized how empty our house could feel and how much we wanted a cuddly companion to come home to everyday. But with our traveling lifestyle and future plans to move around the world, we decided to look into fostering form the local animal welfare league – or AWLA in Alexandria!

Not only is the process super easy (you simply add your name and animal preferences to a spreadsheet via email!), but it is all free! The local shelter gave us bedding, cat toys, plenty of dry/wet food, dishes, cat litter, and a litter box! The only thing we had to pay for was an uber ride.

Fostering with Alexandria Animal Welfare 

For the last 6 months, Alex and I had 2 playful sibling kittens, another precious kitten we named Timmy, a very shy kitty named Tweedle and presently a very active and affectionate 2 year old cat named Malachi. All cats had upper respiratory infections (or kitty colds) and some needed medicine to be taken orally daily. Some cats needed a patient and soothing voice to help them socially adapt to humans and others just needed room to roam around! Shelters can be highly stressful environments for animals. Being cooped up in a cage with other animals all day can be intimidating for most dogs and cats, and fostering is a wonderful way to introduce animals who have been neglected, abused, or just found around town a warm home and a chance to be around loving people. It’s providing help to animals who still haven’t found their forever home.

Curious about fostering?

  1. Do a quick Google search and see if there are any nearby shelters or non-profits that need to foster animals! We found quite a bit of no-kill organizations here in Alexandria like our favorite King Street Cats!
  2. Email your information over to them, including your availability, what animals you would like to foster (cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, snakes, etc), and if you have any pets at home presently. If you don’t have a car, make sure to mention that in your application.
  3. Complete an orientation for some animal welfare organizations / shelters. Ours at AWLA was 1 hour and included a tour of their facilities!
  4. Make sure to clean all your bedding/floors because your new friends arrive!
  5. Chat with your shelter’s team about handling medication and ask any questions if you have them!

It’s really as simple as that! Fostering here in Alexandria has been the easiest and most rewarding thing for us. To provide animals in need with a loving home and temporary parents has been fulfilling and just so much fun! All of our pets have made lasting impressions and little footprints of love on our hearts, and we hope to continue to foster in each new city we move to.

Have you ever fostered? What was your experience? And do you have any shelter recommendations we can foster at? Let me your experiences in the comments below!

Some pictures of our furry foster friends!


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I'm Helena, your new kindred spirit.

Sunny free-spirit, writer and creator in love with documenting the simple joys of life. I am passionate about noticing light and truth around me and reflecting it back to others.

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