Interested in Pet Foster? Getting Started:
Fortunately there are many shelters with coordinated pet foster programs around the country. Below are two comprehensive manuals that represent foster programs that have made an impact on their communities: Reduced the number of animals euthanized and increased volunteer and donor support of local shelters and rescues.
What is pet fostering?
Pet Fostering is the temporary care of animals who are homeless.
Why pet foster why not adopt?
There are many reasons why pet foster may be just the volunteer opportunity you have been looking for:
- If you are single, want to test the water before adoption and would like a pet but can not commit.
- Perhaps you are retired and would like to support your local shelter.
- You have a teaching or consulting background and can lend your experience to an after school program as a pet foster to teach humane education.
- You would like to get a “pet friend” for your pet but are not sure if this is s good idea.
- You are helping in a disaster relief situation and have love of animals and support animal welfare.
- You want to support your local animal shelter and support the notion of no more homeless animals.
- I work with animals, and I would be good at and enjoy pet fostering.
There are many reasons why pet foster is a great way to give back!
Why are pet foster homes needed?
There are several reasons why there is a need for pet fostering, some are listed below:
- A shelter animal is under age, sick, injured and not ready to be adopted and would thrive in a home care environment where personalized care can be provided until a forever home is found.
- A shelter animal has been in the shelter environment for an extended period and would benefit from a home care environment to over come depression, or the anxiety that comes from not being adopted in a short period of time.
- Family pets whose guardians are not able to provide for them ( due to illness homelessness, natural disaster, divorce, job relocation ) and seek a refuge for the animal until their circumstances change and they are able to live with and provide for their pets.
Why do shelters and rescue groups need foster volunteers?
Each week, hundreds of animals end up in shelters and pounds through no fault of their own. Many shelters and rescue groups rely on networks of compassionate foster parents to provide a temporary home to pets that they would not otherwise be able to save, due to limited space. A vast majority of foster pets are happy, healthy animals who have had the mis-fortune to become homeless. Cats, dogs, puppies, kittens, rabbits and other animals need a safe, nurturing refuge until they find a new family to adopt love and care for them.
What does a pet foster parent do?
A pet foster parent is someone who provides a safe, nurturing environment for a shelter animal until a permanent home can be located. Shelters and rescue groups across America are committed to saving homeless pets. However, many have limited physical facilities, human resources and funds. Due to the success of many local and virtual adoption programs the distribution of stereotypically “desirable” pets in shelters is uneven. A source of conflict between shelters and rescue groups is the “re locating” of more adoptable pets from shelters across state lines leaving animals that have greater obstacles to adoption behind. Many Shelters are only able to hold pets for a few days before needing to ‘make space’ for new animals. Overcrowding is an issue in many jurisdictions across America, to save pets from the threat of euthanasia, shelters with foster care programs and animal rescues rely heavily on a network of dedicated, compassionate pet foster volunteers to give animals, a better chance of finding forever homes.
How will I know if I am ready to foster an animal?
Despite having busy lives people from diverse backgrounds find the time and make the commitment to foster an animal. We all have busy lives only you will know if bringing an animal into your home is the “right time” consider your lifestyle, living situation and time to give your pet foster before making the commitment.
What should I know?
There are as many different people becoming pet foster parents as there are pets that need foster homes, all that is needed is a genuine love of animals, room for the animal to live in your home and a willingness to help until a forever home is found!
How much time is involved? I already have other responsibilities.
Fostering a dog, cat, rabbit, horse, or any other animal in need of foster care requires, patience, and guidance and- is a rewarding experience that an be a lot of work Pet foster parenting is one of the most satisfying ways to help homeless pets and support local shelters and rescues and make an impact in your community. Pets who are fostered in positive, nurturing environments by individuals willing to learn some basic training techniques are more likely to be adopted in a short period of time, less likely to be returned to the shelter, less likely to suffer from behavioral problems, and are less stressed and more able to adapt to life in their new forever homes.
Won’t I be sad when my foster pet goes to their new home?
It is only natural to feel connected to your pet foster, after all you have given your time energy and love to an animal who you have brought in to your home. Of course you will feel sad when it is time to say goodbye But the joy that comes from the realization that you have helped save a life out weighs the sudden sadness of letting go of your pet foster – who has found a forever home.
Am I considered a pet foster parent when my pet foster gets adopted?
Yes and depending upon your contract with the fostering organization you are volunteering with there may be a short time period to wait in between pet foster assignments just to make sure that you are re- energized and or to keep training / education current and make you aware of any changes in the law where you live that affect pet foster. ￼
Things to remember
Fostering a pet is a commitment not to be taken lightly. If you are interested in pet fostering which entails: application to a volunteer program, basic training, time, energy and bringing a pet into your home, there are a few important considerations.
