Want to be a foster?
Before you commit here are some tips, tricks, and things every foster should know!
Before You Foster: Important Questions To Ask Yourself
How much care, socialization or training will this animal require? Bottle-feeding babies often means round-the-clock dedication. Older kittens or puppies, on the other hand, need lots of handling, training and socialization, and they may need to be taken to the veterinarian for spay/neuter or teeth cleaning while they are with you. Adult animals may simply need a place to stay until they are adopted, but sometimes they have special needs as well. Be sure you know what you're getting into before you bring a foster pet home.
Is this animal house trained? If the answer is no, are you prepared to teach that skill and to ensure that your belongings aren’t damaged in the process? If you're up for potty training, you may want to roll up valuable rugs and put them away while you’re fostering — and you might need to pull that crate and baby gate out of the attic, too. * More than likely most of the dogs we will be needing fosters for are straight out of abusive homes or shelters. That means that lack general training. It is up to the foster to install general behavior, we have a trainer that can offer tips but it is the foster that puts in the work and time on behalf of the dog.
Are you prepared to treat a foster animal as a member of the family? Fostering isn't just making sure the animal stays healthy and safe and eats well; you're also responsible for teaching your foster pet how to be a good family member. For this reason, it's important to make sure that everyone who lives in your house is on board with the foster plan and willing to help your temporary pet fit in. * Foster dogs need to learn how to behave in a home, it is the foster that teaches the dogs these behaviors. It can include teaching not to chew, to leave food alone, not to go potty in the house or chew on items, how to share space, ect. NONE of our dogs will be fully trained, they are all rescues in need of help. If they were fully trained without issues they would not need rescue help. Please be aware you are getting a dog with "quarks"
Will your own pets get along with a foster dog or cat? If your pet is possessive of your lap, how will she respond when a guest animal tries to sit there? Some breeds are more prone to quarreling than others, and the arrival of an additional animal, even just temporarily, can upset the balance of pet power in your household. Your normally well-behaved dog or cat may “act out” or forget his house training. You may need the skills of a circus ringmaster to maintain harmony. *Most of the dogs we handle are shelter pulls after months of no other interaction or abusive homes. This means more than likely the animal will not like every new pet it meets instantly. Some of our dogs do not like cats, smaller dogs, or some sexes. We will place a dog that fits your home, but understanding and willingness to train is a must!
Can you afford to care for an additional animal? Ask up front what your out-of-pocket expenses will be. The rescue group should cover any veterinary expenses, but it may or may not pay for items such as food or cat litter. In addition, if you know that you will be traveling for work or vacation during the time you’ll be fostering, say so up front so the rescue group can decide whether it can afford the expense of a pet sitter or will help you find someone else to care for the animal while you’re gone. * Kate's Rescue covers the cost of vet visits, and necessary supplies. Being non profit we cannot afford special everything for all 130 active dogs. That being said we have a list of approved brands or items we will reimburse for. If a foster buys outside of this list, or without permissions we will not reimburse. Fosters are free to supply their foster with whatever they want out of pocket, there are only some things we reimburse for. Most toys, beds, collars, leashes, treats, kennels, flea treatments ect will not be reimbursed as we have these on hand for fosters to ask for.
Do you have time to take this animal to weekend adoption events? Some rescue groups post pets online and take applications for them, but others hold regular adoption events at local pet supply stores or other venues. You may need to take your foster pet to those events until she’s adopted, which means looking carefully at your weekend schedule. * Kate's Rescue hold events every Saturday. Locations vary, while we do not require the pet to be at every event we do expect them to attend at least 2 events a month. Fosters can drop off and pick up after (for puppies) and we can arrange pickup for some events if fosters cannot attend.
Are you prepared for a long-term commitment? A foster animal may need a place for only a few weeks, or his stay could stretch out for months. There’s no guarantee that a foster animal will be adopted within a certain time frame, but until he's adopted, he needs a home. Be sure you can commit before you accept a foster pet. * Some dogs take days to get adopted, others weeks, and some have been in rescue for years. Being foster based means you are it, we have no other placement. It takes time to find replacement fosters, all we can do is ask and wait for someone to step up. Fosters should be prepared for the long haul and take this into consideration with any foster dog.
