Interested in fostering but have questions about our program? Read on!
What is fostering? How is it different from adopting? Foster families care for a dog while the dog searches for his forever home. Foster homes are temporary, but treat the dog like a member of the family. Adoption is forever.
What are the requirements to foster? Foster programs vary between organizations. Here at Home Fur-Ever, our foster families must offer a loving and safe environment and be responsible pet owners. We also require fosters to bring their dogs to our weekly Saturday adoption events. At this time, we typically rotate between the Troy and Roseville Petco, with the occasional special event within the metro Detroit area.
Can I still foster if I can’t make it to Saturday events? Why are adoption events so important anyway? Adoption events are vital to finding forever homes. Since HFE is foster based and does not have a shelter or facility, events are the only time for potential adopters to meet our dogs, and the only time that we accept applications. We strongly believe that potential adopters need to meet the dog that they are interested in before applying to ensure that there is a connection and that the dog and family are a good match for each other. If you can’t make it to every single event, that’s okay- we have a great network of fosters and volunteers that are happy to help with transport if possible. If you know that you will never be able to make any events, however, we will likely suggest that you look for an organization that fits your schedule better. We do occasionally have dogs that do not need to attend adoption events right away, such as dogs who are pregnant or have Heartworm, Parvo, or another illness/injury. In these cases, we may accept a foster who cannot attend events but can care for the dog throughout treatment.
Do I have to stay at the event all day? No, but we strongly recommend it. Potential adopters often have questions that only a dog’s foster will know, and they love to have a chance to speak with fosters. If you are unable to stay, though, you are welcome to drop off before noon and pick up at four.
How much does fostering cost? We do our best to keep fostering as low cost as possible. At HFE, we cover all medical care, from routine vaccinations to emergency care. We can also provide food and other supplies (crate, toys, etc) to fosters who cannot afford to purchase these things themselves.
How long does a dog typically stay in foster care? Unfortunately, there is no black and white answer to this question. We can never predict how long a particular dog will be with us. Some dogs may be with us for just a few weeks, others are with us for months or longer. A good rule of thumb is to prepare for at least four months- but this is by no means a set rule. There are certainly factors that we cannot control that effect a dog’s adoptability- age, breed, size, etc- as well as factors that we can control, which will be discussed below.
What is a foster’s day to day responsibilities? What do “above and beyond” foster families do? Aside from providing the basic care that any dog needs (food, shelter, affection, etc), fosters should be prepared to provide basic training and socialization. Many dogs, especially puppies, will need help with house training and basic commands, such as sit. Fosters must also keep an open communication with HFE’s director and social media team so that we are all on the same page about events, vaccination schedules, etc. The best fosters are those who do everything possible to make their dog as adoptable as possible. This may include socialization with people or animals that are not already in your home- kids and people of all ages and sizes, other dogs of all ages and sizes, cats, etc. They expose the dog to as many new situations as possible- car rides, boat rides, pet-friendly public spaces (for dogs who are fully vaccinated), music and noises, etc. The best fosters provide ample information for their dog’s website bio as well as pictures and videos that may be shared on our social media sites- the more there is for a potential adopter to see and read, the more likely your dog will get adopted.
Are fosters a part of the adoption interview process? Fosters know their dogs best. We ask that you are open and honest about your dog’s strengths and weaknesses, personality traits and habits, energy level, and compatibility with other people and animals so that we can match him with the perfect forever family. Although official interviews and home visits are conducted by trained volunteers only (these volunteers have a lot of experience and a keen eye for red flags), we strongly encourage fosters to stick around at events to speak with potential adopters and to meet with an approved adopter at the time of adoption. Many of our fosters will provide the adoptive family with a note about the dog’s daily routine and habits, their contact information to keep in touch over the years (we all LOVE updates on our former fosters), and a blanket or toy that will give the dog comfort as he settles into his new home.
What if my foster dog has behavioral problems? No dog is perfect. It is not uncommon to run into a minor behavioral problem such as chewing, marking, digging, jumping etc based on a dog’s age or background. But do not fear! We have a great team of volunteers and fosters with a TON of experience with behavior and health issues of all kinds that can help you work through any issue. We do occasionally have dogs with behavioral issues that may require a foster with more dog experience or a strong hand- if a dog has any known issues before coming to your home, they will be communicated.
Will I need to alter my liability insurance policy to become a foster? Will my foster need to be licensed with my city? Does my foster dog count towards my city dog limit? Although all valid questions, there is no straight answer. Every insurance company, home owner’s association, and city has different rules and policies, which we encourage you to research.
What if my city has BSL (Breed Specific Legislation)? Will this limit who I can foster? Yes. We cannot place any dog that resembles a ‘pit-type’ dog in any city or community that has legislation against them, whether it is a foster or adoptive situation. Many cities base breed on site identification alone, not the breed listed on their paperwork. Want to learn more about BSL? Check out http://www.makemichigannext.com
How do you manage the feelings of loss that may come when you have to let the foster go? Seeing our fosters go to a forever home is always bittersweet. It’s completely normal to feel some sadness and even shed a tear or two, but take comfort in knowing that we do everything possible to ensure that our dogs are only going to the very best, most loving homes. Fosters are encouraged to stay in contact with adopters- many adopters are more than happy to provide pictures and updates over the years. Letting one foster go also means that you can help another dog in need. When you foster, you are truly saving a life, and there’s nothing better than that.
What if I want to adopt my foster dog? Am I automatically approved? Do I still have to pay a fee? Fosters go through the same adoption process as everyone else. An application, interview, vet check, home visit, adoption fee, and adoption contract will all still be required. Have a question that hasn’t been answered? Comment below or email us at HomeFurEver@Gmail.com