Now that you have your foster pet, these are tools and reminders to help ensure a smooth transition for a dog or cat that has experienced the chaos of shelter life to in-home foster care. Please provide the animal with good and loving care as though it were your own pet, including but not limited to food, water, shelter and medication when required. Please read over the section Fostering your second chance pal on our website.
Behavior modification and socialization
Remember, that a shelter animal coming into your home for the first time may be overly excited or, on the other hand, withdrawn. While it gets used to the new environment, there may be accidents that occur. In the first few days, be sure to take a dog outside especially after meals and before bedtime. Praise (maybe even giving a treat) when they void where appropriate.
For cats be sure to provide a clean and accessible cat litter box and show the cat where this box is located. If you have three or more cats in the house, you should have multiple litter boxes.
Please do include the animal in the daily family activities. Getting them used to being in a family environment will pay big dividends in finding their forever home.
This may be an option in a foster’s home especially for a large dog or one that is having issues of soiling indoors. It also provides the dog a safe respite from an active family. Please see article How to Crate Train Your Dog online.
Some breeds need more exercise than others, but active play time twice a day is advised for the health of the dog. Please take along pickup bags if you are out for a walk with your foster pet.
Cats need playtime and stimulating toys or access to a window where they can have peaceful moments.
If you currently have family pets, please feed your foster pet on the same schedule as your own pets: once or twice a day. Since your foster came from a shelter experience, in the beginning we suggest that you feed him/her in a protected area (suggestion: laundry room or bathroom) without interruption from other animals.
In the beginning, it is advisable that you feed the animal the same food as they were fed in the shelter and transition to your own food over time by gradually combining a little of new food at each meal. If you notice digestive issues, back off giving less of the new food.
All dogs have been vaccinated, spayed/neutered, microchipped and will be provided heartworm protection that should be given as prescribed.
If there is an emergency during off hours or on weekends and you are unable to reach the shelter manager, call one of the following emergency clinics:
It has been shown that foster pets are much more adoptable and readily accepted by breed-specific rescues if they can be highlighted with reports of behavior and photos.
When participating with your foster dog in MCFA-sponsored events, adoptathons, or your own outings (Petco, PetsMart, family gatherings, etc.), please remember to record the event with a photo or two. It would be helpful too, if you would wear your second chance pals t-shirt and perhaps, if the dog will allow, have it wear the will love for a good home sign. Take along a couple of sample adoption forms as well as second chance pals business cards with your phone number and email address written on the card to pass out to interested people.
Cute photos of cats are very helpful as well in helping them find their forever home.
Safety for you and your family is a priority. If a dog or cat seems to exhibit aggressive or extreme anxiety, please call the shelter immediately. If a dog fight ensues, do not ever place yourself in between the two or more animals. Please visit link Fostering Your Second Chance Pal and reference Introduction to your pets for more complete information. This is especially important if you have young children or other pets living at home.
For the safety of your own pets, as a foster you should keep them up to date on their own vaccinations.
While many of us prefer to keep our dogs inside, there may be an ideal circumstance where you are able to provide a safe environment outside in a fenced yard when the weather is good. You should have a clean dog house with comfortable bedding and access to fresh drinking water. It is especially important that outdoor dogs be kept up to date on heartworm preventative. During the winter months, SCP requires that all foster dogs be kept in an indoor area.
All foster cats will be housed indoors.
Each foster should plan to submit a report about the status of the animal in their care. These reports are valuable in finding suitable adopters, help us promote the animal as factually as possible and will help solve problems that may have arisen.
The first report is due after the first week of in-home fostering; the next one is due after having the pet in your home for 30 days or when required from the shelter due to a potential adoption. We would like for the adopter to have as much information about their new pet as possible.
If you have pets and take them on vacation, please take your foster pet with you as well. If you choose to do so, it is important that you have a good photo readily available should you need it. Also important is a visible tag that the dog can wear that has your contact information even if it has been microchipped.
If you board your own dogs or have a pet sitter, please do so for your foster; otherwise there may be a foster family that is willing to pet sit for you. Your last resort should be to bring the dog back to the shelter.
SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS
AND GET AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT LETTER FROM MCFA
IN ORDER TO TAKE TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR FOSTERING EXPENSES
See the following article from the Wall Street Journal about how
to take the deduction: Stray Cat Strut, Woman Beats IRS