Fostering is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. It involves allowing a dog into your heart and home and not only making sure that he or she receives vet care (paid for by TSCR), food, exercise, and love, but also preparing the dog to be successful in his or her forever home. TSCR would not be in existence today if it were not for our fosters, and the number of fosters that we have directly impacts the number of dogs that we are able to help.
Below are some frequently asked questions/answers about fostering. You can always reach out to us if you have any additional questions answered—we are happy to help.
Why are fosters needed? The answer to this question has many responses. There are many risks associated with a dog staying in a shelter. When a dog is in a shelter, he or she is more likely to become ill due to the number of animals in close quarters. Also, long-term shelter residents often find the shelter environment stressful and can become depressed, anxious, or fearful. Moving dogs into private homes for fostering allows them to relax and blossom, as well as to learn how to become good “house dogs” through training and socialization. In medical cases, fostering allows the dog to receive treatment and/or recover in a quiet, stress-free environment. With fostering, everyone benefits—the foster gets to spend time with a special dog, and the shelter gains space, which will most likely save another dog’s life. The foster dog gets a second chance at becoming a cherished pet. Finally, the new owners get a dog that is better adapted to home life and therefore has a better chance of remaining in the new home permanently.
What does a foster parent do? As a foster parent, you allow a dog to live in your home until he or she is adopted. Aside from regular day-to-day care (e.g., feeding, grooming, exercise), the responsibilities of a foster parent may include basic training (e.g., house training, walking on a leash, basic command training); behavior modification to correct problems such as jumping, mouthing, barking, and/or destructive chewing; socialization and temperament evaluation to determine whether the dog is good with different types of people, children and other animals; medical care, such as dispensing medication or taking the dog to vet appointments; and, of course, plenty of playtime and snuggling.
Who pays for the foster animal’s expenses? TSCR covers all veterinary expenses for your foster dog. TSCR will also provide a slip lead, collar and ID tag, leash, harness, and seat belt tether. TSCR has several crates for use with fosters and will assist in purchase if one is not available. Fosters generally only cover the cost of basic food, toys, treats, etc. If assistance is needed with these items, feel free to reach out to your TSCR Regional Manager.
Can I use my own veterinarian? Do I have to use TSCR’s vets? TSCR works with several vets who not only charge a special rescue rate but also have a great deal of experience with rescue dogs/former shelter dogs and the medical challenges common to them. TSCR prefers to use those vets, but if getting a dog to those vets is a hardship for a foster, and if TSCR is familiar with the foster’s personal vet, we may be willing to work with the foster for non-major issues. We may also be able to assist with transportation to vet appointments with our own preferred vets.
Who handles the dog’s adoption? TSCR has an Adoption Committee. TSCR will promote the dog, screen potential adopters, and arrange home visits and meetings between you (the foster) and potential adopters. As a foster parent, we want you to take an active role in the adoption of your foster dog. The Adoption Committee will contact you with an approved adopter who may be a good fit for your foster. You will also receive the applicant’s vet reference information, home visit information, pictures, and interview notes. We will ask you to reach out to the applicant, discuss your assessment of the dog, ask questions, and determine if you think the placement is a good one. You do not get placed on the spot, as you will not be required to tell the potential adopt yes or no; the Adoption Committee will respond to the applicant based on your input and the information from the items previously listed. Additionally, you would need to make the dog available for potential adopters to meet and/or for visits to the potential home. The final adoption approval will lie with TSCR, but foster input is heavily weighted in the decision, as no one knows the dog as well as you.
Won’t I get attached to my foster? For many animal lovers, this fear is one of the biggest obstacles to fostering. The simple answer is “Yes.” You will get attached to your foster, and we wouldn’t expect anything less. Caring for, training, and watching a dog flourish under your care is a fantastic bonding experience. However, watching a family meet and fall in love with your foster, and sign on to provide that dog with a wonderful life, is one of the most fulfilling and selfless acts that one can perform. It also allows you to provide that same foster experience for another dog in need. No good foster parent will ever say that they foster because it’s easy to a foster go; they will tell you that they foster because it’s even harder to watch dogs die due to limited resources within shelters and rescues. TSCR does allow fosters to apply to adopt. Foster applications go through the same process as any other adoption. When we have a waiting list, applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received. This in no way implies “first come first serve” on adoptions, as we look to place the right dog in the right home. The application date is only one of many items that the Adoption Committee reviews.
How long will I have to foster the dog? Fostering can be a short-term or long-term commitment, depending on the circumstances of the dog and the time that it takes to finalize an adoption. Ideally, a foster parent should have some flexibility, as sometimes the unexpected does happen (e.g., a transport is delayed, medical treatment takes longer than expected), but TSCR will do everything possible to work with you and any limitations you may have.
Will I be able to choose my foster dog? Of course! When applying to foster, you will be able to tell us if there are specific criteria for a dog that you can foster. Must like cats? OK. Puppies only? That’s cool. Prefer a senior or special needs dog? Wonderful! If we do not have an animal in need that fits your criteria right now, we can almost promise that we will find one eventually. We are continuously bringing in dogs that need to be rehomed. When we do find one that matches your criteria, we will contact you to see if circumstances allow you to accept a foster at that time.
What if my foster isn’t a good fit for my family? We will do everything possible to ensure that your foster is a proper fit before you take him or her into your home. In the event that issues arise after your foster comes home, you should contact your TSCR Regional Manager to see what can be done to place the foster animal in a new foster home. We may even be able to help you resolve those issues and keep your foster.
I’m still nervous… Can I get more information? Yes! We understand that fostering can be a daunting prospect to many people. We have experienced fosters with whom we can connect you to answer questions before you foster—or help with any issues that arise once you have accepted a foster dog into your home. They can help explain how to introduce a foster to resident animals, help resolve behavioral issues, provide training tips, and offer many other resources.
I want to foster! How do I get started? Great! Please fill out our online Foster Application.