If you've thought about getting a pet, but aren't sure you're ready for a long-term commitment, you can still satisfy your animal urges by becoming a foster parent to a pet.
Dori Villalon runs the foster pet program at the humane society in Boulder Valley, Colo. And she shared with The Early Show Anchor Bryant Gumbel how to get involved.
The program is designed to find volunteers who would be willing to take in healthy as well as injured pets on a temporary basis to help out overcrowded animal shelters.
"We have a family in Boulder that visits in the summer and gets animals from us so they can have something to play with during the summer. It's our needs first but your needs also," explains Villalon.
Pets are matched according to the volunteers' lifestyle and animal history.
"We're going to ask you, do you have other animals at home? Do you have small children?" she says.
So for example, working couples would probably get a mature animal with a nursing litter, as opposed to a litter of bottle baby kittens, she adds.
Volunteers are given supplies, education and support with the hope that they would do the right thing, Villalon notes.
Most animal shelters have volunteer programs because they're private/nonprofit or run by the government, but the best way to find out is to call your local shelter directly.
"If they don't, then they need volunteers to come forward. Because in most humane societies there just isn't enough staff to bottle-feed babies and take care of puppies. Those animals are probably being euthanized," she says.
And for most pets the experience to live in a place other than the shelter is usually positive.
"The puppy learns house-breaking and learns how to socialize so when you give it back to the humane society, I place it that much faster because I know something about it," she adds.
For more information visit their Web site.
©1999 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved