How one foster family finds fostering good for them both physically and mentally

Note: This story was originally published on Jan. 31, 2023

Simon Bolyn is a husband, father, and avid bird photographer based in Tampa Bay. For over 30 years he has fostered cats and dogs. He estimates that he has temporarily taken in about 15 dogs in the past. The longest he's ever fostered a dog was nine months, the shortest was one day.

Bolyn has many reasons for inviting furry friends to stay with him and his family. Since he primarily works from home, having a dog or two around provides welcomed distractions and unconditional companionship. He also finds the company of animals soothing. He credits his foster friends with helping to reduce anxiety for everyone in his house.

Fresh air and exercise for everyone

Bolyn also appreciates some of the obligations that come along with hosting a high energy dog, specifically the need to take them outside for exercise. "Having a dog - and needing to walk it regularly - forces you to get out of the house," said Bolyn. Though dog walking may feel like an obligation, Bolyn said the daily outings benefit him physically and mentally. Even if it's only for a quick loop around the block, his whole family enjoys taking the dogs out for fresh air and spending time together.

Giving love to as many foster pets as possible

Bolyn's biggest fostering challenge is the attachment he and his family develop towards pets. The emotional connections they form with the animals make it difficult to say good-bye. According to Bolyn, his main concern is that the pets are adopted into the right household. However, at the end of every foster relationship, he and his family take comfort knowing that they gave an animal in need a taste of love and a sense of home. Extending this experience to as many foster pets as possible motivates Bolyn and his family to continually invite furry friends to visit and thrive under their generous care.

Image Caption: Foster dog Felicity staying cozy in her unicorn hoodie during her stay with foster parents, the Bolyns
Last Modified: 2/12/2024, 2:23:43 PM

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