When you do a search for a pet online have you ever wondered what it means when you see the notation that ‘this pet is in foster care’? Many people are operating under the assumption that means there is something wrong with the pet, that it is special needs or elderly or ill. That just isn’t true and I have 3 to prove it.
Most shelters, such as APL in Springfield, IL use foster families as an extension and vital part of their operation.
We only have a limited number of isolation runs, where new dogs can be placed until all of their vaccinations take effect. They cannot be put into runs with the general dog population for 10 days.
How long will I have my foster dog?
You’ll have him for a minimum of 10 days. Then, as soon as a run becomes available at APL, your dog can come to the shelter. The foster-care period averages 10-20 days. What if I have other pets?
What if I have other pets?
As long as your pets are current on their vaccinations, there shouldn’t be any health issues. However, if you have other dogs, it’s a good idea to introduce them in advance or have a plan to keep them separated. We can make suggestions. Some diseases (i.e. mange, fleas, and parasites) cannot be vaccinated against and can be transmitted, so a brief observation period with minimal contact is recommended.
Who pays for the dog’s care?
All medical care, including vaccinations, is provided by an APL vet. If you need dog food, just let us know.
Do I have to bring my foster dog to the shelter after his isolation period?
No. Some foster families prefer to work with us to find permanent homes for their dogs without bringing them to live at the shelter. Some dogs do much better living in a home atmosphere.
How do you find permanent homes?
APL dogs are promoted on our website, on petfinder.com, in various APL publications, and by taking them to offsite adoptions every weekend at places like Ace Hardware, Pet smart and private businesses who invite us to hold adoptions.
How do I know I’m getting a "nice dog"?
Before a dog comes into your home, he’ll be temperament-tested by knowledgeable dog handlers. You can also meet the dog and, if you’d like, introduce him to your own dog before making a commitment. Even though it’s a short-term stay, we want the best match for both you and the foster dog.
Will my foster dog be housebroken?
We often don’t know. Some dogs may have lived in homes prior to coming to APL, but your home will be all new to them. So expect some accidents, especially right at first.
What if I have to go to work every day?
We recommend a hard-plastic, enclosed airline crate as a safe, secure "little house" for your dog while you are gone. The average dog does not require constant attention or care. If you have never crate-trained a dog, we have some helpful printed suggestions.
Do some dogs have "special" needs?
Sometimes we get dogs that require surgery or medical treatment, elderly or handicapped dogs, or puppies that need to be bottle-fed. If this is something you would be interested in doing, let us know.
Do I need some type of license?
After you have fostered a few dogs, if you decide this is something you’d like to commit to for a year, let us know. APL will pay your $25 license fee to the Department of Agriculture.
If I’m interested, what do I do next?
Call or stop by APL, or download and complete our Foster Application. We will match you up with an appropriate houseguest. We will also explain APL adoption procedures, so you understand how "your dog" will find his permanent home. (These procedures would also apply if you decide you want to adopt your foster dog.) http://www.apl-shelter.org/DotNetNuke/
Most shelters work the same way, however some shelters are made up entirely of foster homes….no shelter at all. Many rescues rely on foster parents to house their rescues. There isn’t a budget for a building. All volunteers.
I’ve adopted from both these type of rescues, shelters, animal control and those that pick me. There isn’t a difference in my heart. The import thing-ADOPT. Or foster. At the least donate. They have no one else. Thanks for reading. mary