Foster Care FAQ & Resources
What’s a pet foster parent?
By being a pet foster parent, you provide a temporary home for an animal prior to adoption. Fostering animals is a wonderful and personal way to contribute to saving homeless pets. Dogs and cats are the most common pets needing foster homes, but some organizations may also need help with rabbits, birds, or even farm animals.
Why do animals need foster care?
There are several possible reasons:
- Foster care can help save an animal’s life when a shelter is full.
- Some animals don’t do well in a shelter environment because they are frightened or need a little extra care.
- Newborn animals that need to be nursed or bottle-fed usually need foster care.
- Some animals need time to recover from an illness or injury before adoption.
Whatever the reason, these animals need some extra love and care until they are adopted. Providing foster care for a few days, weeks, or months can be a lifesaving gift for an animal.
Would I be a good pet foster parent?
If you want to do something to help the animals in your community, fostering can be a ﬂexible, fun and rewarding volunteer job. Here’s why:
- It’s more ﬂexible than volunteer jobs that require you to show up at a speciﬁc time for a certain number of hours.
- It’s a great way to enjoy a pet if you are not in a position to make that lifetime commitment right now. Fostering can be an excellent option for college students or military families.
- Would you like to add a dog or cat to your household, but you’re not sure? Fostering can be a great way to ﬁnd out.
- Taking animals into your home, loving them, and then letting them go requires a special kind of person. Your role as a foster parent is to prepare the animal for adoption into a loving home.
How much time will fostering take?
The timeframe can vary, although many times, animals in a foster home are matched with an adopter within 1-2 weeks. The speciﬁc needs of the animal will determine how much time is involved. For example, newborn orphaned puppies and kittens or a frightened animal who needs socialization or training will require some extra time. You can discuss your availability with us to determine what kinds of animals you’ll be best suited to foster.
What about food and medical care for the animal?
Fix West Texas will provide a starter bag of food and will also provide basic medical care at our clinic.
What skills are needed to be an animal foster parent?
It’s best to have some knowledge about companion animal behavior and health. We have a variety of resources to provide you with the appropriate training and support to be a successful foster parent.
Some of the animals will require a little extra help or some training. Shy cats often need time to learn to trust and the quiet of a home environment. Dogs often beneﬁt from a little obedience training, so if you familiarize yourself with some basic training techniques, you can be a big help in preparing your foster dog for a new home.
Just by getting to know the animal, you’ll help us learn more about the pet's personality prior to adoption.
What about my own pets?
You’ll want to consider how the animals in your household will adjust to having a foster pet. Some animals do very well with a temporary friend and can help socialize the foster animal. Other pets have a harder time with new animals being added to or leaving the family. You’re the best judge of your pet’s personality.
For the safety of your pets and the foster animal, it’s important to keep your pets up-to-date on vaccinations. In many cases, the foster pet will need to be isolated from your own pets, either temporarily or throughout the foster period. Talk with us to determine what’s best in your situation.
Will I have to ﬁnd a home for the foster animal myself?
Fix West Texas will take full responsibility for ﬁnding a new home, though you can help by telling friends, family and co-workers about your foster pet. All potential adopters should be directed to contacting us, if interested in adopting.
But is it fair to the animals being fostered?
Some people are reluctant to foster animals because they are concerned that it is unfair to take in a dog or cat, establish a bond, and then allow the animal to be adopted out into another home. Isn’t that a second abandonment?
Not at all! Being in a foster home can be a lifesaving bridge for a stray or frightened pet. It gives the animal a chance to get used to life in a house, and an opportunity to learn that people can be kind, food is available, and there is a warm, secure place to sleep.
Foster care can help prepare a dog or cat for a new life in a permanent home. There’s no shortage of animals who need this preparation time before finding their own people.
What about when it’s time to say good-bye to the fostered pet?
Giving up an animal you’ve fostered, even to a wonderful new home, can be difﬁcult emotionally. Some people like to be there when the pet goes home with the new family. Seeing your foster animal ride off into the sunset will help you remember that he has found a lovely new home.
A lot of foster families get photos and updates of their former foster pets enjoying their new homes. Knowing you were part of saving a life and helping the animal ﬁnd a loving home is tremendously rewarding.
Sometimes a foster home turns into a permanent home! If you fall in love with your foster pet, please contact us immediately to discuss adopting!
How do I give pet fostering a try?
Foster parents make an enormous difference in the number of animals euthanized each year because shelters don’t have space for them. It is important, valuable work and, best of all, it saves lives.