What’s a pet foster parent?

By being a pet foster parent, you provide a temporary home for an animal desperately in need prior to adoption. Fostering animals is a wonderful and personal way to contribute to saving homeless pets. Dogs and puppies are the most common pets needing foster homes within the PRAR organization. 

NOTE: It is IMPERATIVE that PRAR maintains an expansive team of qualified foster homes who are at the ready to receive dogs/puppies, typically with about a week’s notice.  We will not commit to saving a dog unless we have a foster home in place for that dog. Once we have a confirmed foster home, we will immediately tag and save the dog.

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. When the shelters are full, they HAVE to euthanize for space. Some shelters are euthanizing upwards of a hundred animals a day.
  • 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 can not stay in a shelter. The ONLY hope they have for survival is for a licensed rescue to pull them. Otherwise, they will be euthanized.
  • Puppies under 8 weeks of age CANNOT stay at a shelter, nor can they be adopted out because they are too young. They are at extremely high risk of contracting life threatening diseases because they are not yet fully vaccinated. Their only hope for survival is to have a licensed rescue pull them. 
  • Some animals need time to recover from an illness or injury before adoption.

Whatever the reason, these animals need some extra love and care before they can be 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, 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. We let our hearts break a little, so theirs will never break again. ♥

How much time will fostering take?

The specific needs of the animal will determine how much time is involved. Newborn orphaned puppies and kittens, for instance, must be fed every few hours. A frightened animal who needs socialization or training will also 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 skills are needed to be an animal foster parent?

It’s best to have some knowledge about companion animal behavior and health, and we do require at the very least – previous dog ownership experience. We are happy to help you and guide you through the entire process, and are ALWAYS available for your questions.

Some of the animals most in need of foster care are those that require a little extra help or some training. 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 the shelter or rescue group learn more about her personality prior to adoption.

What else is required?

 Specific requirements will vary depending upon the animal you are fostering. For example, some animals will need fenced yards, medications, or isolation from your personal pets. You can read a lot more in depth questions/answers and information in our Foster Dog Care Manual.

What about food and medical care for the animal?

Pawsitive Restorations will provide foster parents with all the necessary food, supplies, veterinary care and medication that your foster needs. We do require that OUR veterinary partners be utilized, and the executive Director schedules all appointments for our animals. 

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 is required by PRAR that you keep your pets up-to-date on vaccinations, and your pets are spayed or neutered. In many cases, the foster pet will need to be isolated from your own pets, either temporarily or throughout the foster period. We are happy to discuss these situations with you and answer any questions you might have. 

Will I have to find a home for the foster animal myself?

PRAR will take full responsibility for finding a wonderful new home for your foster baby, though you can help by telling friends, family and co-workers about your foster pet, and sharing rescue posts all over social media. We will walk you through the process step-by-step.

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. The bottom line is – there are tens of THOUSANDS being neglected or scheduled to die. We CANNOT save them without foster homes. We let our hearts break a little, so theirs will never break again. 

A lot of foster families get photos and updates of their old charges enjoying their new homes. PRAR maintains a private Facebook group for all of our fosters AND adopters to join, so you can watch your foster friends thriving in 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. That’s why rescue, shelter, and humane organizations are always on the lookout for new foster homes!

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. Dogs live in the NOW. They don’t live in the past. When they get a wonderful family who loves them – they’re in hog heaven!

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.

How do I give pet fostering a try?

When you are ready, visit the FOSTER page of our website and click the link to APPLY TO FOSTER. One of our team members will reach out to you ASAP to answer questions and let you know what our process is to join our animal saving village.

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.

I can’t provide animal foster care, but are there other ways I can help?

YES! PRAR is always in need of volunteers in various areas of our organization. I’ll bet you have the exact qualities we need for several volunteer positions. Please visit our Volunteer page to learn more about volunteering in any of these areas:

  • Performing virtual home visits
  • Application Processing
  • Transport
  • Fundraising
  • Grant Writing
  • Social Media #SHARING / NETWORKING the animals
  • Tie Blanket Making
  • Donation pick-up
  • Community Liaison (a contact point for community groups who want to help)