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National Love Your Pet Day: Our pets help us as a foster family

17th February, 2021

It's National Love Your Pet Day 2021 and we couldn't be more excited to spend it with our favourite furry (or not so furry) friends! 

We’re a nation of animal lovers and over 12 million of us share our homes with pets - that’s a whopping 44% of UK households. Whether it’s dogs, cats, rabbits or goldfish, they’re all part of the family and we couldn't be without them. 

Our lovely South East foster carers, Susan and Val,  shared with us how their pets have had a positive impact on their whole family and the children they foster, they said:

"We have found that having pets has helped with our fostering role in a number of ways. The most obvious is that animals can offer uncomplicated and unconditional love. This can really help to ease a young person into a placement. Most of our cats, past and present, and our dog, welcome attention and cuddles and having a cat come and sleep on their lap or at the end of their bed helps new placements to feel welcome and accepted in our family.

"They also provide a safe subject to talk about and a way to find out some of a young person’s previous life experiences in an unthreatening way. Young people are usually happy to talk about pets they have had at home or in other placements and this can lead on to talking about the people in their lives and places they have lived and opens up a dialogue.

Pandora's favourite place to sit and watch the world

"Another positive is that looking after animals can give young people a sense of responsibility and an awareness of another’s needs, which sometimes they have not had the opportunity to develop, especially where they have come from situations of emotional neglect.

"I would say that our pets have, with some of our young people, helped them to overcome fears, (two of our girls had a real fear of cats when they came to us). In working to overcome that fear, they have experienced success and a sense of achievement and also learned strategies to help them to overcome other fears in the future.

Loki and Tiberius enjoy getting their picture taken!

Pandora loves going on long walks with the family

"Finally, our pets are also there for us, as carers. We also need to feel their unconditional love when we’ve had a challenging day. Our role can be demanding and emotionally draining at times, but Pandora, Loki, and Tiberius are always happy to see us and can help us to relax and unwind. We definitely wouldn’t be without them!"

A common misconception about fostering is that you won't be able to foster if you have pets. However, as you have just read, there are many benefits to fostering with pets, find out more here

We would love to here from you if your pets that have made a difference to your family as well, get in touch here

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