Foster Parents

Our mission is to provide a shelter where unwanted and abandoned dogs and cats can be humanely housed until adopted to qualified homes.

 

FORMS:

Volunteer Agreement

Applications

Home Report for Cat

Home Report for Dog

Home Visit Check List


 
FOSTER PROGRAM OVERVIEW

At some point in time nearly every animal shelter feels the pinch of not having enough space. It seems that no matter how large the facility, there is always one more mouth to feed.  Our volunteer foster program greatly increases the number of lives we can save while at the same time providing a wonderful opportunity for community members to volunteer.

Although caring for foster pets can be challenging, it is also deeply rewarding, and we want to let potential volunteers know that they too have something to gain.  Foster parenting can be much more flexible than other volunteer jobs that require people to show up for a specific shift, during limited times of the day, for a committed length of time.  Our foster program is a flexible, fun, rewarding, and special volunteer job.

OBJECTIVES

  • To encourage the normal growth and development of very young, otherwise healthy animals.
  • To reduce the risk of contracting disease, especially for very young animals
  • To encourage the recovery and rehabilitation of those sick or injured animals deemed suitable by the Shelter veterinarian.
  • To temporarily release to the care of volunteers, those animals deemed appropriate by our staff and  veterinarian.
  • To give a break from the stress of shelter life to animals that would become more adoptable by an experience of a normal home life.
  • To ultimately place well-adjusted, healthy companion pets for adoption to the general public.
  • To maximize the number of homeless animals rescued.
  • To involve more people in our lifesaving mission.


Which Animals?

Foster programs aren’t just for kittens and puppies.  Nearly any animal we have can benefit from foster care (listed in order of our priorities):

1. Orphaned kittens and puppies

2. Mother cat or dog with nursing kittens or puppies

3. Under-aged, self-feeding kittens and puppies (4-8 weeks old)

4. Animals recovering from injury or illness (may need medication)

5. Shy or fearful animals that need socialization

6. Healthy adult animals waiting for space at the shelter, or that need a break from life at the shelter
7. Reptiles and other exotics

 

Legal Issues

Dogs will be temperament tested before going to foster homes.

All foster parents must sign “hold harmless agreement” to protect the shelter.

All foster parents must sign a foster care agreement, acknowledging their understanding of the rules, regulations and expectations of the foster care program.

All foster parents are required to first attend our general volunteer class, then a foster orientation class conducted by staff, with advice from Dr. Karen when needed.

All foster parents will be provided with written information on what to expect and how to properly care for the animals they are fostering.   They will also be told everything we know about the animal.

If people refuse to return the fostered animals, we will inform our attorney.


Guidelines and Procedures

  • Foster parents must be over 21 years.   Any exceptions will be on an individual basis.
  • The Volunteer Coordinator and/or Shelter staff will conduct an initial home visit and yearly home visits.
  • Foster parents will be responsible for transportation.  They will pick up their foster animal(s) at the Shelter, bring them to the Shelter for needed vet appointments, and return them to the Shelter when the foster period is over, unless other arrangements are made in advance.
  • The Volunteer Coordinator or Shelter staff will check frequently by phone with the foster parents to be sure they have all the supplies they need and have no questions or problems.
  • The Volunteer Coordinator or Shelter staff will deliver food to the home.
  • Shelter staff will come to the foster home to give vaccinations and trim nails as needed.
  • If emergency care is needed, foster parents are to call the Shelter during business hours, or an emergency number (provided in the foster packet) if the Shelter is closed.
  • Foster parents get the first chance to adopt their fostered animal.  They still have to go through the normal adoption process.
  • Foster animals will return to the shelter when they are healed or socialized well enough to be ready for adoption.  In the case of puppies and kittens, they’ll be returned when they’re old enough to be spayed or neutered (8 weeks old and at least 2 pounds).
  • Any person who meets an animal at the foster home and is interested in adopting it will have to wait until the animal comes back to the Shelter and is placed on the adoption floor.  They will have to go through the normal adoption process.
  • The Volunteer Coordinator will make the arrangements for each foster animal’s return to the Shelter.
  • Animals over six months of age will be microchipped before going into foster care.
  • We will be as flexible as possible.  For example, a family may be available to foster a litter of kittens for two weeks.  We’ll give them some six-week-old kittens or give them a litter of four-week-old kittens that we can place in another foster home after the two weeks.  We will make our program responsive to people’s schedules—thus saving more lives.

The Shelter will provide the following:

  • All food, including puppy/kitten formula
  • Litter box and litter
  • Crates or exercise pens, especially for litters
  • SnuggleKitties or SnugglePuppies as needed
  • Medications
  • Dog treats (for use in socializing or training manners)
  • Toys
  • Special Items on a case-by-case basis (such as a dog bed for a long-term foster dog or a vegetable scale for weighing kittens or puppies)
  • Appointments at the Shelter with volunteer groomers should the foster animal need more than normal grooming.


Benefits of Fostering

Many people want to volunteer directly with animals but lack the time or inclination to do so in a shelter.

Others may want to adopt a pet, but cannot.

