Foster parenting is a rewarding experience for the entire family. It teaches children to love and care for a pet with the intention of finding a loving home and letting them go. Many lessons can be learned from that. For foster parents, the best feeling is the satisfaction in saving an animal from a potentially terrible life or being euthanized at the shelter for lack of space and being the link that brings that pet to a new owner.
Upon approval, foster parents can choose which type of pet(s) they would like to foster. Shelters are full of dogs and cats of all ages, colors, breeds and personalities. We will match you with the right pet for your lifestyle. We can provide a crate, bowls, supplies, etc., if needed. All medical expenses are also paid by TFAR, as long as they are pre-approved.
*BEFORE YOU FOSTER*
It is extremely important that you make sure that all of your own pets are up to date on their annual shots and have had the appropriate vaccines (e.g., kennel cough). Your pets should all be protected with flea/tick and heartworm prevention. We cannot be responsible if your pet gets sick due to a foster animal being sick. That is why it’s imperative you protect your pets with preventative medicines and why we call your vet references to make sure your animals are UTD.
*CHILDREN & DOGS*
We do not always know a dogs history or tolerance level for different types of people and activities, please teach your children how to act responsibly and respectfully around your foster dog. We will do our best to place you with an appropriate dog for your home situation, but you should still supervise all interactions between children and the dog. Key things to remind your children: Always leave the dog alone when he/she is eating, chewing or sleeping. Some dogs may nip or bite if bothered while eating or startled while sleeping. Do not take away a toy or prized possession from the dog. Do not tease the dog. Don’t chase the dog around the house or run quickly around the dog; it may scare them. Pick up all your toys. Some dogs may not be able to tell the difference between what is theirs and what belongs to the kids. Do not allow young children to walk the foster dog because they may not be strong enough or experienced enough to handle encounters with other dogs or cats who cross their path.
*BEFORE YOU FOSTER – DOGS*
Prepare your home for your new foster dog by:
• Having a crate (if needed), leash, bowls, harness/collar, etc.
• Setting aside space in your home for the dog to decompress.
*BEFORE YOU FOSTER – CATS*
Prepare your home for your new foster cat by:
• Having a litter box, litter, bowls, etc
• Set aside a room in your home for the cat
*WHEN YOUR FOSTER PET ARRIVES*
• You will be provided information on what medical requirements are needed, if any, and other expectations such as sending photos and videos regularly, and contact information of various TFAR volunteers.
• Introducing a foster dog: Introductions should be strategically planned out. You know your dog and what is best when your dog meets other dogs. Feel free to discuss options before you get the dog with one of the TFAR experienced dog foster parents or the director.
PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG AND YOUR FOSTER ALONE TOGETHER.
• Introducing a foster cat: Introduce the new cat to the other pets in your home very slowly. This may take days or even weeks. Keep the new cat in a separate room, isolated from other animals, for at least a few days. Depending on the cat and whether you have the space, it may be best to keep the cat separated for the entire stay at your home. Cats require time to adjust and acclimate to the their new environment. If possible, let them check each other out by smelling each other under the door, or provide another means of limited contact, such as a baby gate. If after many attempts the introductions are going well, you may try supervised introductions in the same room. Don’t expect cats to become fast friends. The best you can and should hope for is cats coexisting with minimal fighting.
*TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR FOR DOGS*
• Email Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org with any behavioral problems. She will be more than happy to offer advice.
• Treat your foster dog as if they are not housebroken. Keep an eye on them at all times in the house. Create a regular potty schedule. Puppies can hold between potty breaks for approximately one hour for each month of their age. So, a four- month-old puppy can hold it for four hours during the day. Overnight, they can usually hold it longer. If you are having a problem with housebreaking, contact us and we will walk you through it.
• The more you understand about training dogs and correcting behavioral problems, the smoother things will go for you and your new foster dog. We use a positive approach for behavior modification.
• Many of the dogs we get are undersocialized and have certain behavioral problems. It is essential that we socialize dogs as much as possible. Always use extreme caution and go very slowly when introducing your foster dog to new people and situations. If you are not sure if you should do something, don’t do it.
• Never leave your dog tied/tethered outside for any amount of time.
• Never leave your dog alone in a fenced yard longer than 15 minutes. Only do this after you are certain they will not jump the fence or dig underneath.
• Never let your foster dog off leash in an unfenced area!
• Never leave your foster dog in a car alone.
• Do not use a retractable leash, a pinch collar, or a choke collar. Leashes and harnesses are available for you to use.
*FEEDING YOUR FOSTER ANIMAL*
• Please feed your foster pet only food twice a day.
Puppies under six-months-old should eat three times per day. All food will be provided to you.
