Q: Why is fostering necessary?
A: Furry Friends Network has no shelter and is reliant upon a fostering network to provide temporary homes for our animals. Our animals are kept in foster homes until they are placed in permanent loving homes of their own. We currently have limited foster resources, and as a result we often have to turn animals in need away because there is no one to foster them.
Q: What do I need to foster?
A: Personal Qualities – If you want to foster, you should consider yourself to be a compassionate, patient and committed person. You will also need to be flexible and to have a practical attitude. A good sense of humor is most helpful too. These qualities will enable you to help a dog or cat recover from the trauma of being displaced and make a good adjustment to a new home.
Suitable Home – A fenced yard is optimum but not necessary. If you rent a home, you need to have your landlord’s permission to have a dog or cat living with you, even on a temporary basis.
Time at Home – You shouldn’t foster if you plan to be away on a trip soon after you take in a foster animal. You should plan at least an hour per day for care and exercise of the animal. You should also plan to spend significant time with the animal each day, just being in each other’s company.
Experience – You don’t need to have fostered in the past. However, some experience with animals is good to have. If you have experience with a particular breed, it would make sense to foster that breed. Providing some simple training or re-training of basic obedience is desirable; and in some circumstances, attending a dog training class may be necessary. If you are a first-time foster, we will help determine which animal would be best for your situation and what information on breeds, behavior and training will be useful to you.
Equipment – Everything is supplied to you. Food, dishes, leash, collar, treats, toys and medications will be provided as needed. A crate is a convenient piece of equipment for foster animals and can be provided if needed. If you already have a pet bed, that’s great. If not, old blankets and towels make a comfortable place for your foster to sleep.
Q: What if I already have another pet or pets?
A: Many people with another pet or pets, foster animals. We gather as much information as possible on the background of our rescue animals and their ability to get along with other animals and children. You, of course, need to know your own pets’ abilities to adjust to a visiting dog or cat.
Q: What are foster home responsibilities?
A: Foster homes provide the love and shelter while Furry Friends Network pays for food, toys, crates if necessary, and all medical care. A foster home is invaluable because the foster parent gains insight to the animal's personality to help us better match them with the perfect home. The foster parent needs to be able to transport the animal (as applicable) to and from vet appointments. In addition, our foster animals are taken to our weekend pet adoption events for people to meet them. It is a very good idea to participate since these create interest in the foster animal(s). If you want to be involved in your foster animal’s adoption, you can help process adoption applications submitted for your animal or help with the home visits. By doing so, you have the opportunity to get to know the prospective adopters for your foster animal. You will be able to see the interaction between the animal and the family and help with the adoption decision.
Q: How long does a fostering situation usually last?
A: The average time an animal is usually fostered is several weeks; however, it could be as little as a few days or as long as several months. Foster animals get adopted at different paces depending on age, breed, gender and ability to get along with children and other animals. Although it is preferable for the animal to remain in one foster home until it finds a permanent home, we realize this is not always possible. Foster parents have the right to discontinue fostering at any time for any reason. So if you can foster for a couple of days, weeks or months, your services can be useful!
Q: What if I get attached to the animal I foster?
A: While it is not uncommon to become attached to an animal you are fostering, we often remind ourselves that our main goal is to save the animal’s life. Without a foster home, that animal wouldn't get a second chance at life. Foster families very often keep in touch with the adoptive family to check on the animal's progress. It also makes many of us feel better to know that releasing our fosters to a new, loving home enables us to again take in and give a chance at life to another animal. Each animal you help takes a little piece of your heart, and that hurts, but knowing you saved a life and can possibly save even more makes it all worth it! Of course, if you absolutely cannot see yourself giving up the foster animal and can accommodate them in your home, adoption is a consideration.
For more information, please visit FosterDogs.