FOSTERINGQ&A

What's a foster parent?

By being a pet foster parent, you provide a temporary home for an animal prior to adoption. Fostering animals is a wonderful and personal way to contribute to saving homeless pets. Dogs and cats are the most common pets needing foster homes, but some organizations may also need help with rabbits, birds, or even farm animals. Right now, we only foster dogs.

Would I be a good pet foster parent?

If you want to do something to help the animals, fostering can be a flexible, fun and rewarding volunteer job. Here’s why: It’s more flexible than volunteer jobs that require you to show up at a specific time for a certain number of hours. It’s a great way to enjoy a pet if you are not in a position to make that lifetime commitment right now. Would you like to add a dog or cat to your household, but you’re not sure? Fostering can be a great way to find out. Taking animals into your home, loving them, and then letting them go requires a special kind of person. Your role as a foster parent is to prepare the animal for adoption into a loving home.

How much time will fostering take?

The specific needs of the animal will determine how much time is involved. A frightened animal who needs socialization or training will also require some extra time. We can discuss your availability to determine what you’ll be best suited to foster.

What skills are needed to be an animal foster parent?

It’s best to have some knowledge about companion animal behavior and health.We will also provide training for you. Dogs often benefit from a little obedience training, so if you familiarize yourself with some basic training techniques, you can be a big help in preparing your foster dog for a new home. Just by getting to know the animal, you’ll help CCARE learn more about their personality prior to adoption. Additionally, you must adhere to the CCARE policies, and specific requirements will vary depending upon the animal you are fostering. For example, some animals will need fenced yards, medications, or isolation from your personal pets.

What about food and medical care for the animal?

We provide foster parents with all the necessary food and medication. You will sign a contract that explains what we cover for food and medical care. We may request that you use a specific veterinary clinic for treatment of your foster animal.

What about my own pets?

You’ll want to consider how the animals in your household will adjust to having a foster pet. Some animals do very well with a temporary friend and can help socialize the foster animal. Other pets have a harder time with new animals being added to or leaving the family. You’re the best judge of your pet’s personality. For the safety of your pets and the foster animal, it’s important to keep your pets up-to-date on vaccinations. In many cases, the foster pet will need to be isolated from your own pets, either temporarily or throughout the foster period.

Will I have to find a home for the foster animal myself?

No. We will take full responsibility for finding a new home, though you can help by telling friends, family and co-workers about your foster pet. We will discuss with you how the adoption will be handled.

What about when it’s time to say good-bye?

Giving up an animal you’ve fostered, even to a wonderful new home, can be difficult emotionally. Some people like to be there when the pet goes home with the new family. Seeing your foster animal ride off into the sunset will help you remember that he has found a lovely new home. A lot of foster families get photos and updates of their previous foster pets enjoying their new homes. Knowing you were part of saving a life and helping the animal find a loving home is tremendously rewarding. Sometimes a foster home turns into a permanent home. We call that a happy "foster failure"!

But is it fair to the animals being fostered?

Some people are reluctant to foster animals because they are concerned that it is unfair to take in a dog or cat, establish a bond, and then allow the animal to be adopted out into another home. Isn’t that a second abandonment? Not at all! Being in a foster home can be a lifesaving bridge for a stray or frightened pet. It gives the animal a chance to get used to life in a house, and an opportunity to learn that people can be kind, food is available, and there is a warm, secure place to sleep. Foster care can help prepare a dog for a new life in a permanent home. There’s no shortage of animals who need this preparation time before finding their own people.

How do I give pet fostering a try?

When you are ready, contact us to start the process. There will be some training involved and some papers to sign, but our goal is that you are able to go home soon with a new foster animal. Foster parents make an enormous difference in the number of animals we can help. It is important, valuable work. Best of all, it saves lives, since the foster pet you help opens up a spot for another animal at our shelter.

I can’t provide foster care, are there other ways I can help?

1000% YES! We use volunteer help at our shelter, at adoption events, transporting animals to and from the vet, returning phone calls, or doing office work. We also have opportunities for financial donations, wish list items that can be purchased, or you can even do your own fundraiser. The possibilities are endless!