What’s involved with fostering through A.R.F.?
Fostering involves taking a homeless cat, dog, puppy, or kitten (or more than one!) into your home and giving them love and care until they can be adopted. We will work with you to place the proper animal in your care – cats vs. dogs, dog size, animal age, etc.
A.R.F. provides any supplies you may need, from leashes to food and anything in between. A.R.F. covers medical care at any of the three area veterinarian offices that care for our pets. You aren’t expected to be a medical expert, but part of being a foster is ensuring that your foster receives any approved medical care recommended, from basics like vaccines and spay/neuter to needed treatments. When your animal is healthy enough to be adopted, you’ll attend our adoption events to showcase his or her amazing personality.
Will fostering cost me anything?
No! A.R.F. takes care of all food, supplies, and medical bills at any of our approved veterinary offices. All you need to provide is love and a warm home. A.R.F. provides the following items:
- Food and treats
- Puppy pads and bedding
- Durable supplies – crates, litter boxes, bowls, leash/collar, etc.
- Medications if needed (and training in how to administer)
- Medical treatment, spay/neuter services, and vaccines at any of our supporting veterinarians*
- Care coverage from another foster if you go out of town
- A supportive environment from more than a hundred other volunteer fosters and 300 other volunteers at A.R.F.
* We are unfortunately not able to reimburse for expenses at non-supporting veterinarians
Can I specify what animals I take into my home?
Yes, we will work with you to take in the appropriate animals – pregnant mothers, puppies or kittens, dog size, and adult vs. young dogs or cats. You can specify the size of dog that you’re comfortable taking into your home. Fosters are needed for all sizes and ages, for both cats and dogs, though large dog fosters are especially in demand. If your criteria for the pet you take into your home is wider (particularity age and size) then you will have a foster pet placed with you quicker.
What if I have my own pets?
The more the merrier! Many of our foster families have their own pets and successfully foster. We suggest keeping your pets separate from the foster dog or cat during a quarantine period to ensure that no germs or diseases are transmitted, but after that period the foster pets can be placed into “gen pop” as our volunteers say.
How long will I have my foster cat or dog?
It depends on the animal – some animals get adopted in days, others need love and attention to overcome the bad situations from before they were rescued and that can take some time. A.R.F.’s policy is to keep foster cats and kittens for a minimum of 14 days to ensure that they are fully healthy before being available for adoption.
What if I need to stop fostering for a short amount of time?
That’s fine! We have a great pool of fosters that can provide coverage in case of needed time away for personal commitments, travel, or say a hectic back-to-school time. If you go on vacation and need care for one of your foster animals, our other fosters will step up and help. Many of our volunteers and fosters take on pets when their schedules permit, such as during the summer when school is out or at the beginning of the year when work dies down.
How does my foster dog or cat get adopted?
A.R.F.’s web site. We also post pets through our social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Applications are received online and applicants are screened by A.R.F.’s application volunteers. If approved, applicants are scheduled to meet your dog or cat at an adoption event or at another mutually convenient time and place. If the adoption moves forward, the adoption contract is completed at that time with the help of a trained Adoption Counselor. You’re not alone in the process!
But I’m afraid of wanting to keep the animals I foster!
We have a mantra at A.R.F.: “goodbye is the goal.” You’ll find that it is very rewarding to see your foster pets be placed with their perfect forever home and you’ll look forward to the day when you get to take a “gotcha day” picture of them with their new family. We’re not going to lie, it can be an emotional time but it is so satisfying seeing your former foster grow and flourish. And of course, if you absolutely can’t let go, we will celebrate your “foster fail” with some good-natured ribbing (because, let’s be honest, most of us have done the same thing).
What if things don’t work out?
We understand, we want to make sure our foster families and pets are happy and well-cared for, physically and mentally. If a particular cat or dog, or fostering in general, isn’t working out, we will work with you to overcome the problem or place the animal in a new home.
I can’t foster right now, but I still want to be involved in helping animals. How can I help in other ways?
We have a need for other volunteers all the time, especially administrative and application checkers. Visit our volunteer opportunities page for more information.
What is the process to become a foster?
First, submit our no-obligation online volunteer interest form. Once your foster application is approved, you’ll attend a brief orientation and foster training to learn more about the rescue and your responsibilities as a dog or cat foster. You’ll be assigned a mentor to help learn the ropes.