Becoming a foster home for animals for SJRAS is a big responsibility, but is it ever rewarding. The foster program is a wonderful way to help the animals taken in by SJRAS by providing temporary homes for animals prior to adoption. If, after reading the following description, you would be interested in becoming a foster home for needy animals in our area please fill out the online Foster Home Form.
Why Do Animals Need Foster Care?
A dog is brought into the shelter and is ready to give birth at any minute. A crowded, noisy shelter is not the optimum place for a mom and her newborns. Not only is it loud and stressful, but mom and pups are extremely vulnerable to all elements. The shelter staff doesn't have the time needed to care for newborns, and quite frankly space at any shelter is limited, so being able to send mom to a foster home to raise her pups is a much better option. Now, you may think this is a lot of work and don't get us wrong, it is, but mom does most of the work for the first few weeks. Once the pups are getting around a little better they will present more of a challenge, but they are also a ball of fun. Having pups around brightens any home, and knowing that you have given these pups a chance at a wonderful life is payment enough. When the pups are about 8 weeks old, the shelter staff places them into loving homes and they leave one by one, until finally they are all adopted. Mom can then return to the shelter to begin her own search for a loving home. All medical needs, food, and supplies will be supplied by the shelter in return for your time and space to foster.
A dog is brought into the shelter and is suffering from neglect or abuse. This dog needs a safe, quiet, loving environment to allow him to heal from physical or emotional wounds. A foster home can help this dog like you wouldn't believe. Not only does it give the dog time to adjust to proper care, but also lets the dog learn once again to trust and love human beings. They learn that not every human hand is angry and that human companionship is a wonderful thing. This dog will blossom under the loving care of a foster parent, and will have a much better chance at finding the loving home he deserves. Again, the shelter staff will help you any way possible, offering suggestions if needed, and will provide for any medical or food needs.
An animal has been at the shelter and up for adoption for a period of time. As with any animal shelter, no matter how well the workers clean and no matter how stress free the employees try to make the animals stay, the stress starts to take a toll. The animal's immune system starts to weaken, leaving the animal more susceptible to common shelter diseases such as upper respiratory infections - URI - which is simply the animal equivalent to the common cold or flu. When an animal becomes infected with URI it is nearly impossible to keep them in the shelter because they could expose the other animals, who already have weakened immune systems, to the disease which would be disastrous for the animal population at the shelter. Now, you may be wondering why you should expose your own animals to this.... but if your animals are healthy and current on vaccinations this poses no danger at all to your own animals (partly because your animals' immune system is up to par because they are in a loving home environment). The shelter supplies all medical needs, and will explain in detail any aspect of caring for the animal you foster.
A single kitten, or a litter of kittens enter the shelter. Applications are submitted and approved to adopt them. The trouble here? If the kittens are too small or too young to be spayed or neutered they need a little time in a foster home to grow stronger for surgery. A foster would take them home and enjoy their kitten antics for a week or two. Once they are old enough or weigh enough to have surgery they would return to the shelter, and then move on to their new homes.
By fostering an animal you are helping us overcome the challenges that shelter animals face, and offering them a brighter future. You also may not think about it, but you are helping the animals that stay at the shelter. If one animal goes into a foster home, that opens up space for another healthy animal who is in need of a home as well. Our employees foster, and we have several foster homes , but we've learned over time that you can never have enough wonderful people willing to volunteer as a foster parent. The staff is willing to answer any questions you may have about fostering, and can put you in touch with other foster parents who can tell you their experiences in fostering animals.