Animal advocates urge families to consider pet fostering

By: Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published June 29, 2022

  Foster pet dad Nick Taylor shows off two of his recent  houseguests, Theo and Cleo.

Foster pet dad Nick Taylor shows off two of his recent houseguests, Theo and Cleo.

Photo provided by Courtney Protz-Sanders

 Families can help save the lives of pets by fostering animals for their local shelter or rescue organization.

Families can help save the lives of pets by fostering animals for their local shelter or rescue organization.

Photo provided by Courtney Protz-Sanders


METRO DETROIT — Bringing a pet into a home can make a huge difference to an animal, even if it is just on a temporary basis.

Troy nonprofit Paws for Life Rescue is teaming up with national nonprofit Petco Love and the Skechers philanthropic footwear collection to put a focus on fostering pets and highlighting the importance of providing lifesaving care for animal shelters, particularly during the busy summer season.

“The real news out of all of this is that we have 85 million who own pets in the country, and if we could convince 2% of them to foster a pet, we could eliminate 800,000 shelter animals getting euthanized per year,” said Courtney Protz-Sanders, the executive director of Paws for Life Rescue.

Susanne Kogut, the president of Petco Love, added that pet fostering isn’t just an important cause — it can also be very rewarding.

“Pet fostering is important to save shelter pet lives, but it’s also a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s taking a pet temporarily in your house and loving them and caring for them until they are ready to go to their permanent house. At Petco Love, we declared June as National Foster a Pet Month. We chose June because the summer is the busiest time for shelters, with more animals being brought in. That is the time we need fosters the most.”

Fostering a pet means taking them into one’s home on a temporary basis. This usually means raising young animals such as kittens and puppies until they are old enough to be put up for adoption, but it also can include older animals whose lives are improved by getting some time with a family instead of staying in a shelter or rescue.

“The main duty is just to provide for them and provide them with love,” said Kogut. “It helps them settle in and lets them adapt to being around people. Sometimes, if they are very young, you might need to bottle feed a baby animal, but that isn’t something you have to take on if you aren’t ready for it. A shelter isn’t a very good environment for pets to be in. I don’t want to knock shelters because there are some very great shelters, but I think they would be the first to tell you that the best place for a pet is in a home.”

The time commitment can vary, depending on the animal.

“The time depends on the animal,” said Protz-Sanders. “Kittens, for example, can’t be up for adoption until they are eight weeks old. You would just be caring for them and playing with them until they are ready to go up for adoption. Animals who are older or injured might need extra care, but it would be the same kind of care if they were your permanent pet but on a temporary basis.”

“I think a lot of people think fostering will just be a lot of work, but those who have done it will say the pets can be socialized, they can be taught everything they need and they can be prepared for their permanent home,” added Kogut.   

Protz-Sanders said that organizations such as Paws for Life often provide assistance to the pets’ foster families.

“Paws for Life provides everything they need,” she said. “Toys, food, dishes, everything you need to foster. Anything you do pay to provide is tax deductible. We also provide free medical care while you are fostering them. It’s helpful, it saves animals and it is at no cost to you.”

Kogut said that, as people foster more, they discover what kinds of animals they are comfortable caring for.

“It will likely be a different experience depending on what pet you foster. People can contact their local shelter or rescue that runs fostering programs,” she said. “What happens over time when people foster animals, they learn what kind of pet they are comfortable fostering and what works for them. Shelters usually have a good variety so they can find something that works for your situation.”

Protz-Sanders said that families who already have pets can benefit from getting involved in fostering.

“With a rescue or shelter community, you become part of that community,” she said. “You have a whole group of people behind you so you can get help, even if the problem is your own permanent pet.”

There are a number of organizations that offer fostering opportunities.

“People can look for local shelters and rescue organizations. We work with Paws for Life Rescue in the metro Detroit area, so they are obviously wonderful,” said Kogut. “The Michigan Humane Society is a wonderful organization who also works with Petco. Any rescue group and most shelters have fostering programs that people can reach out to.”    

More information on Paws for Life is available at or by calling (248) 906-8752. More information on the Michigan Humane Society is available by going to

“Just call your local shelter or rescue and see if they have a foster program,” said Protz-Sanders. “You are saving a life.”