Some may want to experience the joys of a companion animal in the home, but are not ready for the long-term commitment of adoption.

Dogs, cats, and rabbits can provide a welcome relief from loneliness for seniors.


Training

We will try to schedule frequent training sessions so potential foster parents are quickly trained and involved.

1.         General Volunteer Training Session (every potential volunteer must attend this)

  • Introduction to staff member(s)
  • Tour of the Shelter
  • Discussion of our mission and services
  • Waivers and forms
  • Learning many ways volunteers lower stress on the animals here and help them become (or stay) adoptable

2.         Foster Volunteer Training Session – scheduled after potential foster person has attended the general volunteer training session

  • Introduction to Foster Program Coordinator
  • Learning why foster parents are vital to saving lives in our community
  • Learn about the success stories of specific animals that have been in the foster  program
  • Go over the guidelines and procedures of our program, paying special attention to things like what to do if an animal needs after-hours medical care, what foster parents are expected to provide, what the Shelter provides, and how our adoption process works
  • Go over general animal care information
  • Receive detailed Dog/Puppy Care Manual or Cat/Kitten Care Manual
  • Make sure foster parents know that they can and should call staff or the Foster Coordinator with questions.
  • Meet some of the experienced foster parents already in the foster program.


CRITERIA FOR BEING A FOSTER PARENT

  • Potential foster parents must be 21 years of age.
  • Potential foster parents must have first attended our regular Volunteer Class and completed that paperwork.
  • Potential foster parents must then fill out the Foster Program Application that will be screened by the Shelter staff.
  • Potential foster parents must attend Foster Parent Training.
  • All potential foster parents must accept ALL terms and conditions set by the Dog & Cat Shelter stated on the Foster Policy, Protocol, and Volunteer Contract forms.
  • Potential foster parents must have adequate facilities at home, including an isolation area, if necessary.
  • Potential foster parents must be willing to commit much time and energy to an animal that will ultimately be returned to the shelter for adoption.
  • Owned pets must be current on vaccinations and kept separate from fostered animal(s).
  • Potential foster parents must be willing to provide love and attention to animals in their care.


CRITERIA FOR FOSTER ANIMAL

  • The animals that will be considered for fostering include the following:
  • Orphaned puppies and kittens
  • Nursing mothers with young litters (canine or feline)
  • Under-aged self-feeding kittens and puppies (4 – 8 weeks old)
  • Animals that have a temporary condition affecting their physical appearance.
  • Animals that are mildly sick such as kennel cough in dogs or upper respiratory infection in cats.  These may need medication.
  • Animals that are injured and require cage rest, such as an animal with a broken leg that has already been cast.  These may need medication.
  • Shy or fearful animals that need socialization
  • Animals that are highly adoptable, such as small breed dogs or puppies, but require extra care to become suitable for adoption.
  • Animals with mild or suspect behavioral problems that require assessment and/or training in a home environment.
  • Healthy adult animals waiting for space at the Shelter or that need a break from life in the Shelter.


FOSTERING PROTOCOL

When an animal qualifies for the Foster Program, the Foster Coordinator will contact the next suitable Foster Volunteer on the foster care rotation.  Efforts will be made to choose a suitable animal for each Foster Volunteer’s unique situation.  Foster Volunteers can decline to foster at any time.

Foster Volunteers may only take one group at a time unless given prior approval from a Foster Coordinator.  No additional groups will be added if any animal in the home is sick.

PREPARING A COMFORTABLE HOME FOR YOUR FOSTER ANIMAL

  • Choose a warm, well-ventilated, isolated area that is out of the main flow of traffic.
  • The floors should be easy to clean (tile or linoleum is good).  Cages will be supplied whenever possible.
  • Please scrub the area at least once a day.  Remove organic matter (food, poop, etc.).  Clean first with soap and water, then rinse. Apply bleach (1:30 bleach water solution) and let sit ten minutes.  Then rinse.  You may choose to wear gloves while cleaning.
  • Food and water bowls should be cleaned daily.  First wash them with soap and water to be sure all organic matter is gone.  Rinse thoroughly.  Soak in bleach water (the 1:30 bleach/water solution you use for all cleaning) for ten minutes.  Rinse thoroughly.  Dry.
  • Paper lining the floor should be changed whenever it is soiled.
  • There should be water available at ALL TIMES.  All cats must have clean litter pans.
  • Nursing animals should have blankets to nest in, and privacy.  Give the mother 24 – 48 hours to settle in before you begin to handle her babies much.
  • Your privately owned animals must be kept away from the Foster Animals.  This action will help ensure that your own animals remain free of contagious diseases, and will also avoid problems such as jealousy.
  • Please keep individual groups of animals apart so as not to spread infections.

GENERAL PROBLEMS/CONCERNS

If your foster animal is sick and needs to be examined, call the Shelter (307-674-7694).  You may be asked to bring the animal to the Shelter.  If an emergency happens outside Shelter hours, call the Director, 307-674-4800 (h) or 307-752-5413 (cell).  Our veterinarian is normally on duty Wednesdays 9 – noon and Thursdays & Fridays, 9 – 5.  You may call the Director’s cell phone to reach us when the veterinarian is on duty but we’re not answering the Shelter phones (before noon).

