Foster caregivers save lives! It’s as straightforward – and as remarkable – as that.
What does fostering entail? It’s basically the act of opening up your heart – and your home – to an animal in need of refuge. The state of North Carolina consistently ranks in the top three states in the nation for highest euthanasia counts, primarily due to a lack of resources, space and funding. Our job, as a rescue organization, is to pull homeless pets from animal shelters before their FHD (Final Hold Date) and connect them with a foster caregiver who can give them the time, care, and shelter they need, while we work to find them a permanent home and a loving family. We ask all potential fosters to first apply in order to become a foster caregiver. Once approved, we will go over expectations for how to care for the animal you have preferenced – or who we have matched you to, based on your application. We will set you up with the supplies you’ll need to get you going – collar, leash, litter, food, bowls and crate and any medicines that may be needed, if applicable.
We ask fosters to commit to caring for their foster pet for at least two weeks, during which time we will seek out a loving and vetted adopter for the animal. If, for any reason, a foster caregiver finds it unavoidable to end the relationship earlier than that, we will respond as soon as possible and find the pet another home.
Your goal as a foster caregiver is to not just offer a safe and loving home to an animal that needs it, but to also offer thoughtful care and plenty of affection to an animal who probably hasn’t had it easy before meeting you. In addition, we ask you to share the information that you will have further learned about your foster pet with our Pet Adoption Consultant, so they can find a great match for them.
If you recommend a friend or family member as your preferred adopter for your foster pet, they still need to apply to adopt – but your recommendation goes a long way! And should you decide that you would like to adopt the pet yourself, you will have priority – however, please let us know as soon as possible!
Still have questions? We have answers!
Foster Care FAQ’s
There are several good reasons:
Foster care can help save an animal’s life when a shelter is full.
Some animals don’t do well in a shelter environment because they are frightened or need a little extra care.
Newborn animals that need to be nursed or bottle-fed usually need foster care.
Some animals need time to recover from an illness or injury before adoption.
Some animals need a bit more time to better “learn their manners”.
It’s more flexible than volunteer jobs that require you to show up at a specific time for a certain number of hours.
It’s a great way to enjoy a pet if you are not in a position to make that lifetime commitment right now.
If you think you’d like to add a dog or cat to your household but are not sure, pet fostering can be a great way to find out.
It’s truly an incredibly rewarding experience for you – and an incredibly valuable experience for your foster pet. Whatever the reason, many animals need some extra love and care before they can be adopted. Providing foster care for a few days, weeks, or months can be a lifesaving gift for an animal.
How much time does fostering take?
The specific needs of the animal will determine how much time is involved. Newborn orphaned puppies and kittens, for instance, must be fed every few hours. A frightened animal who needs socialization or training will also require some extra time. We can discuss your availability and interest to determine what kinds of animals you’ll be best suited to foster.
What skills are needed to be an animal foster parent?
It’s best to have some knowledge about companion animal behavior and health. We will provide you a foster caregiver manual. Some of the animals most in need of foster care are those that require a little extra help or some training. Shy cats often need time to learn to trust – and the quiet of a home environment. Dogs often benefit from a little obedience training, so if you familiarize yourself with some basic training techniques, you can be a big help in preparing your foster dog for a new home. Other animals need additional medical care and may require vet appointments and at-home treatment or medication. Lastly, just by getting to know the animal, you’ll help us to learn more about their personality prior to adoption, which is extremely helpful in placing them with the right family for them.
What else is required?
Specific requirements will vary depending upon the animal you are fostering. There are several animals, like some senior pets, who may be so low-maintenance, it will surprise you. But many others will need fenced yards, medications, or isolation from your personal pets. Still others, like orphaned kittens, will need a carefully controlled environment, a strict feeding and “output” schedule, and very gentle handling.
What about food and medical care for the animal?
We can provide you with all the necessary food and medication. We will also guide you to a specific veterinary clinic for treatment of your foster animal, and we cover all the fees.
What about my own pets?
You’ll want to consider how the animals in your household will adjust to having a foster pet. Some animals do very well with a temporary friend and can help socialize the foster animal. Other pets have a harder time with new animals being added to or leaving the family. You’re the best judge of your pet’s personality.
For the safety of your pets and the foster animal, it’s important to keep your pets up-to-date on vaccinations. In some cases, the foster pet will need to initially be isolated from your own pets, either for the first 10-14 days or possibly throughout the foster period. We will work with you to determine what’s best in each situation.
Will I have to find a home for the foster animal myself?
We will take full responsibility for finding your foster pet a new home, though you can help by telling friends, family and co-workers about your foster pet, as well as sharing photographs and videos on social media. Sharing a well-rounded description of your foster pet’s personality is also an important part of fostering. We can discuss how the screening and adoption process will work, so you know what to expect.
What about when it’s time to say good-bye to the fostered pet?
Giving up an animal you’ve fostered, even to a wonderful new home, can be an emotional experience. Some people like to be there when the pet goes home with the new family because seeing your foster animal ride off into the sunset will help you remember that he has found a lovely new home. Many foster families get photos and updates of their previous foster pets enjoying their new homes. Knowing you were part of saving a life and helping the animal find a loving home is tremendously rewarding. And, of course, sometimes a foster home turns into a permanent home. That’s why we are always on the lookout for new foster homes!
But is it fair to the animals being fostered?
Some people are reluctant to foster animals because they are concerned that it is unfair to take in a dog or cat, establish a bond, and then allow the animal to be adopted out into another home. Isn’t that a second abandonment? Not at all!
Being in a foster home can be a lifesaving bridge for a stray, frightened or medically-compromised pet. It gives the animal a chance to get used to life in a home, as well as an opportunity to learn that people can be kind, food is available, and there is a warm, secure place to sleep. And the more affection you offer the pet, the more you will demonstrate that humans can be trusted – and the more likely his long-term family is to bond with him more readily. There’s no shortage of animals who need this preparation time before finding their own people!
Pet fostering is important valuable work and, best of all, it saves lives.