When animals arrive at the shelter who need special care in a home environment, we call upon foster caregivers to provide a temporary and loving home for these animals until they can find their forever homes. At any given time, we may have more than a hundred kittens, puppies, cats and dogs in the capable and caring hands of our dedicated foster volunteers.
Fostering is both rewarding and challenging, and is one of the most important programs at ARL. Because of our foster caregivers, we are able to provide individualized care and love to the population of animals that need it the most. These volunteers truly make our lifesaving work possible.
Below are some of the most common questions we’re asked by people who are considering becoming a foster caregiver.
How old must I be to foster?
We require foster volunteers to be 18 years old; however, fostering is fun for the whole family, and we encourage parents to get their children involved in the care of your foster pets if possible.
What do I need to provide to my foster animals?
A lot of love and a safe, clean and caring environment! We provide everything else, including food, litter, supplies and medical care.
Do I need to bring my foster pets back to the ARL before they′re adopted?
Most likely, yes! Most healthy animals in foster care will need routine vaccinations at regular intervals and may need to be seen by our veterinary or medical team if they have any health issues or if they need to be neutered or spayed. Once they are behaviorally and medically cleared and ready to be adopted, we will have you return them to the shelter to find their forever family.
Are there any concerns with bringing a foster pet into my home?
For the safety of your pets at home, we may ask you to sequester your foster pets from your other pets at home so that you can monitor them for any known or unknown health concerns. For many families, this simply means using a spare bathroom for a litter of kittens for a period of 10-14 days to ensure that they’re healthy before you introduce them to your other pets at home.
How long should I expect to foster?
We’re grateful for whatever time you can give and commit to. On average, most animals are fostered for an average of 2-4 weeks, but some animals may only need a week or a few days of care, while others may require several months of care.
Do I need to have any experience to foster?
Although caring for your own pets is usually enough experience, we welcome first-time pet caregivers, too! Our orientation program covers most of what you need to know to succeed with caring for your foster pets, and our foster coordinator and staff are available to support you throughout your fostering journey to ensure you feel comfortable and confident with the care of your foster pets.
Are there any benefits to becoming a foster?
Although it can sometimes be hard and emotionally-difficult work, our fosters tell us constantly how they feel so fulfilled and rewarded from their experience. Without taking on a lifetime commitment, their children and families experience the joy of raising kittens or puppies, or lending their experience and talent to help care for adult cats or dogs with medical or behavioral needs. Some parents say fostering has provided additional educational opportunities for their children that they’d never have in a classroom by having them care for, take photos and write biographies of their foster pets. Always, fosters recognize the important lifesaving role they play in helping animals who would simply not thrive or survive in a shelter environment.
The ARL is also pleased to recognize the dedication of fosters by providing them with discounted or free adoptions, as well as the right to adopt any animal in their care, as well as discounts to fundraisers and other events throughout the year.
Ready to become a foster? Click the link below to complete the foster application.
Once you have completed your application, interview and receive your log-in credentials, please click on the button below to access our Foster Portal