How to have a pet without owning one - Supplied by "Don't Fret Pet!"
You're not in a position to take on a full-time pet but you know in your heart that a pet would be good for the kids. You know that many studies have shown that children who have been brought up in a home that has a pet grow up to be more caring individuals, with more empathy toward other people and what is happening in their world. You've also read that caring for a pet can teach a child how to be more responsible. Despite all this you just can't commit to a long-term pet at this time or perhaps to the expense of one.
Downside: you have to give the dogs back
Phone: 1300 30 70 21
Raise an Assistance or Guide Dog
Both Assistance Dogs Australia and Guide Dogs use puppy raisers to care for pups from about the age of 8 weeks to 14 or 18 months. These dogs are then trained to assist physically disabled or sight impaired people in the community.
Puppy Raisers are responsible for feeding, grooming and exercising the dogs daily, along with basic obedience, house-training, and visits to the vet when needed. You also need to socialise the pup and provide it with plenty of fun and games. You may be required to attend some training sessions on basic obedience.
Benefits: you get the dogs as pups and watch them grow up, you are helping someone in the community, most of the major expenses are paid
Downside: you get the dogs as pups! You have to give them back, you need to be involved in basic training which is time-consuming, the commitment is for up to 18 months
Sponsor an Assistance or Guide Dog
Sponsor a guide dog in training. For $10-30 per month, depending on which state you live in, you can watch them grow from cuddly puppies into responsible Guide Dogs with regular updates on their progress and without the responsibility of having a dog in your home.
For $2 a day you can sponsor an assistance dog to be trained to assist people with physical disabilities.
Benefits: you don't need to adjust your home or lifestyle to include a pet, you are doing something for the community, donations are tax-deductible
Downside: you don't actually get to have a pet
Volunteer as a Foster Carer with a rescue organisation
Fostered dogs are usually dogs that have been rescued from pounds and often need a temporary home for only a few weeks before a permanent loving home is found
All vet bills and extra expenses are usually paid for by the rescue groups but you would usually need to provide food and assist with the rehoming by meeting with potential new owners. This could be difficult for the kids to see dogs coming and going but it could also give them a genuine feeling of helping an animal that may have otherwise been euthanased.
Benefits: you are helping save a dog's life, you only have the dog for a few weeks, the major expenses are paid
Downside: you don't know for sure when the dog is leaving, you don't know its background
Fostering a Cat
A foster carer looks after a cat from the time it is rescued from a pound until it is adopted. This can be from one to two months, less for kittens.
You help in rehoming the cat, putting signs up and interviewing prospective owners.
Benefits: you are helping save a cat's life, you only have the cat for 1 to 2 months, the major expenses are paid
Downside: you don't know for sure when the cat is leaving, you don't know its background
You can volunteer to care for injured, sick or orphaned wildlife. You would need to attend training workshops and there is a small charge for this. You usually have to pay a small joining fee as well.
The majority of wildlife needing care is birds but some mammals require care as well.
Benefits: you are helping save an animal's life, you only have the animal for a limited time
Downside: you don't know for sure when the animal is leaving, you pay for the food and must provide cages, you need to attend courses