Fostering a Pet
PAWS does not have a physical shelter. All of the animals in our care stay in foster homes until adopted by their forever family. We can only help as many animals as we have space for in foster homes. Our foster homes are always full, sometimes past full. When rescues are full, homeless animals have no place else to go but the local kill shelter. County shelters do not have the option to be "no-kill". There is not enough space or funding for all the homeless animals out there. That is why pet overpopulation is such a disturbing problem. If you can't give a homeless pet a forever home at this time, you can still help. Become a foster parent!
What do pet foster parents do?
Pet foster parents are very much like child foster parents. They care for a homeless pet as if he was their own until he gets adopted. Shelter environments can be extremely stressful for animals. It is much more comfortable for them to stay in a home environment. They are able to get more individualized care in someone's home. It also gives them better socialization skills, which makes them a more well-adjusted pet. Also, the foster parent is able to learn about the pet's personality, likes, and dislikes so that he can be better matched to the right forever home. Most importantly, pet foster parents save lives!
If you join our foster program, we will match you with a suitable pet to foster. For example, if you have a female dog who does not get along with other females, we will only have you foster male dogs. If you work full time and cannot care for young puppies, we will only have you foster adults. You will be a part of the adoption process to determine if an applicant is a suitable match for your foster pet. You will then get to experience the joy of helping a homeless animal find a loving "furever" family of his own.
All veterinary care is paid for by PAWS. Any trip to the vet must first be approved by the PAWS Foster Coordinator unless it is a life/death emergency. PAWS will also provide you with food, litter, a carrier, as well as any other supplies or equipment you need for your foster pet.
How long will I keep a pet?
It's impossible to predict how long an animal will remain in foster care. Some pets are adopted within 24 hours of becoming available. Others wait years for a home. PAWS does not euthanize an animal for taking too long to be adopted. Our animals stay with us for as long as it takes. If you cannot commit to this kind of unpredictable long-term care, we still need your help! You can pet-sit for a week or a weekend for another foster parent who is going on vacation. Perhaps you can care for a mama cat and her litter until the kittens are weaned. Maybe you are set up to care for a dog who is undergoing heartworm treatment and needs to be away from excitement of other dogs. Just let us know what you can commit to.
What if I get attached?
Getting attached to your foster pet is normal. After all, we do this because we love animals! The most common question we, as foster parents, are asked is how we can give them up. The answer is simple. It saves lives. It is hard to say goodbye to a pet we've fallen in love with, but the alternative is even sadder. We get the satisfaction of helping a previously lost and unwanted animal find a loving forever home. That makes it all worth it. The tricks is to get attached with velcro and not glue.
If you do decide that you can't give up an animal, that's ok, too. Foster parents can go through the adoption process and pay the adoption fee just like any other adopter.
How do I become a pet foster parent?
If you feel you can help in any way, please submit an application. If you have specific questions about our foster program, please contact us. If you see a particular pet on our website who you would like to foster, please contact us.