Foster families play a crucial role in animal rescue. For so many animals that come into the care of Homes for Pets, the foster home serves as a transition from a life of neglect into the world of beloved companion.
Many pets that end up in our care may never have known the comforts of home and the love of a family. Foster families provide these pets with 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 pet and their forever family leave with their shadows hand in paw.
This section is designed to answer the frequently asked questions about fostering, and give you information on how to join our foster program or become involved with Homes for Pets in other ways.
By providing a temporary home you may be saving a pet’s life as well as helping him or her 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 best, you will have a strong voice in matching your foster pet to an adoptive family.
Many of our rescued pets were rescued as strays or came from area shelters, some of which have little or no funding for treating rescued or sick animals. Others are surrendered by owners or rescued by Homes for Pets volunteers when found running stray or owner abandoned. All foster pets are examined by a veterinarian and carefully evaluated for temperament prior to placement. We do not place in foster care, pets that have a history of aggression or show the potential for it.
Foster homes are responsible for the daily care of the foster animal including: feeding, socializing, exercising, grooming, observing behavior and temperament, and most importantly providing love and security during a difficult time in a pet’s life.
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 may be able to transport the pet if you are unable to do so.
You will be asked to state your preferences when you fill out your application. Please fill out the foster application and specify dog, cat or either. Before placement, we will speak with you, and ask you to meet any potential foster pet that we are thinking of for you. If any foster animal that you’ve accepted is not working out in your home, he or she can be placed elsewhere. We will work with you to relocate your foster pet to a new foster home; please realize that another foster home has to be available for this to happen.
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 them. Homes for Pets will provide an appropriately sized crate for you to use while you are fostering, should that be required.
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. We do have an obedience training class that is free to our foster parents (please look under Pet Resources for more info). If you already have another dog in your home you will be surprised how much it eases obedience training; your foster dog will learn from observing your forever dog(s).
We only ask that you provide good quality food and lots of love. You may have additional expenses for any toys that you choose to provide and any damage that the foster may cause. Homes for Pets will provide the crate and all veterinary expenses and medications including heartworm preventative, unless you choose to donate these expenses. All purchases made on behalf of your foster are tax deductible because we are a 501(c) (3) corporation.
Probably. Rescue is not without tearful good-byes. However, you will feel great warmth in knowing that you helped your foster pet move onto a home for life.
Although it is best for pets to remain in one 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. This process can take time so please give us as much notice as possible. We have to have a foster home available to place your foster in.
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 the option to apply for adoption.
Absolutely! You will be invited to attend a training session or be given one-on-one training from a Homes for Pets volunteer. All foster families receive a foster care manual and will be in regular contact with a Homes for Pets Foster Care Coordinator or other volunteers.
In addition to the Foster Care Coordinator you will be provided with a list of Homes for Pets contacts who you may contact whenever the need arises.
Once your family has decided to foster for Homes for Pets, you may begin the process on-line. We ask foster families to complete the same application 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 and arrange a home visit.
We ask foster families to complete the foster application, and go through the home visit to familiarize them with our adoption process. First, the foster family will be familiar, and comfortable with the adoption process, and how families that want adopt their foster pet are screened. Secondly, many foster families do eventually bond deeply with one of their foster pets and apply to adopt them.
YES! You can volunteer to conduct adoption and foster care interviews, you can transport pets, you can assist with fundraisers, education, adoption fairs, and the list goes on and on. 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.