Each year HELP Humane rescues scores of cats and dogs – many that might be euthanized in some shelters due to age, illness, behavior, or just lack of space.
Most can come directly to the shelter and be ready for adoption in a very short time. But some of these sweet animals simply need extra time and attention before they are able to adjust to shelter life or to move comfortably into a forever home.
Foster care is temporary “parenting” that allows you to help homeless animals without the full time commitment of pet ownership.
Why is fostering important?
Because of circumstances, some animals need more attention than they can receive in a shelter setting. Some cannot thrive without quiet care. It would not be possible to save these deserving pets without the help of compassionate foster care parents.
By providing care away from the shelter, fostering creates space for HELP to save even more animals in need.
Foster care is vitally important to HELP’s mission to rescue and to place homeless and abused animals.
What pets need fostering?
Animals need extra love and attention for a number of reasons. These include:
- senior pets with special needs
- orphaned kittens or puppies
- nursing cats or dogs needing space
- pets recovering from illness or injury
- babies needing bottle feeding
Other situations may also make fostering a wise alternative to adoption.
What do foster parents do?
Foster parents’ primary job is to provide loving care, to give their foster pets the attention and security they need to be ready for adoption.
Providing temporary care for a homeless pet is an exceptionally rewarding personal experience-a way for even those who cannot make a long-term commitment to help animals in need. Note: If you cannot continue care you are to notify HELP. No foster is to be turned over to another caregiver or taken to another home.
What about pet food?
While HELP can share donated food, it is extra helpful when foster homes provide suitable cat food. We will provide information on types and brands appropriate for your kitty.
HELP strongly discourages the use of certain discount foods (Special Kitty, Old Roy, etc.). Filler-packed foods lack the vitamins and nutrients necessary for the health of pets, particularly those who are in foster care.
What about veterinary care?
HELP pays for spay/neuter, vaccinations, and necessary medical care. All HELP’s pets are spayed/neutered, current on vaccinations, tested for heartworm (dogs), tested for FeLV/ FIV (cats), and are dewormed before leaving our custody. We want our pets to be in the best possible health before being placed.
Any medical treatment needed by the foster pet will be covered by HELP, but the foster parent must contact the designated HELP counselor to set up veterinary visits. At the time you fill out an application to foster, ask about emergency situations and how they are to be handled for the specific animal.
What if I have an outdoor cat?
We cannot place a kitty in a home where cats are allowed outdoors because these cats can bring diseases back to the foster cat.
If your cat was allowed outside previously, but is not now, we require it be tested negative for FeLV/FIV before a foster can be placed. There are many good reasons for kitties to stay inside and many good reasons why they should not roam. Please consider protecting your cats by keeping them inside.
In a perfect world all foster homes have a big fenced yard for dogs and plenty of inside cozy room for kitties. If this is not possible in your case, HELP will work with you to determine if a foster can be placed using some provisions. For instance, if you have no fence and are approved for a dog you must agree to give the foster adequate play time and exercise by walking the dog on a leash.
No HELP dog is to be tied up outdoors or to be an outside only pet. Safe tie-outs for very short times or potty breaks are acceptable IF the foster parent is supervising. All HELP cats are FeLV/FIV tested and must be kept indoors to prevent being exposed to these diseases after they are tested. All animals in the foster home, dogs and cats, must be current with their vaccinations.
How do I foster?
Simply fill out the Foster Care Parent application. Within a few days a staff member will contact you to review your application and answer questions you may have.
When HELP determines an animal needs foster care we will contact prospective foster homes to secure just the right place. If for any reason you cannot take that animal, we will keep you on the list and call on another occasion.
Animals are placed in foster homes until they are ready for adoption, then returned to HELP for placement. If at any time you are unable to continue fostering, just contact HELP and we will arrange alternate care.