WHAT IS A FOSTER HOME?

When you foster, you agree to take a homeless dog into your home and give him or her love, care and attention, either for a predetermined period of time or until the dog is adopted.

A foster parent provides a temporary home for pets before going to their new home. This can be for a few days until surgery or rescue transport, or for a few weeks while a shy animal learns social skills, or for a few months while a pregnant momma has her babies and raises them. Sometimes the foster home is the first stable and loving environment the pets have ever experienced. Foster parents have the unique opportunity to personally help our rescued animals.

WHY DO WE NEED FOSTERS?

Foster homes maximize the number of lives that can be saved. There are many reasons an animal might need foster care. Some of the most common include:

·        A puppy or kitten is too young to be adopted and needs a safe place to stay until he or she is old enough to go to a forever home.

·        A dog or cat is recovering from surgery, illness or injury and needs a safe place to recuperate.

·        A dog or cat who is showing signs of stress such as pacing or hiding in the shelter.

·        A dog or cat has not lived in a home before or has not had much contact with people and needs to be socialized.

·        The shelter is running out of room for adoptable pets

·        A pregnant mom is looking for a safe place to give birth and raise her babies

WHY SHOULD I FOSTER?

Would you feel good knowing you are making a difference, in the life of a displaced pet? A few months of inconvenience turns quickly into a rewarding, educational, challenging, and fun experience you will never forget.

Fostering can be rigorous, but it is always rewarding! Fostering also helps us evaluate the pet so we can provide as much information as possible to help us place the pet in the perfect home. Foster caregivers must be 18 years of age or older. Some foster caregivers will use a spare bedroom, bathroom, laundry room for their foster pets.

But, you should understand that choosing to be a foster caregiver is a serious undertaking. It will change your routine and your own companion animals will need to be okay with it. Fostering is a very rewarding experience for everyone involved. Not only do foster caregivers nurture and care for their charges, they really "share" the experience with the pets.

WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH FOSTERING?

Being a foster caregiver involves feeding, cleaning, grooming, and playing with the animals. Sometimes, however, that's just the tip of the iceberg for fosters. Because many rescued animals are sick, stressed, or frightened, they may require special care. A frightened animal may require weeks of extra attention and behavioral modification to become ready for adoption.

Fostering a pet in need of shelter, love, and guidance is a time-consuming effort, but it's also one of the most rewarding ways to help homeless pets. Providing a "stepping stone" for animals in search of permanent homes saves lives, alleviates the strain on animal shelters, helps set the stage for successful adoptions, and teaches you the skills that will enable you to help other animals in need.

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR FOSTERING?

The health and welfare of all individuals in your home — human and animal — must be considered before bringing in another creature. Fostering a homeless pet should never be considered unless your home environment is happy, safe, healthy, and spacious enough to nurture the foster pet adequately and retain sanity among the existing members of your home. If any of your family members have allergies, excessive stress, other physical or mental health issues, career instability, financial difficulties, or housing or space restrictions, fostering is not a good option for you at this time.

Each fostering situation is different, but most lifestyles can be accommodated. By speaking with a Foster Coordinator, you can learn what type of animals work best for your schedule and which animals in particular work best for your lifestyle and activity level.

 

Our goal is to place each animal in a foster home they will thrive in and to make sure each foster has a supported, positive experience.

CAN I FOSTER IF I ALREADY HAVE PETS?

Yes! We ask that your pets be up to date on vaccinations (distemper/parvo, bordetella and rabies for dogs; FVRCP for cats and FELV/FIV negative). If not, you can still foster, so long as you have a means of keeping them separate for the health of both your pets and the shelter pets.

You should take into consideration that many animals develop URI in a shelter (upper respiratory infection). Much like kids at a day care, when one animal coughs, the whole shelter gets a cold. An upper respiratory is just that. It is a virus that generally runs its course in 5-10 days. We can provide antibiotics should your foster break with a URI. Keeping your dog current on bordatella (every 6 months) can help prevent them from catching the URI.

HOW DO I BRING A NEW FOSTER HOME?

When introducing a pet to a new environment, do so gradually. Remember that the pet might be frightened and could bite, run away, scratch, or cower in a corner. Depending on the pet and his/her history, there may be incidents of housebreaking issues, spraying, damage, and/or barking. Please be forewarned and “animal proof” your home.

The shelter is happy to provide an air crate or pet taxi for your foster pet. This can be a safe place for them while they acclimate to your home. We always recommend crating a foster pet when you are not home.

If you have children, we request that you monitor their contact with a foster pet at all times. We cannot guarantee any pet’s behavior and this will help to protect both the child and the pet. Foster pets are under a lot of stress and do best in a quiet environment.

NO FOSTER PET IS ALLOWED OUTSIDE UNATTENDED OR UNRESTRAINED. If you feel you cannot go along with this, you should not foster because the foster animal’s life will be compromised. NO CAT SHOULD EVER BE ALLOWED OUTSIDE FOR ANY REASON UNLESS IT IS IN A CARRIER.

Pets do die. This is a reality of being involved in this kind of work. If you take a sick pet and there is a concern about its future, you must be prepared for his/her possible death. If you cannot handle this, please say so.

CAN I ADOPT MY FOSTER PET?

A foster always has first rights to adoption. While in foster, a pet will remain available for adoption. If someone is interested in adopting, the foster will be contacted and will need to make a decision within 24 hours on whether or not they will adopt.

Of course, if at any point in the fostering, you know you want to adopt, just let us know!

ARE MY EXPENSES COVERED?

Humane Society of Sullivan County will cover the cost of standard veterinary care (vaccinations, deworming, flea and tick preventative, deworming, spay/neuter) and can offer free food for your foster pet as well as a pet taxi or air crate.

If you feel your foster pet requires veterinary care, we require you to contact the shelter first. Any outside veterinary expenses cannot be reimbursed by the shelter. If there is an after-hours emergency, you will be given an emergency contact number.

Remember, Sometimes a pet will not eat at first, s/he may be frightened or nervous. Eventually s/he will eat. For the same reasons, s/he may have diarrhea in the beginning. Feed a bland diet and monitor the stool for changes. We ask that you keep us up to date on any issues that may occur during their stay with you.

Also, any expenses you incur during fostering are tax deductible. Be sure to save your receipts and the shelter can provide you a verification letter at the end of the year. It is YOUR responsibility to track all of your spending and provide proof to the shelter for your deduction (this includes foster expenses and donations).

“I could never foster—it would be too hard to say good-bye!”

We won’t lie- saying good-bye is tough. But you know what always helps us? Another foster. Because one thing is for sure—there is always going to be another animal that needs you as much, if not more, than the last one. Knowing that you made an impact in that animal’s life, and the next one and the one who came in because a space was opened up by your work? It’s priceless.

 

If you are interested in opening your home to an animal in need, please CONTACT US or email sullivanshelter@gmail.com to schedule an orientation time that works for you.