baby gerbils foster

Fostering Animals & Adopting

“Rescue: It’s not just a verb. It’s a promise.”


Fostering animals can be temporary, which helps you determine if your kids could handle a pet – or you can help foster wildlife for a close-up experience.

Is your child begging you for a pet? Do you wonder if your child is responsible enough to care for a pet? Do you wonder if a pet would fit your family’s lifestyle?

Adopting helps kids see that one person can make a difference. Adopting an animal in need opens the floodgates to unconditional love and joy and also helps other animals by making room to save even more lives. A foster can be a temporary or a permanent new friend.

fostering animals baby gerbils

My Babies

Waking up every few hours to bottle feed these little gerbil babies was a life-changing experience. It taught me compassion, persistence, dedication, and responsibility.

And JOY. What a feeling of accomplishment when all three little gerbils lived!

Why foster?

Foster care is the perfect opportunity for you and your family to learn and care for a pet without the obligation of a long-term commitment.

It’s not just kittens and puppies. Ducks, guinea pigs, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons – so many creatures and animal societies can use your help.

Fostering or volunteering at a shelter is a wonderful way to help out those in need and prepares children for caring for a beloved creature long term.

Pets are often bought on impulse but never should be. Too often, they become unwanted guests dumped when the realization hits that they are more work expected.


  • You can foster animals short-term in your own home until they are found a permanent home.
  • Some animals need help overcoming sickness, injury, or abuse before they can be adopted (these may not always be the most compatible with young children.
  • Formula feed baby animals (orphaned kittens or puppies or some wildlife)
  • Permanently adopt an animal: dog, cat, guinea pig, turtles – even Axotols!

Getting started

Check with your local humane society. You can search wildlife sanctuaries, rescues, or small animal rescue centers. There are many options available depending on your age, availability, experience, and comfort level.

Websites like: or are good resources. Also, many pet stores are offering adoption-only pets (like PetSmart)

Tip: If your child has a particular animal interest, try web searches to volunteer, foster, or adopt that animal. For example, do they love rabbits? I googled “rabbit fostering” and found dozens of options, like this one


If you prefer not to have your kids bring animals into your home, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities with both pets and wildlife shelters and sanctuaries. Did you know there are even some incredible international opportunities for youths and families? Costa Rica, Australia, and Africa – work with sea turtles, elephants, sloths, and kangaroos! See this post for some inspiration.

Symbolic fostering or Adoptions

There are programs where you can ‘adopt’ or sponsor an animal and follow its travels with live GPS trackers.

We currently follow “our” own elephant, sea turtle, and hammerhead shark! It’s pretty cool. See below for more details.

This is a terrific way to spark interest and help our beautiful planet too!

Interested in learning more?

Here are some posts with more details on giving some gifts that keep giving.

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