When the time comes, will you be able to give up your foster pet to an adoptive home? It’s all too easy to become attached to this little creature who is living in your house. People who end up adopting their foster pets are known affectionately as “foster failures.” Some rescue groups are OK with that, while others frown on it because it often means that you’re no longer available as a foster home for future animals. If you're not sure you will be able to say goodbye, think twice about fostering. * While Kate's does not mind a foster fail we do need the fosters. If you are unable to let go and find yourself wanting to hold onto them all fostering may not be the best way for you to help. The more you keep, the less we can move along through your home with your help. Parting is not easy, but it helps us save lives.
Fostering pets has its ups and downs, they may tear up items, pee in the house, act out, eat your dinner off the counter, not like your existing dog at first...and you will likely cry when your foster pet walks out the door for the last time — but the rewards of seeing him blossom and watching a new family fall in love with him will have you signing up to do it all over again.
Can I keep my foster?
Yes, fosters are allowed to adopt their foster dogs and become "foster fails". However all fosters wishing to fail must still complete the rescue's adoption process. Fostering does not promise your acceptance to adopt, all final decisions regarding animal placement is reserved for the Rescue Director and Appointed Staff only.
Do I get a reduced adoption fee?
Yes, our fosters that choose to keep their fosters as part of their family get 50 dollars off the adoption fee. The remaining fee must still be paid however.
Can I choose where my foster goes?
To a point. The rescue reserves the right to make final decisions on home placement for any and all wards. Fosters may play a role in helping choose that placement but cannot choose without the rescue's approval.
Do I get reimbursed?
Yes, again to a point. We are a non-profit with donation based supplies. Fosters must get approval for items before buying and provide a receipt in order for reimbursement. If you need an item for your foster please speak with your Foster Lead to see if we have those supplies already available in rescue.
My foster is sick/injured can I take them to my vet?
No. If your foster needs medical requirement you must get approval from the rescue. Please contact your appointed foster lead if you think your foster needs to see a vet. We have specific vets we take our animals to. Any vet visits that are not approved by the rescue will not receive reimbursement.
Can I self medicate my foster?
No. Anything from worming, vaccinations, and upset tummy treatments MUST be approved by the rescue. Contact your assigned foster lead to make sure the item you wish to give your foster is approved by the rescue vet for that particular dog.
Do I have to provide pictures?
Yes. As part of the agreement to foster you are agreeing to provide the rescue with any and all information that we require including pictures and behavior information.
Kate's Rescue is a registered 501 (c) 3 our EIN is: 90-1004029
Table of Contents:
Questions to Ask
Before you foster-petfinder
Policies and Procedures
A Beginners Guide To Fostering
Foster Manual Link
Petfinder - Before you Foster
Are you able to separate the foster pets from your own?
You should have a place where you can isolate your foster pet from your own companion animals for the amount of time required. Some need only a week, others 2-4 weeks. A separate room or enclosed area with no carpet will work best.
Are you aware that there is a great deal of clean-up and even possible damage to your home when you take a foster pet home?
Foster pets have ruined drapes, carpeting, clothing, and other valuable items. Preparing your home and the area the animal will stay in can prevent most accidents, but not all of them! Non-Profits are not able to reimburse for damages, when you take in a foster you do it knowing something might get torn up that you need.
Are you able to monitor the health of the foster pet?
You will need to pay attention to signs of illness or worsening of symptoms and call the shelter or rescue group if you are concerned. Before taking in a foster, ask the foster care coordinator what to look for. If you see troubling signs, the coordinator will help you decide if you should bring the animal in for treatment.
Can you get to the rescue’s vet quickly in case of an emergency?
The shelter or rescue group likely works with a vet who will treat your foster pet at no charge to you. If the animal you are fostering needs medical attention, you will need to transport him or her to the vet’s office for care.
Are you emotionally prepared to return the pet after the foster period is up?
It can be very difficult to let go once you have become emotionally attached to an animal! Be prepared for tears and heartache when the day comes that you must bring your first foster pet back to the rescue for adoption. But remember, he or she is now much more likely to find a loving, permanent home because of YOUR care! Parents, consider how the adoption of a foster pet might affect your children and be prepared to explain it to them.
Can you place your trust in the rescue staff to decide what is the best for the animal?
Sometimes adoption is not an option even after a pet has been fostered. Knowing that an animal you have fostered may need to be euthanized due to behavior or medical conditions can be very hard to deal with. In the end it is what is best for the animal and its quality of life that must be kept in mind.
Do you feel comfortable explaining to friends that these pets are not yours to adopt out and that they must go through the regular adoption process at the rescue?
