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Thread: We are thinking about fostering. *Advice needed*

  1. #1

    We are thinking about fostering. *Advice needed*

    I am thinking about getting into fostering. I have been talking to my husband about it. He is interested but not convinced. I honestly don't know how many people foster dogs on here. But can I get some advice on it please? Who pays for medical, food, and such? Our house can hold maybe 2 smaller dogs, but they have to be dog and cat friendly. Gracie and the cats will be my main priority of course. How would I go about getting into fostering? Should I go to the local shelter (which is a kill shelter) and see if they need foster homes? Do they pick how many animals one house can handle? Do I have to let my township office know what I want to do? I know Gracie would get along well with other dogs, since I have seen it myself. Do we have to get a license or anything to do this? All advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Katie

    P.S. The reason we are thinking of dogs is because Cubby (first cat) can only tolerate Rachel. (second cat) He likes getting his momma time which I'm not sure he would have that if I had a few more cats in the house. I would also end up keeping all of them. I might have the same problems with dogs but I don't know yet. I might end up keeping all of them too. Lol. I'm to quick to get attached to any animal I see.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    10,130
    Most kill shelters don't have great foster programs. I won't go into detail on that I would contact some rescues near you. They are always in desperate need of foster homes. Different groups have different policies. Just check out their websites and email the ones that interest you. If you don't have a particular breed rescue in mind, there are several all breed rescues. Most commonly the rescue will cover medical expenses and ask that you cover food. Some groups will cover food as well. A few of them don't cover anything. Most of my shelter fosters I end up having to pay for everything myself, but sometimes that is because I don't trust the shelter with some things.

    They might do a home visit, but they might not. Everything really just depends on the individual group. I'd find one with people you like since you'll probably be sitting in on some adoption days with them. Most groups have nice people anyway. I work with a group filled with some of the most wonderful, fun people I have ever met

    Good luck with fostering. I've been doing it for 6 years now and it is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. It is emotionally and physcially draining at times, but it is worth it.
    Alyson
    Shiloh, Reece, Lolly, Skylar
    and fosters Snickers, Missy, Magic, Merlin, Maya

  3. #3
    Thank you. I will look up rescues in my area. My big concern is money. We don't have a ton of it. Should we wait until we get our finances taken care of? That way we will have a lot more free money we can spend on this?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Riding my bike somewhere...
    Posts
    26,415
    I've been wanting to do fostering for our local Humane Society for a while, all I need is my parents to say yes. :P

    Our Humane Society requires a short training class and provides everything for the animal.

    ~Kay, Athena, Ace, Kiara, Mufasa, & Alice!
    "So baby take a axe to your makeup kit
    Set ablaze the billboards and their advertisements
    Love with all your hearts and never forget
    How good it feels to be alive
    And strive for your desire"

    -rx bandits

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    2,360
    I foster for United Yorkie Rescue. They will cover approved medical expenses and some non-medical but they are on a case-by-case basis. I cover all food and incidental items. I keep a supply of kennels, collars, beds, blankets, piddle pads, etc.

    I work with the fosters to help overcome any behavioral problems. With UYR, I get to select the new home. I take all applications, review them, arrange for home visit, make reference calls and meet new parents when approved. UYR believes the foster parents know the dog the best and would have a better idea where they would be best suited. The new parents have to come to my house to pick up the pup since we don't ship.

    It sounds like a lot, but I love it. It is so rewarding to see them come out of their shell and go to a loving home. I won't lie - it's hard seeing them go, but you won't regret it.

    Here is my last foster, Sammy:

    I cried when he left, but Ralph and Betty are taking such good care of him I can't regret adopting to them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northern Canada
    Posts
    5,532
    The policies vary from group to group. I foster for two different groups--our local shelter and a national malamute rescue. The mal group does not have a facility. The dogs are all in foster homes. I pay medical bills, but can get reimbursed later. I don't usually bother though.

    The local shelter is where most of our dogs have come from. The shelter pays for food and medical only. Toys, treats and extras come from the foster parent. In my case, I don't use their food. It's decent kibble, but it's not what I feed. It's too complicated to feed the fosters different food. Medical expenses have to be preapproved before the shelter will cover them. They have an account at the local vet clinics. Again, I don't usually bother with that. I just take them in as I think they need to.

    You will want to check with the group about what kind of dogs they foster out. The shelter we work with, only fosters out hard to adopt, problem dogs. Dogs that are small, young and highly adoptable don't go to foster homes. Dogs that have been in the shelter for months, have behavior problems, temperment issues or need special care go to foster homes.

