Almost Home Humane Society's Foster Care Program: Everything You've Wanted to Know
Thank you for your interest in the Almost Home Humane Society's Foster Care Program. This program was created to help our animals most in need of some extra TLC thrive and reach a point where they can easily be moved onto our adoption floor. It is essentially providing short-term love and care to an animal or animals. We are very thankful for our foster parents and are always looking for new individuals and / or families to join our foster care program. Additional information is available below. After reading this information, if you are interested in participating, please either stop in or download an application (located below). If you have questions, please contact Outreach Coordinator Carolyn Butera at 765-474-5222, ext. 312 or via e-mail at Carolyn@almosthomehumane.org.
What is the Foster Care Program?
The foster care program asks community volunteers to open their hearts and their homes to homeless pets in need of additional care. Animals are considered foster care candidates if they are under 8 weeks of age; under socialized; suffering from an illness; recovering from surgery, injury, or an illness; nursing a litter; or if they have been kenneled for long periods of time.
This life-saving program allows these animals the additional time needed to become a candidate for adoption, while providing them with additional traits and skills to increase their adoptability. Length of stay for foster animals depends on each animal’s specific situation. For example, a litter of healthy, 6-week-old kittens would need 2 weeks of foster care in order to reach the 8-week-old adoptable age. Injured and ill animals sometimes require longer periods of foster care so they can heal and recover completely.
What Does a Foster Parent Do?
Foster families provide the loving attention required to rehabilitate the minds and bodies of orphaned, physically injured, and unsocialized animals. These are animals that would not be able to thrive in the stressful shelter environment. Volunteers take young, orphaned, underweight, ill, injured, and under socialized animals into their homes and care for them until they are able to be placed in the adoption center. These generous people provide a hands-on life-saving service to homeless animals.
What Animals Qualify for the Program?
- Young Animals: Puppies and kittens less than 8 weeks of age. This also includes pregnant dogs and cats and mothers with nursing litters.
- Injured Animals: Animals with temporary health problems that are minor and treatable, such as those with fractures or wounds, also includes emaciated animals.
- Sick Animals: Animals needing treatment and care for an illness such as upper respiratory, kennel cough, etc.
- Unsocialized Animals: Young animals that need socialization with people. Foster parents spend their time teaching the animals how to interact with and trust people.
- Animals that need a break: Healthy animals for whom there is no space in the shelter and who have been kenneled for long periods of time. This also includes animals awaiting breed rescue placement.
- Other animals: Any other animal deemed appropriate by shelter management.
Who benefits from the Foster Care Program?
- The animals: Foster care for shelter animals has a direct impact on the number of homeless animals saved each year. Animals that otherwise may have been euthanized can be adopted into permanent, loving homes. These animals also start out with a stronger training background and wider socialization, which will help them become the best possible pets.
- The volunteer foster parents: Although foster care can be difficult, it is an incredibly rewarding experience. Each time a foster animal is adopted, you gain the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped another animal find a lifelong home when it may have otherwise been euthanized. This is a great opportunity for people who want to help, but don't have the time to spend at the shelter or who aren't ready to make a lifelong commitment to an animal. It's a short-term commitment that makes a life-long difference. Being a foster parent also is a flexible volunteer position that allows you to choose the type of animal you are comfortable sharing your home with.
- The community: Foster care provides the community a larger segment of healthy, socialized animals. In addition, as a result of foster care by volunteers the public becomes more educated on animal health and care issues.
- The shelter: With an efficiently run foster care program, euthanasia rates go down and staff morale goes up. The foster care program expands the shelter's ability to save animals' lives and enables the shelter to care for those animals that are not able to actually reside in the shelter environment. Foster Care also exposes more people to shelter animals, providing more opportunity to reach potential adopters.
What are the Requirements to become an AHHS Foster Parent?
To become a foster parent, you must first:
- Fill out a foster care application and have it approved by either the Outreach Coordinator or Outreach Manager. You may download the application below.
- Attend a foster care orientation and any applicable training sessions.
- Have landlord approval if necessary.
- Have adequate space and time to care for foster animals.
- Be willing to spend a large amount of time and energy with an animal that will be returning to the shelter for adoption.
Responsibilities of an AHHS Foster Parent:
The basic responsibilities you are expected to fulfill as an AHHS Foster Parent are similar to those you would find when providing care to foster children. They include:
- Provide a secure home for the animal(s). This includes isolation from your own household animals.
- Provide food, water, socialization, love, training, exercise, and medication when needed to foster animals.
- Ensure that all household animals are healthy and current on vaccines.
- Observe your foster animals and report any problems, concerns, or questions immediately to the Outreach & Operations Director. Also, understand that veterinary care cannot be sought without receiving approval from the Outreach & Operations Director or other approved management staff beforehand.
- Return all animals to AHHS as scheduled or requested by AHHS management.
- Comply with AHHS's philosophies and policies, and act as a representative of AHHS at all times.
- Make a commitment to the foster care program and the animals it helps.
To get started, fill out the following applications and bring/mail them to AHHS.
- Download the foster care application in pdf format.
- Download the volunteer application in pdf format.
If you do not have a pdf reader, you can download one free at www.adobe.com