If you are interested in helping to find a home for your foster pet, refer your friends and family to the rescue group to complete an adoption application.
To be a successful foster parent, you will need a compassionate nature, the cooperation of your family or roommates, flexibility, and some knowledge of animal behavior. You also must understand that there is a possibility that the foster pet may or may not be adopted when returned to the animal care center. The length of time a foster pet may stay in your home varies with the animal’s situation.
You will most likely be asked to fill out a foster application and you may be asked to attend a training session.Shelter or rescue group staffers may conduct a home visit prior to your receiving your first foster pet. You may have restrictions on the pet you must obey. Such as do not take into public, no dog parks, keep away from other pets, ect. The animal you take is NOT your own, it is the rescues.
Preparing Your Home
If you are fostering kittens or puppies, or even untrained adults remember that they will play or chew anything they can find, including drapes, electrical cords and lampshades, shoes, flower beds ect. So be sure to animal-proof your home.
A Beginner's Guide....
Tip #1: Bathrooms are ideal foster rooms for young puppies and kittens because accident cleanup is easier on tiled floors.
1) Know your physical limits.
There are 3 basic limits to fostering animals: space, time, and other responsibilities. You need to have a space for your fosters; a spare bedroom or screen porch is the perfect foster room. The size of the pet also affects how much space you’ll need; a bathroom would be too small for a large adult dog, but it would be perfect for a kitten or puppy.
Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to socialize and take care of a foster pet too. You may have other commitments, such as a job that takes you away from home for long periods. If you have other pets, make sure they will still get plenty of room in the house and playtime with you. Figure out your limits by asking yourself:
Tip #2: If you’ve got a separate room and don’t mind long-term fostering, consider fostering cats who test positive for Feline Leukemia. “Feleuks” live 2-5 years and are rarely adopted, so fostering gives them a few years in a great home.
2) Know your emotional limits.
Some people don’t foster cute kittens because they’ll be tempted to adopt them. Others choose not to foster injured, sick, or old animals because they would be too sad if the animals died. You know best what “gets to you” and what to stay away from, and you’ll get a better sense of this after your first few fosters. It’s also a good idea to take breaks between fosters so you don’t feel overwhelmed at the thought of always taking care of unwanted pets. You’ll also appreciate your own pets more.
Tip #3: Put your personal rules for fostering in writing and get each family member to agree to them.
3) Put your limits and expectations in writing.
Make sure you’re clear on how many animals you can take at a time and how long you can take them for. You don’t want to be stuck with an animal you don’t have time or room for. Most people foster through a shelter or rescue group, so make sure you pick one you trust. They will probably have you sign a fostering contract, and you should keep a copy of this too. They’ll tell you what you should expect and what they expect from you. Some questions to ask them include:
Tip #4: Some people prefer to foster certain dog breeds, such as Yorkies or Westies, because they feel they know a lot about their foster’s personality already.
4) Start small.
Try fostering a healthy adult cat or dog for a few weeks first. The longer you keep the foster, the harder it can be to return them. You can increase the length of time per foster gradually, as you learn your limits.
Cats are probably the easiest pets to foster, since they require less space and no potty breaks. Then again, if you’ve already got a dog, adding another dog to your daily walks might not be so tough, provided they get along and both have good leash manners.
Tip #5: Have a foster you want to adopt? Ask your friends and family if need a new pet. If they decide to adopt, you can still visit your favorite foster. Don't pressure them into a decision though.
5) Think big.
Fostering is a great way to save many animals’ lives. Many people refer to themselves as “failed fosters” because they adopted their fosters instead of giving them back. Don’t be tempted to adopt a foster unless there’s a very good reason to. If you're worried about their potential adopter, the shelter or group you work with can tell you about their adoption standards so you’ll know what kind of forever family your foster pet will go to.
It happens to everyone; you foster a great pet and decide you can’t bear to give them back. That’s fine if your pet has just passed away and you're replacing a “spot” in your furry family, or if you have plenty of room for an addition.
The problem is when adopting a foster means you don’t have the room or time to foster anymore. Think about it this way: in the 10-20 year lifespan of the pet you could adopt, how many fosters could you keep in that time if you didn’t adopt? How many lives could you save just by giving a few pets a little extra time? If you foster one cat a year, that could be as many as 20 cats saved by fostering instead of the 1 cat saved by adopting. If you foster four dogs a year, that’s 60 dogs saved. Compare those numbers before you consider adopting a foster.
Policies and Procedures (shortened please read document in link)