Becoming a pet foster home is a great opportunity to help dogs and cats in need without having to run a full rescue center from your home. Whether you already have pets in your house or you’re looking for a single companion to take in and nurse back to health, you can help a pet find its forever home. Many humane societies and rescue centers throughout the country promote fostering as a way to “save two lives, not just one,” because you help the pet you foster and open up a place for another pet at the rescue center. If this sounds like the job for you, read on to learn how to become a pet foster home.
What Do Pet Fosters Do?
Pet fosters provide temporary homes for pets who are currently up for adoption or on their way to becoming adoptable. Oftentimes pet fosters are needed simply because local rescue centers do not have enough space to take on the amount of dogs and cats that come into their facilities. In other cases, a pet foster may be needed to take care of a dog or cat who requires special medical attention. Aggressive pets, senior pets, and puppies/kittens may go into foster homes because of their specific needs. Whatever the case may be, chances are there is a rescue center in your area in need of your assistance.
How to Become a Pet Foster Home
To become a pet foster home, start by contacting your local ASPCA, Humane Society, or other animal rescue centers. Ask them if they are in need of foster homes at the moment, and if so, what kind. Most rescues are always in need of large-breed fosters and special-needs fosters, but they may also have small breed dogs, neonatal kittens, terminally ill pets, or a number of other cats and dogs in need of foster homes.
If you decide to foster one of the pets they suggest or you simply want to sign up to be a foster home for the future, you will need to go through the application process allotted by the rescue center. This varies from one organization to the next, but it usually requires a home assessment and an application stating what your availability is. For instance, if you already have a dog who is not cat friendly or you have severe cat allergies, you obviously wouldn’t be a good fit for a cat foster. Put all of that information in the paperwork so the organization only contacts you about pets you could house.
Life as a Pet Foster Parent
The rescue center you sign up with will try to pair each pet with the best foster home for his or her needs. If you fit the bill for a certain pet (or contact the rescue center about that pet in the first place), the rescue center will arrange a time to bring the pet to you. After watching how the pet adjusts to your home, the center will leave you with the tools necessary to care for the pet – food, a kennel, a leash/collar, medications the pet may be on, etc. All you have to provide is a loving home for the pet to be in.
Depending on the nature of the foster program, you may need to drive the pet to vet appointments. Some rescue centers provide this service for you. If you need more food or other resources to care for the pet, contact the foster coordinator at the rescue center to find out how to gather those. You should not have to spend any money out of pocket, unless you want to.
You will continue to have the pet in your care until he is adopted, or until you become a “foster failure” and choose to adopt him yourself. This happens more often than you might think. Ask the rescue center any questions you may have about their foster program specifically, and you will be on your way to helping a cat or dog find his forever home.