    Also ask about what happens if the dog doesn't work out in your home. With the shelter here, the foster parent is usually required to keep the dog until a kennel is open at the shelter again--which can be a long while sometimes!

    It's important to me that I have input on potential adopters. I won't let one of my fosters go to someone I don't approve of. I have first right of refusal with all my fosters. That's how a couple of them got adopted. If I refuse an approved adopter who the shelter staff thinks is a good match for the dog, I have to keep the dog. I also have an agreement with the shelter and the new families that the dog never goes back to the shelter if things don't work out. The dog comes back to me. It's never happened yet on a permanent basis, but I dog sit several former fosters regularly.

    It's rewarding and heartbreaking work all at the same time!
    If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you must find the courage to live it.
    --John Irving

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Calgary, AB
    Posts
    17
    I foster for my local Greyhound adoption group, and it's incredibly rewarding, yet hearbraking work. I say rewarding because it's such a wonderful thing to be a part of helping an animal find a forever home, and when you get pictures and letters from the forever home like this:


    you know you've done a good thing. The downside is, it can be horribly difficult to let them go. The picture I posted was of Marvi, our first foster, and letting him go was the hardest thing I've ever done. Even though I know he's incredibly happy with his family, a little tiny secret part of me still wishes he'd bounce so we could have him back.

    The other heartbreaking part of fostering comes with returns. The last foster we had is coming back to me tomorrow. He's gone from being a happy go lucky, goofy, clumsy, toy-loving angel, to a scared timid boy that cries all day, and the guilt I feel for letting him go there, even though both myself and the adoption group did our work and felt it was a good placement, is unmeasurable. So be aware, you need to be strong of heart and will to foster, or you're either keep them all, or have a breakdown. I'll never stop doing it though.

    As for expenses, the adoption group covers expenses for food, medical, etc etc. I often don't ask for money back for food if the foster is eating my dogs food, but if I have to buy special food, I will keep receipts for reimbursement. Or they could offer you a tax receipt instead as a charitable donation.

    It's certainly worth looking into, smaller groups who don't have permanent kennels will primarily use foster homes to keep the dogs until they're adopted, and it's a great way to go.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    1,093
    I agree, fostering can be a very rewarding experience and it makes you feel great when you are able to find a dog or cat a great forever home. I foster both dogs and cats for our rescue organization and the local SPCA. The SPCA generally pays for everything, medical, food, medication, etc. and BuffaloCAN only pays for medical and medication. We do get donations from local pet food stores which help with the food costs.

    Glacier makes a very good point. most shelters only foster out dogs that have "issues". Sometimes they have specific medical needs that have to be monitored more closely than the shelter can provide, behavior problems that are making adoption difficult, or are showing signs of kennel stress. Many times these behavior issues work themselves out in a home with some basic obedience and care - sometimes they do not. Also most shelters require some time volunteering before they will allow you to foster. Our local animal control facility requires you to volunteer for at least a year before allowing you to foster.

    If you are interested in fostering, I would contact a local rescue organization. They should have a foster application and a foster agreement that they can send you to help you decide whether or not fostering would be right for you. People who contact us about fostering, we require a home check and a vet reference. As a new foster home, we would only place dogs or cats with them that pass a behavior evaluation with an A or B score. Dogs that score a C or D, only go to our experienced foster homes. We would also make periodic checks to ensure the dog or cat is in a good environment. Once we have a good history with the foster home, we don't do that very often. Another thing we require is that foster homes carry their own homeowners and/or liability insurance. Many rescues require that since they cannot afford to carry group policies (they are quite expensive in some states - in NY it is about 1200.00 a year)

    We also depend on the foster home to make most of the decisions reqarding the placement of the animal. We agree that the foster home is the one that knows the animal the best and can make the most informed decision. We do use the "Meet Your Match" protocol with adoptions and we have someone that prescreens the applications before the foster home can contact them. (e.g. vet checks, initial phone interview, etc.) She is only there to make sure that the adopter meets our minimum requirements, not to make decisions on what dog is best for them. Many times people send us applications and then we match them with the right dog for them. Sometimes we don't have a dog that fits their lifestyle, so we forward the application to other rescue organizations.

    This is rather long winded (I apologize), but I did want to give you an idea of what to expect. As Aly said, I have met some of the most wonderful giving people working in rescue. I have made friends that will probably last a lifetime.

    Clara

  9. #9
    Thank you every one for the great advice and insight you all have givin me. I really appreciate it. I will be looking for rescues in my area over the weekend to see what I can find.

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