Can being a pet foster parent fit my life style?
Yes pet foster is temporary and can be thought of as long stay day and night care for pets. Support for your efforts are here with our national support network. We are growing and will have members who live where you are. If there is not a local pet foster network where you are why not start one ? Contact email@example.com to learn more.
Should I prepare my home?
The health and welfare of all individuals in your home - human and animal - must be considered before bringing another animal into your home.
Do I have to separate my pets from my new pet foster?
Fostering a homeless pet should never be a consideration unless your home environment is happy, safe, healthy, and spacious enough to nurture the foster pet adequately. A separate living area ( spare bedroom ?) should be available for your pet foster.
What if anyone in my household suffers from an allergy? Or other illness?
Becoming a pet foster parent may not be suitable for you if: If any of your family members are contending with excessive stress, allergies, physical or mental health related issues, financial distress, housing or space restrictions/limitations.
I have a pretty full schedule, how much time is involved?
Fostering is a commitment and requires patience ( and can be 24x7 ). Although you may not be physically interacting with your pet foster every moment of the day, you will be responsible for caring for the animal, for your fosters safety, and well-being and to engage regular play time. The exact amount of personal time and attention needed varies greatly depending upon the circumstance. Expect to spend from three to seven hours a day interacting with a foster pet and more time if your fosters are kittens, puppies or young rabbits. It is important to remember that pet foster is: interaction, exercise, positive stimulation, regular feedings. Heath care needs vary and training your foster is vital so the animal thrives, responds to people in a positive manner and learns the meaning of belonging so that they can be returned to the shelter and adopted or returned to their owner ( if you are fostering pet who belongs to a family who is living in a temporary shelter that does not accommodate pets. )
What kind of foster care can I provide to a dog, cat horse or rabbit? How will this impact my family?
Pet Foster is very much like adoption you must consider your ability, resources and consider how much of those resources can go to the pet you are interested in fostering. Similar to the research of finding the right pet to adopt pet foster requires research - it’s important to do the research before you bring an animal into your home. Talk to the rescue group or shelter and ask them to help, match you with a foster pet based on living situation, lifestyle, work and volunteer experience (s) An example, if you travel three days out of the week pet foster may not be for you but if you are a stay at home mom and an older pet may be just right! Or if you are single and athletic – fostering a young high energy dog like a Jack Russell Terrier might be a great way to enhance your stay fit routine ( many young dogs have energy abounding )
All animals considered for pet foster should be checked out and OK’d to go to pet foster by a licensed veterinarian, been fully vaccinated, be behaviorally sound (animals who are pet foster candidates are disease-free unless you are fostering a special needs animal).
How will my Fostering allow a much smoother transition when the animal is placed into a forever home?
Imagine waiting and uncertain to find a home to call “yours”. Now imagine you are a shelter animal. The shelter environment can be very stressful and traumatic for many animals. Pet fostering helps many animals get adjusted to living in a nurturing home environment where they have a chance to feel safe and secure know play time and have exercise. As a pet foster parent, your pet will be matched with an animal to foster who fits your lifestyle and circumstance. The shelter foster care coordinator or volunteer coordinator at your local rescue group can provide information and should provide ongoing assistance with regard to supplies, questions, issues that may arise or to just lend an ear, to ensure that you and your foster pet thrive while in, your home. ￼
How has pet fostering impacted local communities?
Pet fostering impacts local communities in the following ways:
- Reduces the number of animals euthanized
- “Re-homes” animals in shorter periods of time than if they were not fostered
- Connect neighbors with like minded individuals to support and raise awareness of the needs of local animal shelters and rescues.
- Can increase donor and corporate support of shelters and rescues
- Active pet foster networks can inform law makers to draft, enact and enforce laws that positively impact animals and animal care providers.
I want to find a local network where I live
Find out more: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to learn more about volunteer opportunities to foster my local rescue or shelter. What are my next steps?
Remember that each volunteer organization is different -
- If you are not already a member, contact email@example.com to find a pet foster network near you. We have a listing of pet foster networks, safe haven pet protect programs and organized foster programs across America.
- Visit the shelter or rescue you want to pet foster with and find out when their next volunteer event is.
- Review, the schedule for and plan to attend the information work shop and training classes..
- Speak with the foster coordinator, meet and speak with other people who are fostering.
- Discuss your plans with the people who will be impacted by your decision to pet foster.
- Look at your schedule and prepare your home for your pet foster.
- Review, complete, sign and return you volunteer application.
You are not alone – The Pet Foster Support Network - can help and support you. Look into the benefits of membership. If you have suggestions, please let us know.
Good luck, much happiness and many satisfying moments pet fostering! YOU make the difference!