All About Fostering
Foster families play a crucial role in animal rescue. For so many animals that come into our care, the foster home serves as a transition from a life of neglect into the world of beloved companion.
Many dogs that end up in our care may never have known the comforts of home and the love of a family. Foster families provide these dogs a place to heal their spirits and sometimes their bodies while they wait for their forever families to find them.
Fostering is a rewarding albeit sometimes challenging experience. It may be difficult to say good-bye, but you'll know it has been worthwhile when your foster dog and his forever family leave with their shadows hand in paw.
Why should I become a foster parent for a rescue dog?
By providing a temporary home you may be saving a dog's life as well as helping it to achieve a successful adoption. Animals that are adopted out of foster care are much more likely to remain in their adoptive homes for life. Because you will know the animal the best, you will have a strong voice in matching your foster dog to an adoptive family.
Where do the animals come from?
Many of our rescued dogs were rescued as strays or come from area kill shelters. All dogs are examined by a veterinarian and carefully evaluated for temperament prior to placement. We will not place in foster care dogs that have a history of aggression or show the potential for it.
What will I need to do?
Foster homes are responsible for the daily care of the foster dog including: feeding, socializing, exercising, grooming, observing behavior and temperament, and most importantly providing love and security during a difficult time in a dog’s life.
How much time does it take?
From an hour a day to however much time you care to spend. Most are quite grateful for any attention and will bond with you quickly. In some cases, animals may need to be taken to the vet for follow-ups, vaccinations, etc. Another volunteer can transport the pet if you are unable to do so.
May I choose the dog that I foster?
You will be asked to state your preferences when you fill out your application and are free to set limits on the kinds of animal that you foster. Before placement, we will discuss at length and ask you to meet any potential foster dog that we are thinking of for you. If any foster dog that you've accepted is not working out in your home, it can be placed elsewhere, but please realize this cannot always be done immediately. We will do our best to find an alternate place for the dog as soon as possible.
Do I have to be home all day to foster?
The reality is that few pets have the luxury of having their people home all day and fosters are no different. You can work outside the home and still foster, although there is a limit to the amount of time the animal can be left alone. For the safety of the foster, your own pet(s), and to protect your home, we recommend the use of a crate to confine foster dogs whenever you cannot directly supervise it. We will provide an appropriately sized crate for you to use while you are fostering.
What do I have to do to get the animal ready for adoption?
Mostly, they just need love and attention. Many will need house training and crate training. Some will need to gain or lose weight. If you want to start basic obedience training for dogs, that is great, but it is not required. Having another dog in the home already eases obedience training. You will be surprised by how much a foster dog learns from observing your forever dog(s).
How much does it cost to foster?
We will provide good quality food, supplies, medications and vet care, unless you choose to donate these expenses. Otherwise all you need to provide is love. You may have additional expenses for any toys that you choose to provide and any damage that the foster may cause.
Will I become attached to the foster dog?
Probably. Rescue is not without tearful good-byes. However, you will feel great warmth in knowing that you helped your foster dog move onto a home for life and if you are willing, you will have room to help another dog, saving two lives.
What if I can't keep my foster any longer?
Although it is best for dogs to remain in one foster home, we realize that life sometimes takes unexpected turns. If an emergency arises or the animal is not working out in your home, you can contact the foster care coordinator to find a new foster home. Please realize this cannot always be done immediately. We will do our best to find an alternate place for the dog as soon as possible.
May I adopt my foster dog?
You won't be encouraged or expected to adopt your foster, however, the reality of fostering is that foster families can and do fall in love with their pets. Therefore, foster families are given first right of adoption if they can't let the animal go.
I don't know much about dogs. Is there training?
Absolutely! You will be given one on one training from one of our volunteers. All foster families receive a foster care manual and will be in regular contact with the foster care coordinator or other volunteers.
What if I have questions or problems with a foster dog?
In addition to the foster care coordinator you will be provided with a list of contacts who you may contact whenever the need arises.
I'd like to foster, what do I do next?
Once your family has decided to foster for us, you may begin by filling out one of our foster applications. We ask foster families to go through the same process as adoptive families. Once your application has been received, the Foster Care Coordinator will contact you to talk in more detail about your responsibilities and answer your questions.
Why do I have to go through the adoption approval process to foster?
We ask foster homes to complete the adoption process for two reasons. First, the foster family will be familiar and comfortable with the adoption process and how families for their foster pet are screened. Secondly, many foster families do eventually bond deeply with one of their foster dogs and choose to adopt it.
If I can't be a Foster Parent, is there another way I can help?
You can volunteer! You can conduct adoption and foster care interviews, you can transport dogs, you can assist with fundraisers, education, adoption events, etc. If you have some spare time, we can find a mutually agreeable way to fill it. We are always grateful for help and you will be glad to be more involved with a group of people who share your love of animals.