What’s a pet foster parent?

By being a pet foster parent, you provide a temporary home for an animal prior to adoption. Fostering animals is a wonderful and personal way to contribute to saving homeless pets. Dogs and cats are the most common pets needing foster homes, but sometimes we also need help with rabbits, birds, hamsters and other pets.

Why do animals need foster care?

There are several possible reasons:

  • Foster care allows us to take out more adoptable "last chance" pets from the county shelter when their time there has run out.
  • Some animals don’t do well in a shelter environment because they are frightened or need a little extra care that they can only receive in an individual home.
  • 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.

Whatever the reason, these 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.

Would I be a good pet foster parent?

If you want to do something to help the animals, fostering can be a flexible, fun and rewarding volunteer job. Here’s why:

  • 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. Fostering can be an excellent option for college students or military families.
  • Would you like to add a dog or cat to your household, but you’re not sure? Fostering can be a great way to find out.

Taking animals into your home, loving them, and then letting them go requires a special kind of person. Your role as a foster parent is to prepare the animal for adoption into a loving home.

How much time will it 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. You can discuss your availability with our canine and feline rescue coordinators to determine what kinds of animals you’ll be best suited to foster.

What skills are needed?

It’s best to have some knowledge about companion animal behavior and health. We will provide any training for you and assist you with ongoing questions and concerns as needed.

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.

Just by getting to know the animal, you’ll help the Humane Society learn more about the pet's personality prior to adoption.

What else is required?

We have policies and specific requirements depending upon the animal you are fostering. For example, some animals will medications. Some pets will do better with fenced yards or may require a "only pet" situation.  If you rent, you will need approval from your landlord that you are allowed to have pets--even temporary foster pets.  Again, our coordinators will place the best fit for your situation. You will fill out a foster application form with your information. 

What about food and medical care?

We provide foster parents with all the necessary food, crates, leashes, collars, bowls, veterinary care, and medication.  Your foster pet will have a specific local veterinary clinic for any treatment.  The Canine or Feline Rescue Coordinators schedule all veterinary appointments and treatments. 

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 may need to be isolated from your own pets, either temporarily or throughout the foster period. You and coordinator can determine what’s best in each situation.

Will I have to find a home for the animal myself?

No. We take full responsibility for finding a new home, though you can help by telling friends, family and co-workers about your foster pet. We list our adoptable pets on Petfinder.com and have, at least. two Saturday adoption events at the Statesboro Petco or other local location.  You will be required to bring your foster to the events to maximize the pet's adoption opportunities, but you are not required to stay during the event.

What about when it’s time to say good-bye?

Giving up an animal you’ve fostered, even to a wonderful new home, can be difficult emotionally. Some people like to be there when the pet goes home with the new family. Seeing your foster animal ride off into the sunset will help you remember that he has found a lovely new home.

A lot of foster families get photos and updates of their old charges enjoying their new homes. Knowing you were part of saving a life and helping the animal find a loving home is tremendously rewarding.

Sometimes a foster home turns into a permanent home. That’s why rescue, shelter, and humane organizations are always on the lookout for new foster homes!

But is it fair to the animals?

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 or frightened pet. It gives the animal a chance to get used to life in a house, and an opportunity to learn that people can be kind, food is available, and there is a warm, secure place to sleep.

Foster care can help prepare a dog or cat for a new life in a permanent home. There’s no shortage of animals who need this preparation time before finding their own people.

How do I give fostering a try?

When you are ready, contact us by phone (912-681-9393) or email (borohumane@gmail.com) or drop by one of our adoption events (check our website home page under "Upcoming Events") and we'll discuss it further.  We'd love to have you be a part of our life-saving team!

Foster parents make an enormous difference in the number of animals saved each year.  It is important, valuable work and is tremendously satisfying. 

I can’t provide foster care, but are there other ways I can help?

Absolutely! You can volunteer at adoption events, transport animals to and from the vet, return phone calls, or do office work. We need someone to take great digital images of pets and promote them online and through the social media. You also could help with our fundraisers that support our foster, rescue, and spay/neuter programs. 

Contact us:  912-681-9393  or  borohumane@gmail.com