Why you should foster street animals during winter?


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In the midst of freezing weather, even animals are prone to frostbite and dehydration. Although they have fur, exposure to an unkind snowstorm and frost may well be a threat. Well-fed animals gain meat that helps them stay insulated through nose-diving temperatures. Pet animals are usually taken care of; it is the street animals that need our help. In winters, the crippling cold can be a matter of life and death for these strays.

How to help stray animals in winter?

Here are a few things we can all easily do to help stray dogs or feral cats:

1. If you never had any pets or if you are uncomfortable to deal with any animals, then immediately call animal rescue volunteers or support groups. They will be well equipped and experienced to handle different kinds of animals and birds.

2. Whenever you spot a homeless animal, you can intimate the local rescue organizations and animal shelters. Though the shelters will need a few days time to come and pick them up, at least other volunteer groups will be informed so they can make alternative arrangements in the meantime. Occasionally, it so happens that the strays turn out to be lost pets, and the local agency can help reunite them with their families.

3. You can keep a bowl of water and some food in the vicinity where homeless strays are usually spotted. You can also keep water and food outside your house. The strays usually have to go searching for food in harsh weather, so finding food makes them relieved. It is better to check and replace the food or water often, in case it gets frozen due to the chill. You can try keeping the food at regular times so that a stray gets to know when it can approach.

4. You can make snug beds for them to rest and stay warm using straws and cardboard boxes. Avoid making beds with blankets, clothes, towels, or hay because these things can absorb moisture, turn cold, and freeze. Smaller size beds or pet houses are ideal as it helps the animal to curl up and stay warm.

5. If you choose to provide refuge to a stray animal inside your home for a longer period of time then first take it to a shelter home or a veterinary doctor to get it examined for immunization and check its temperament, think whether it is feasible to keep the stray indoors with humans, children or other pet animals. It would help if you also got it checked for any diseases. One common advice is to always bang the car hoods before starting the cars as small strays find warm nooks such as the car engine to save themselves from the cold. Not all stray animals are ready to get domesticated immediately. Providing them shelter and food is the next best option. Be patient, and don't get discouraged until the animal warms up to your efforts. We cannot help all the millions of strays, but at least we can try fostering any strays we come across during these gloomy and chilly winters.

Why is Winter the Best Time to Rescue a Street Animal?

If you identify yourself as an animal lover, one of the most gracious and thoughtful things you could do this season is โ€“ foster a street animal. At any given time of the year, you will find many stray dogs and cats in your immediate or next neighborhood. While these stray dogs and cats usually have learned how to fend for themselves, the winter season is harsher for them than others. While many pet-friendly people routinely feed these strays on the street, the cold and unpredictable weather conditions that prevail during the December-January time period keep them indoors at large. Winter is a difficult time for our pets at home, so you can only imagine what it must be like for these animals, which have no home to call theirs.

Our indoor pets have the warmth of the fireplace or your cozy apartment. The stray animals on the street have no such luxury. The harsh cold and approaching storm is enough to endanger their lives. Not many street animals survive the harsh times of Winter. If you are fond of animals, you might like to rescue some of these strays for the time being. You do not need to adopt them. Simply fostering them during the cold season will be an extremely thoughtful gesture. Moreover, if youโ€™ve always played around with the idea of rescuing a street animal โ€“ there is no better time than Winter. The animals will most appreciate your gesture now.

Animal rescue shelters usually run drives to rescue cats and dogs off the street during the colder months. However, they can only rescue a limited number of street animals. Most run out of capacity to take in any more stray animals when approached. What do you do in such a situation? If you think you are capable of caring for this animal, you should bring him/her home. Perhaps, consider taking them to the vet first if you have young kids in the house to prevent any accidents.

Little things you can do to ensure a strayโ€™s life

Even if you are unable to house this rescued dog/cat, you can prepare a cardboard box for them to snuggle up in. Throw in old towels or blankets to help them keep warm, and they will be indebted to you for your kindness. They may not have a home to call their own, but at least they have you as their temporary caregiver and a safe space where they can find refuge from the cold wind and snow. If it is possible, leave out some food and water for your rescue. A well-fed dog/cat is more resilient against germs and diseases. Lastly, clothe them in your old Tshirt or top โ€“ animals need protection against the cold too! You may not be able to rescue every cold pup/kitten out on the streets, but at least you can bring holiday cheer to a couple. Every bit of effort counts.

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