• Please do not give a foster dog rawhides, greenies, or edible nylabones
*SPECIAL CARE FOR CATS*
It could take weeks for your new foster cat to acclimate with the other animals in your house. Do NOT introduce them to your crew right away. That could spell disaster. Begin by having the new cat in his own room with a litter box, food, water, somewhere to sleep and things to do. Let him sniff under the door and let your pets do the same. After a few days you can put up a baby gate blocking that room and when supervised let the animals greet each other through the gate. When not supervised keep the door closed. This can be a slow and tedious process. After a week or so of that, keep the gate up and door open for short times when you are not supervising. While cats can jump a gate, typically they respect the barrier and it gives them security to know where their spaces are. Over maybe two weeks to a month, the animals in the house should adjust and can live together. You may opt to put the foster cat in his room when you leave for the day and/or at bedtime. Don’t feel bad about it! The alternative is a shelter or the streets.
All vet visits must be pre-approved by us. Any vet visits made without approval will not be reimbursed.
*EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE*
• The best way to avoid an expensive emergency vet visit is observe your foster pet carefully and catch any illnesses before they become serious. Look for signs such as lethargy, loose stools, vomiting, sneezing, and coughing.
• At the first sign of an illness, contact your designated TFAR representative. Also, to avoid your foster pet getting injured, never let them outside off leash in an unfenced area, and be very cautious when introducing them to animals outside of the home. You are not required to continue to foster a dog if you feel it’s not working out. However, we may not have an immediate alternate foster home for the dog. We will work on moving your foster dog out as soon as possible, but ask for your understanding and patience. Please call the foster coordinator during business hours if this situation arises.
*THE ADOPTIVE FAMILY*
• Rest assured, we will always choose a new family very carefully.
• Prospective adoptive families will first be screened by having them fill out an application and go through the adoption process before setting up a time for them to meet the pet.
• Only applicants that are pre-screened and approved will meet the pet.
• When a possible adopter looks like a good fit, we will contact you and have you set up a time for the new family to meet the foster pet at the fosters home.
• We want your input. You know your foster pet better than anyone else. By all means, ask the adopters for their contact information so that you can stay in touch with the animal you fostered. It’s really nice to see updates on them.
• Please keep in regular contact with us. Contact your foster coordinator regularly and let her know how the animal is doing. We recommend at least three updates per week along with photos. The best way to send them is to your designated TFAR representative
• Keep litter boxes clean by scooping them out daily.
• Have a spot in your home you can use to separate your foster pet from other pets if it becomes necessary.
• If you agree to foster an animal, it is important you commit to fostering them until they are adopted.
• Please notify us at least two weeks in advance of any trip you are planning, and tell us what you would like to do with the pet while you are away. All care of the foster pet outside of the contracted foster family must be approved in advance.
• Make sure you have our phone number with you at all times as well as the number of a couple of other volunteers in case of an emergency. • If you have a child under 16, please do not let them walk the dog outside a fenced area. Only the foster parents should do that.
• Do not leave the care of your foster pet to someone that has not been approved to foster, unless you get prior consent.
• Foster parenting is a lot of work. The pet will need time to adjust to your home. They may be stressed on arrival and take sometimes a few days to a few weeks to settle in. They may have accidents in your home initially until they are reminded where to go (in a box, in the case of a cat). They may chew things up and grab things off the counter as well. Your best assurance that won’t happen is if you keep them in a room with a gated area that is secure or leave them in a “childproof” room while you are away. We cannot guarantee any incoming foster his housetrained.
*IF YOU DECIDE TO ADOPT YOUR FOSTER PET*
• Occasionally, foster families decide to adopt their foster pet. Fosters get first choice to adopt as long as they are still available for adoption. If you decide to adopt your foster pet, please let us know BEFORE we post the animal for adoption. If you inform us too late and the pet already has an approved adopter, the pet will NOT be available for the foster to adopt.
•The first step in adopting your foster pet is to fill out an adoption contract. We cannot guarantee that you will be approved as an adopter. The adoption donation fee would apply, except you would get a foster discount. We rely heavily on adoption donations to continue saving lives.
*LAST BUT NOT LEAST*
• Lavish tons of love and attention on your foster pet. They have been through so much. Sometimes all they need is to know someone loves them.
• Some cats and dogs that come to us have never learned to play with toys. Teach them and see their face light up!
TAKE LOTS OF CLEAR PICS OF YOUR FOSTER PET! VIDEOS ARE GREAT AS WELL! AFTER A FEW DAYS IN THE FOSTER HOME, PLEASE EMAIL US A BIO OF YOUR FOSTER AND SEND THE PICS AND VIDEOS SO WE CAN START POSTING YOUR FOSTER ANIMAL FOR ADOPTION THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA.