Thinking about or curious about fostering? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This will provide you with most everything you need to understand the obligations of being a foster provider and allow you to decide whether or not fostering a homeless animal may be right for you.
After reviewing the information below (please also review our adoption page for level of care expected for already owned pets), if you feel like you want to be a foster provider for the New Kent Humane Society, we welcome you to complete our online foster application and we’ll get back to you with the next step within a few days.
Why are foster providers needed?
First and foremost, they are a more appropriate environment for stability, learning and growth than a place like a kennel. In a foster home, a dog is exposed to all of the same experiences they would likely get in a real home and have a chance to properly learn, socialize and interact with people and sometimes other animals. Unfortunately, these opportunities are few and far between in kennels, due to the large number of animals and lacking resources. Loving foster homes better prepare foster pets for their real home and in turn, make for a smoother transition when that wonderful time does come.
Are foster homes important?
Foster homes are very important to any rescue. The number of animals we can help is only as good as the number of good foster homes we have available. New Kent Humane Society could have all of the volunteers and supplies in the world, but if it has no loving foster places for the animals to stay, it can’t save lives due to lack of space in a euthanizing pound.
What are you looking for in a potential foster?
We need foster providers who of course, first and foremost, love animals. We’re looking for foster providers who will work with us and help to find their foster animal a permanent home. We look for people with patience enough to deal with situations that may arise with your foster animal. We generally want people who are mature and responsible, who have previous animal experience, who have a fenced in yard (or will leash walk a dog daily), who live in a safe, stable environment and who also have the time to devote to caring for a foster animal.
Top Ten for Foster Providers:
It is essential that a foster provider understand what is expected and meet these expectations. We are run entirely by volunteer time and donations and need our foster parents to stick within our foster guidelines and practices at all times. Here’s your top ten list for fostering:
- Provide safety and stability: Foster providers are expected to provide a safe, comfortable, healthy, and stable environment for their foster animal. Does this sound like a lot to ask? Well, it may be, but our organization depends on responsible foster providers to ensure the safety of each of our foster pets. Our foster animals should be indoors; crated when not able to be supervised; they should be fed healthy, appropriate food, given unlimited access to fresh, clean water and be exercised and socialized in such a way as to create a positive and well tempered pet that would be a wonderful addition to any family.
- Adoptions: We cannot guarantee how long you will be asked to foster an animal. Sometimes they are adopted within weeks, sometimes it takes many months. Please do not enter into fostering with an expectation that your foster will be gone within a certain period of time. The length of time it takes to foster a pet until it gets adopted is often directly related to the amount of time and energy the foster providers put into training, publicizing, and attending events to promote its adoption.
- Veterinary Care: New Kent Humane Society pays for routine veterinary care of the foster animal during the time it is being fostered; including routine check-ups, vaccinations, and treatment of emergencies. In order to control expenses, the foster parent will utilize veterinarians designated by New Kent Humane Society and will notify a Board Member prior to any medical treatment of your foster animal, with the appointment being set up by a New Kent Humane Society Board Member or designee. New Kent Humane Society is not responsible for veterinary expenses caused by a foster providers neglect or irresponsible actions.
- Food, Treats, Toys, Crates, and Supplies: We will provide pet food, treats, toys, crates, bowls and various other supplies for your foster during the period of fostering. Fosters should contact New Kent Humane Society to pick up items needed, as we cannot deliver to you.
- Treatment: The foster provider is expected to handle routine care and other situations that may arise. We all try to be there for each other in times of need, and we encourage you to reach out to other foster providers and the Board Members via e-mail for advice if needed, but we do not have the resources to routinely take foster dogs for walks, stop in and check on a cat or other routine tasks that should be expected of a foster provider. Please treat the foster as if it is yours during the fostering period and please care for it as such.
- Events: We attend adoption events in the Richmond area and also attend local events which promote the adoption of your foster animal. Foster providers are expected to be available, if at all possible, and work with us to have your foster at the events. We do our very best to coordinate transportation, if needed, to get a foster animal to an event, but it may not always be available. Please also provide information for our website when requested including pictures and a description of personality traits, likes and dislikes.
- Adoption process: We receive applications on pets in our foster homes in person at adoption events or via e-mail and we have an application process where they are screened. If an applicant is interested in your foster and has passed the screening, you will be asked to contact the applicant to discuss him/her. You’ll need to provide details and information to help the adoption along, as well as conduct a meet and greet with the applicant to allow them to interact with your foster. This may entail driving some distance to meet in a public area and / or allow the applicant to visit the foster in your home, whichever you’re comfortable with.
- Updates: Fosters are asked to give us regular updates on the status and progress of any contact with an applicant so that we can be sure their application is progressing. Also, if there are other situations or news with your dog that we should know about, we ask that you keep us informed.
- Consent: Foster providers should never turn over their foster pet to an applicant without the prior consent of a New Kent Humane Society Board Member.
- Running at Large: Fosters should not allow their foster dog off-leash outside of an enclosed area and should keep all foster cats indoors.
What benefits does a foster parent receive?
We hope you’re not looking into fostering for any benefit other than the personal satisfaction of helping a homeless animal in need. That’s the main benefit you’ll receive from being a foster provider for the New Kent Humane Society. By being a foster provider and spending time with a foster animal, you know that you are directly helping to save its life and shape it into a pet any family would be proud to adopt. Every foster home means a chance at life for an animal who probably otherwise would not have had the chance to be rescued. New Kent Humane Society transfers animals from local euthanizing pounds into our foster program. A foster home brings a chance to avoid a possible horrible outcome for an animal and gets them ready for a lifelong home with a loving family. Our foster parents know that’s worth more than money or any other incentive.
Won’t I get attached to my foster animal?
You probably will get attached to your foster animal and in fact, you should. That’s the sign of a good foster provider and owner. We’ve had fosters in the past that actually ended up adopting their foster and that’s certainly a happy ending that we welcome. Foster providers should take comfort in knowing that for each animal they foster and find a good home – a foster home opens up for another animal to be pulled from our local pound (saving a life) and have the same done for the incoming animal and you also have found a great home for your original foster. Yes, you will get attached and that’s ok, and if you decide to keep your foster, that’s great too. Please remember, there’s nothing but upside in finding a permanent home for a foster animal.
What to do if interested in becoming a foster provider?
If you feel like you want to foster a dog, cat, puppy, kitten or Momma with a litter for the New Kent Humane Society, please complete the foster application today! Once we receive it, we will review it and be in touch with you for the next step in the foster process. The process may include any or all of the following: reference checks, phone interview and home visit by one of our volunteers or Board Members. You will be approved and then be required to complete our Foster Contract before you pick up an animal for fostering, for the protection of all involved.
Hope to hear from you soon!
New Kent Humane Society