Hundreds of animals receive a second (or first!) chance thanks to the love and compassion of our foster families. Animals can come to us in very dire straits—either by being very young, very sick or very unsocialized. While we have a crack veterinary and animal-care staff, the shelter—like a hospital—cannot provide the security and warmth of a home.
Great candidates for foster homes include:
- kittens and puppies who are too young to be spayed or neutered
- nursing mothers
- animals recovering from major surgery or minor illness
- animals that simply need extra training or socialization
It can be a lot of work to nurse orphaned puppies around the clock, medicate sick kittens, clean up after a nursing mother and her six pups or work with the dog that has never had training. But for those who are willing and able, it can be a very gratifying experience.
Many Types of Fostering
Fostering is flexible—it can fit your schedule and talents. Just ask the foster parents who convert their guest bathroom into a miniature Kitty City. Or the volunteer who provides “day fostering” for her favorite shelter dog who needs to learn some manners. If you are interested in helping out and don’t feel you fit one of these profiles, come to a foster training session. You also can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (434) 964-3310.
Kitten Krew or Puppy Parade
In the summer and fall particularly (breeding season for feral cats), we need many foster homes for young, adorable kittens. Puppies come to us throughout the year. Both puppies and kittens need anywhere from a few days to several weeks to grow old and healthy enough to be spayed or neutered. We like to keep litters together, but occasionally we do get single babies. Plan to foster several puppies or kittens if possible. We provide crates, food and other supplies, as well as adorable subjects for family photos!
Socialization and Wellness Fostering
While the majority of the animals in need of foster homes are very young kittens and puppies, adult animals who need more exercise or socialization or time to heal benefit greatly from time out of the shelter. These animals don’t show well in their kennels or crates. Dogs may be too energetic or shy, and cats may be frightened of people. Cats in particular get sick regularly when they are stressed. Dogs can seem aggressive when they are just frustrated. Often, once these animals are away from the stress of a kennel environment and are provided with the proper amount of love and structure, they blossom. Foster parents of these animals can then provide potential adopters with great information on how an animal behaves in a real home. If you choose to take on a behavioral or medical foster, we can help you with any issues that arise and, of course, provide ongoing veterinary care.
Vacation Fostering and Foster for the Holidays
Some animals benefit from a break from the shelter, especially around the holidays. Long timers who are getting overlooked in the shelter are great candidates for short-term fostering. If you have a few days off or extra time and want to help around the holidays, take home a temporary pet! It is even better if you can consider being an Adoption Ambassador for your shelter-break foster. Read on …
Adoption Ambassador Program
Why does a foster animal have to come back to the shelter to be adopted? It doesn’t! If you are interested in partnering with us as an Adoption Ambassador, we will provide the perfect foster animal, a template for a “business” card for your animal, an explanation of the adoption process and tips for marketing, and an “adopt-me” vest (for dogs), as well as all supplies. In return, we ask for your help marketing your foster dog or cat, puppy or kitten. Maybe you can share photos on Facebook or other social media sites, or start a blog! Sometimes just going about your life can make a connection. For example, someone who may not want to come to our facilities may see you walking your sweet foster hound dog and fall in love. Or your neighbors who came over to watch the game may decide they really do need a new kitten. If you are interested in taking this extra step for your foster animal and being a part of the adoption process, indicate your interest on the application. You also can email email@example.com or call (434) 964-3310. We will provide training materials and a packet of tips and ideas for getting your foster animal the exposure needed! Kittens, dogs and cats adopted through the program also have a lower adoption fee. Kittens and cats are $50, dogs are $75 and puppies are $125.
We Are Great Partners
The CASPCA can provide supplies and guidance to make your fostering experience–whether it is your first or your fiftieth–the best it can be. Also, check with your tax advisor to see if supplies you purchase for your foster animal might be tax deductible. Interested in fostering or learning more about the program? Apply using the link below, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (434) 964-3310 and learn how you can be the difference. Support from animal lovers like you is needed for us to continue to be a No Kill community⎯thank you for doing your part! For more insight into what it is like to share your home for a few weeks, FosterDogs.com offers a great overview of the foster experience and includes this essay on the powerful and touching experience of fostering.
The Next Steps
1) Decide what type of animal you would like to foster. Are you a puppy person, an Adoption Ambassador for anything furry, or a feline Florence Nightingale?
2) Check out our FAQs for detailed information. (What we provide, what supplies you need, and more!)
4) Then attend a Foster Training Session. Training is offered on the second Saturday of every month at 10 am at the main shelter on Berkmar Drive in our Basement Training Room. Training will last 45 minutes and will give you all the tools you need to be a successful foster parent. It is not mandatory, but can be very helpful for new foster parents.
5) And here are some great video lessons for new and experienced fosters:
VIDEO: Tips for Fostering Shy Cats
VIDEO: How to Bottle Feed a Kitten