If an animal dies at home, please notify us.  All deceased animals should be brought into the Shelter for a necropsy.

THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

Your animal should be checked soon if you notice these general signs:
Appetite is greatly decreased
Diarrhea (collect sample & refrigerate
Discharge from eyes or nose
Coughing a lot
Sneezing
Pain or lameness
Skin rash or bald area
Refusing food for > 24 hours
Vomiting repeatedly

Your animal needs to be checked by a veterinarian TODAY if you notice:
Signs of weakness
Difficulty breathing
Fading

General Vaccination & Worming Schedule — CATS
FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici and Panleukopenia):
First Vaccine                                       6 weeks of age
Booster                                           3-4 weeks after first vaccine
Second Booster                             3-4 weeks after booster
Third Booster                                 3-4 weeks after booster
Annual Booster

RABIES:
First Vaccine                                     4 months of age
Booster                                              Annually

General Vaccination & Worming Schedule — DOGS

DA2PP – Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza:

First Vaccination 6 weeks of age
Second Vaccination 4 weeks after first vaccination
Third Vaccination 4 weeks after second vaccination
Fourth Vaccination 4 weeks after third vaccination-puppy should be 14-16 weeks old
Booster Annually

Rabies:

First Vaccination 4 months of age
Booster At 16 months then every 3 years

Kennel Cough (Bordetella):

First Vaccination Over 4 weeks of age
Booster 4 weeks after first vaccination OR 2 days before returning to Shelter.  Staff will go to foster home to give vaccination.
Booster Annually

Worming

Dogs: Every 10-12 days beginning at 3 weeks of age.
Cats:   Every 2 weeks starting at 4 weeks of age until 12 weeks of age.

If a puppy or kitten appears to be malnourished even though you know it has been eating well, has frequent loose stools, a lack-luster coat and a bloated stomach, it may have worms.  If it has any of these symptoms, call the Shelter.  A fresh stool sample may need to be brought in to test to see if the animal has worms.

Young animals may still have worms even if they have no apparent symptoms; consequently, we routinely deworm them.  Worms typically seen are tapeworms and roundworms.  Tapeworms look like a grain of rice and Roundworms look like spaghetti.  If a pup sheds either type of worm, place it in a Ziplock bag or other container and bring to the Shelter for identification.  If possible, weigh the puppy and bring its weight so that we can dispense medication to kill the worms.

Fecal Samples  If we ask you to bring a fecal sample, the simplest way to collect it is to invert a zip lock baggie over your hand (inside out), pick up a stool sample, gently pull the bag off your hand and seal it.  Place immediately in the refrigerator and leave it there until you leave for the Shelter.

Notify the Dog & Cat Shelter immediately if a foster animal becomes lost!

If you live in the city limits, also call Animal Control, 307-672-2413, so they will be looking for it.

Foster Parent Job Description

Major Objective:  To provide a nurturing environment for animals in your home so they may mature, heal, socialize, and become or remain adoptable.
Duties:

  • Feed, socialize, groom, introduce basic training, and medicate shelter animals in need of foster care.
  • Ensure the safety of your foster animal and respond to the needs of the animal.
  • Observe and report any problems with the animal to the Foster Coordinator.
  • Return the animal to the Dog & Cat Shelter upon request or according to any special arrangements made by the volunteer and the Foster Coordinator or Staff.
  • Comply with the Dog & Cat Shelter’s philosophies and policies and act as a representative of the Shelter.

Training Requirement:

  • Complete our general volunteer application.
  • Attend our general volunteer information session.
  • Complete our foster care application and attend foster care training.
  • Host an annual home visit to be completed by a Dog & Cat Shelter staff member and the Foster Coordinator.

The Dog and Cat Shelter Provides:

  • All information about the animal that we have, including any special needs or problems due to experiences before it reached the Shelter.  (Unanticipated problems may occur because owners  sometimes lie about problems or conceal information when they surrender an animal, and of course we have no information on animals that come in as strays other than what we observe at the Shelter.)
  • All foods, medications and vaccinations needed by the fostered animal.
  • Shelter staff will deliver food or medications and come to the home to administer needed vaccinations.
  • Staff members will come any time you have problems or need help.  Just call us.
  • Any major grooming needed, through an appointment made when a volunteer dog groomer volunteers at the Shelter.

Volunteer profile:

We are looking for a dedicated individual or family with a satisfactory living arrangement  willing to care for an individual animal or animals that require extra time or attention to help them   thrive and become adoptable.  Volunteers must be accepting of emotional challenges when faced with  adoption, illness, death, or euthanasia of a foster animal.  Ideal for people who are unable to commit to a pet of their own due to extensive travel or lease agreement.

Volunteer Benefits:

  • Foster volunteers receive unconditional love and companionship from foster animals.
  • Choose the type of animal you are comfortable inviting into your home
  • Personal triumph when a foster animal finds a loving home
  • Flexible volunteer position tailored just for you

Supervision:

  • Direct supervision by Foster Coordinator.
  • Technical supervision by Shelter staff and veterinarian