Becoming a foster parent…What is it exactly and is it right for me?
Why do we prefer foster homes over a big fancy facility? When people ask about adopting a dog they want to know how fido is with kids….not just on a walk but immersed in the world of toddler. Does he chew like a termite on every rattle and blinking toy? Will he respond in an unforgiving way when a clumsy toddler steps on his tail? Who is he really under all that fur and drool? Try as they might to temperament test and analyze a shelter dog, there are some things best assessed in a home environment. That’s where we come in. We take in dogs and cats from shelters who have no choice but to euthanize for space, and give them a second chance at adoption. Some animals are so nervous in shelters that the general public would never get the opportunity to see what an amazing animal he really is. Fostering allows an animal to live as family while they wait for their forever family.
What is required of foster families?
The same standards we uphold for adoption apply to our foster families. Resident animals need to be up to date on vaccines (both for their protection and ours). Monthly heartworm prevention is absolutely imperative to maintain your pet’s overall health. We require long term foster dogs to be kept primarily as indoor pets. They should be loved and spoiled just as you would love your own. We do not require you to attend every adoption event but occasional attendance is smiled upon.
I would like to foster but I don’t have a lot of extra money?
Thats ok. We are happy to provide for all your foster dog’s needs. That includes any veterinary trips for illness. Heartworm and flea prevention, crate, food, and a leash and collar are provided. Sometimes toys and bowls are even available. Some of our foster homes utilize the resources we offer, others provide their own food as a donation to CVRR.
What if the animal doesn’t work out in my home?
We try our very hardest to make sure the match between canine/feline and foster home is good before taking the dog into our care and provide you with all the tools necessary to navigate through common problems. But in the event that the issue cannot be resolved, we try to find alternate placement, or in the worst case, return the animal to the shelter. I can count on one hand the number of times an animal has been returned to the shelter (and still have leftover fingers) We allow our foster homes a great deal of control over what animal comes to their home. You know your environment and needs best…we think you are the best one to put in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting the right animal. For this same reason, YOU will have the final say of who adopts your foster animal.
I don’t think I can foster…how will I ever let him go???
I don’t know a single foster parent who didn’t think they couldn’t do it at some point in time. Do we love our fosters? Yes. Does it hurt when they leave? Most of the time. Do we cry? Sometimes. Why do we keep doing it over and over? Ask every one of our foster homes and you will get a different answer. For many they let them go so they can save another. They have seen the overcrowded shelters and doing nothing just isn’t an option. Some thrive on the absolute JOY adoption brings to the new family…that moment where you just put the last piece in the puzzle ….watching them walk away with their brand new family member. A glimpse at the first moment in an amazing adventure. Over the years I have come to have a huge appreciation for the service we provide for families who have to surrender animals. For some of them it is the last thing they want to do. Illness, death, loss of their home has left them powerless and devastated with no options. The thought of their beloved animals ending up in a shelter is too much to bear and our offer of a foster home while the animal waits for permanent placement is often the only bright spot in their life. We even have a few homes that foster just because their own resident dog likes the company (or in the case of separation anxiety needs the company) but they can not responsibly take on another pet. Whatever the reason that motivates fostering, the outcome is the same…a life saved, a family transformed.
OK…give it to me. The good, the bad, and the ugly of fostering.
We don’t believe in sugarcoating things here. Fostering isn’t for everyone. If it would destroy you to have a lamp cord chewed, a pair of shoes annihilated, listen to a distraught and lonely puppy howl deep into the night on her first night in care, consider a different form of volunteer work. Puddles will happen, muddy paws will jump on you, counters will be surfed upon. If your tolerance for disaster is minute, we try to find dogs that are already house trained, adults who may be less inclined to be the puppy version of the Terminator, but we have been wrong before and we will be wrong again…not to mention even good dogs require some degree of patience and training. I have fostered hundreds of dogs. Some were angels…I couldn’t figure out why anyone would have ever let them go. Others were like a one man teenaged lacrosse team hopped up on Red Bull. Good or bad, we will be here to support you. To encourage you. To talk you off the ledge when you are frustrated or unsure. I can promise you this…no matter the animal, it will be worth it in the end.
How long can I expect to have my foster pet?
Puppies and small breed dogs average 1 month. Most other dogs average 3 months with the exception of APBs, seniors, and large hounds, which tend to take closer to 6 months to find the right home. Shy animals or those with medical conditions may take longer. Taking pictures and sharing funny stories for our facebook will usually decrease the amount of time it takes to find the perfect home. Frequent attendance at adoption events are also helpful. Despite the “average” some animals inexplicably take longer. Some animals have taken as long as a year and a half.
So what’s next? How do I join the fostering team? We have an application you can fill out, just click here. If you have questions, we would love to talk with you more!