Besides adopting, volunteering, and donating money, fostering animals is an essential element to helping animals who come through our doors. Our foster parents are among the best we could wish for! They provide temporary homes for dogs and cats who are too young to be adopted, those recovering from surgery, injury, or illness, and those who are still waiting for their forever home.
There are certain factors to consider before you foster a animal.
If you are considering becoming a foster parent but aren’t sure what the task entails, we’ve put together this guide so you have a full understanding before you take on this admirable service.
Let’s take a look at the most important things to consider before you foster a needy animal.
The 7 Most Important Things to Consider Before You Foster a Needy Animal.
1. Home Environment
We always want to make sure that foster homes are animal friendly. White rugs and couches and homes with lots of valuable/breakable items may not be ideal, especially when you have a boisterous puppy that might not be house trained. If you have other animals, there needs to be a separate space for your foster dog, incase a quarantine period is needed. There also needs to be a place outdoors for exercise. It’s also important to check-in with other household members—roommates, spouses, or children—to ensure they’re open to having a foster animal in the house and will abide by any rules necessary.
Many foster animals come from less-than-ideal situations: some are very young, some are recovering from surgery, and others need additional socialization. As you can imagine, a foster care animal with any of these issues will need some extra love, attention and patience. All of this amounts to one factor: time. There may also be the need to take them to the vet for checkups, routine care, or post-surgical care. (This also necessitates consistent, reliable transportation.) You’ll also need to consider the length of placement. The majority of our placements are under 4 weeks, but some animals require longer stays—sometimes up to 3 months. We always provide an estimated placement time, but unforeseen circumstances can cause longer or shorter stays.
3. Existing Pets
If you already have pets in the home, you’ll need to take them into consideration prior to bringing home a foster animal. Typically we recommend a minimum 14-day quarantine period of your foster animal to prevent spreading illness. Although all foster animals are given a thorough examination by our veterinarian, there is always the possibility that your foster animal may become ill after placement due to an undetectable ailment. Some foster animals may have fleas or intestinal parasites. While we provide treatment for these conditions, they can take a while to eradicate. Exposure to your own pets could be detrimental. Some foster parents choose to keep their own pets separate, not only for the medical reasons as noted above, but for emotional reasons. It’s possible that your existing pets may not enjoy strangers in their domain, which might cause them to act hostile. Only you can judge the situation and deem whether total quarantine is necessary or not.
As a foster parent, you will be supplying the basics to your foster animal, including food and water. Puppy pads (if needed), crates, and toys can be supplied by us.(Unless agreed differently) These items do not have to be new. In fact, our foster parents often wash and recycle bedding and toys in between dog and puppy placements. The Green Valley Brittany provides all routine medical care/medication and will provide a discount for any medication for pets that are specifically being fostered-to-adopt.
5. Special Needs
We’ve spent time discussing the basics of how to prepare and care for your foster animals. But what if the animal you’re fostering has special needs?
Some of our animals require extra attention due to:
Recovery from Illness: If an animal has a contagious illness, they’re not suitable to be at our shelter. This includes upper respiratory illnesses, skin conditions, and intestinal parasites, which require frequent rechecks by our veterinarian.
You will likely have to give your foster animal medication(s), too.
Underweight: Underweight animals may require a special diet and a keen eye to watch for any signs of illness. With younger puppies or kittens, there may be the need to potty train or continuing to potty train.
Recovery from Surgery: Some animals that come into our care might have severe injuries from accident or abuse. Animals recovering from surgery will have limited mobility, may need bandage changes and regular administration of medication(s), as well as regular veterinary checks.
In addition to preparedness for the special needs or issues some foster animals may have, you will need a fair amount of patience for puppies, kittens, elderly dogs or cats, or victims of neglect and/or abuse. Younger dogs may not be fully house trained, which will require persistence and patience on your part to help them master this process. Puppies—as well as older unsocialized dogs—may also need some basic obedience training. Teaching simple commands such as sit and stay, helping to deter biting and nipping, and leash training are vital to their development. Neglected and abused dogs might need some extra love and cuddle time. They may be resistant at first, which is why persistence and patience are…again…valuable assets to have.
7. Emotional Attachment
If we’re being honest, many foster parents fall in love with their adorable foster animals and become attached. While it isn’t uncommon to be sad and cry the first time you return your foster for adoption, most foster parents say it gets easier over time. However, if the emotional burden is too much to handle, you might want to take more time to consider volunteering as a foster parent. Please think long and hard about fostering if you think you will not be able to relinquish your foster animal when the time comes. Alternately, think about adopting instead. We certainly have plenty of animals available for full-time loving homes.
The Foster Care Program at The Green Valley Brittany
In order to help prevent overcrowding we have an awesome Foster Care Program. Approved foster parents provide temporary care in their home to animals from our shelter until they’re ready to find their permanent homes. Fostering opportunities can last anywhere between two weeks to several months. The Green Valley Brittany provides all routine veterinary care and lots of support to our foster parent volunteers. All we ask in return is that you dedicate the time, energy, love, and support that these rescued animals need and deserve.
To become a foster parent please fill in the foster care application using the link below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.