What are the requirements to foster an animal?
The basic requirements to become a foster family include:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Have valid identification showing your current address
- Have homeowners or renters insurance in which the foster animal(s) would be covered
- All members of the household must be in agreement about fostering
- If you rent, be able to provide a written letter of consent from your landlord that you are allowed to foster a cat or dog (letter must specifically state weight and breed restrictions)
- Be able and willing to spend the time necessary to provide training and proper care for your foster animal
- All resident animals must be spayed/neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations
- Agree to a home-visit, prior to approval fostering, from RHAR
What am I responsible for as a foster?
The main job of a foster home is to provide the animal with a safe and loving environment, and to help prepare them for adoption. RHAR provides all supplies necessary for the care of the animal and is responsible for the veterinary expenses. We do ask that fosters provide us with pictures that can be used to post them for adoption, as well as information about their personality, likes/dislikes, what tricks/commands they know, any problem behaviors, etc. Foster homes can be as involved as they would like to be, and are comfortable with, in the adoption process; foster families are encouraged to bring their foster animals to events, to communicate with potential adopters, and to conduct meet-and-greets and home-checks (with guidance/training), but this is not a requirement.
Where do the animals come from?
Animals come into our program from various places and situations; owner-surrenders, animal shelters, animal control, strays, etc. Not every animal that comes into rescue has a sad story or a horrible past life; sometimes owners are simply no longer able to care for the animal for one reason or another.
Can I choose which animal I foster?
We try to pair foster homes with animals that are most suitable for their lifestyle; in the foster application, we also ask questions about what types of animals you would be willing to foster (age, behaviors, etc). Fosters can also request that we bring an animal into the rescue, whether it be pulling them from a shelter or taking in an owner surrender.
How long will my foster animal be with me?
This is a tricky one! Some animals are adopted out very quickly, while others become "long-termers". We've had animals with us for as little as a week, and some for over two years. Most animals are with us for three months or less, but it is generally difficult to tell before we take them in, unless we know beforehand if they have some type of behavioral or medical problem, or special needs. We will always disclose all known information to a foster before they commit to a foster animal. If there is a time-limit on how long you are able to foster, please let us know upfront and we will work to place animals we know will be quicker adopts with you.
What if I can no longer keep my foster animal?
If this happens, you should notify RHAR immediately. Please keep in mind, when committing to foster, that foster homes are in very short supply. We are not able to move foster animals to a new foster home on short notice - we need, at the minimum, a weeks notice.
If it is an emergency and the foster animal needs a place to go for a few days, please let us know immediately so we can arrange a temporary stay with another foster or boarding facility.
We will make every attempt to help you overcome the situation, whether it requires additional training, or another placement. We will take care not to place a pet with you that are not ready to handle, or that does not fit into your family.
What if I want to adopt my foster animal?
Welcome to the "foster failure" club! Fosters can absolutely adopt their foster animals; we only ask that you notify us before we schedule meet and greets or home-visits with other potential adopters. If we have already started the adoption process with another family, unfortunately we are unable to go back on that. Since the animal is already in your home, we would skip right to the adoption contract and adoption fee to complete the adoption.
What does a foster home do?
A foster home is a temporary placement for our animals. The foster home will be responsible for basic housetraining, socialization, health care, and temperament assessment of a placed pet. The foster family is the 'advocate' for the pet for potential adopters. We rely on our foster homes to assess the personality of the pet, identify any behavioral issues that need to be worked on, etc. Therefore, we like the dogs to be walked (how are they on the leash?), socialized with other pets and people, etc. Some dogs may need to be housebroken or crate-trained (they are more adoptable). The more information the foster home can provide us, the more likely the ultimate placement of the pet is successful. Fostering is a very fulfilling way to help out. If you've thought about adopting a pet, but aren't quite sure what breed is best for you, fostering is a wonderful way to try out different types of animals and determine whether they are suitable for your lifestyle. The more foster parents we have - the more pets we can help!
What if the foster pet doesn't get along with others in the family?
In an effort to avoid a situation like this, we ask that all family members and resident pets meet with a potential foster animal before agreeing to bring that animal into the home. This will help us to identify if there is an immediate potential for problems.
Who is responsible for expenses and supplies?
RHAR will work to provide all supplies necessary to care for your foster animal; in the foster application, we do ask what supplies you would need so that we can work to accommodate your needs. This includes; leash, collar, food/water dishes, crates, etc.
Can I take my foster dog to my own vet?
RHAR has designated vets. However, we are willing to work with other vets as long as their prices are within our budget.
Does RHAR pay for treatment of my pets if they catch something from my foster dog?
We require that your personal pets are fully vaccinated and that you are prepared to quarantine your foster dog if necessary. We do not pay for personal pet vet bills.
What if my foster dog is deemed unadoptable?
We try to avoid this situation by making careful decisions about who we rescue (rather than purely emotional decisions). The Board of Directors will make a determination on the course of action should the issue arise.
What kind of ongoing support will you provide?
You can contact the Board, as well as other fosters and volunteers, at any time. While we are not available 24/7, we do try to be extremely flexible and responsive to any questions and requests.
How are adoptable animals promoted?
All adoptable animals are listed on Adopt-a-Pet and Petfinder, as well as regularly posted on our Facebook page. A RHAR YouTube channel is also available if you would like to upload videos of your foster pets (which greatly increases visibility). Foster animals are requested to be at adoption events, and foster parents are encouraged to promote their fosters, or provide us with new pictures/videos/info regularly.
Do I have any say in who adopts my foster?
Yes. The foster family is consulted on the adoption decision. The foster family knows the pet best and can usually determine the right family fit for their foster.
Will a foster animal have accidents or cause damage?
Foster animals, like any other companion animal in your home, may destroy carpeting, drapes, clothing and other valuable items. Young animals are more likely to have accidents in the home based on their age. Preparing your home and the area the animals will stay in by removing valuable items and providing enrichment items (toys, climbing towers for cats, etc.) can prevent most accidents, but not all of them.