About A.R.C. Foster Homes
Foster homes must be privately-owned residences that are able to provide quiet, secure space for animals with special needs.
The Foster Care Commitment
Foster families are required to commit to a having a cat, dog and/or litter for a period of time determined by the animal's situation. For example, a pregnant cat will need to give birth and wean her kittens in a foster home, and this is approximately an eight-week process. Foster caregivers must be responsible, available to provide care when needed and able to handle the physical and emotional demands of the experience.
Foster Home Duties
Fostering duties vary, depending upon the animal's needs. Foster care is typically provided for:
- pregnant and nursing dogs and cats
- orphaned kittens and puppies that require extra care
- cats and dogs requiring special nurturing due to physical conditions
- dogs that need a break from the kennel experience
- cats and dogs that need socializing before they are suitable for adoption
- cats and dogs that appear healthy, but need rescue before space is available at the shelter
The Fostering Experience
People who provide foster care provide an invaluable service that allows special needs animals a second chance at life. They care for animals that would be at risk in the shelter environment given their current situation.
Providing foster care can be a highly rewarding experience. Foster families allow litters of kittens and puppies to be born in quiet, calm environments, free from the potential exposure to disease that newborns may experience in the shelter. They help restore confidence to animals that have been abused. They nurse injured and sick animals back to health. They have the comfort of knowing that once a foster animal is returned to the shelter, it is kept there until a suitable permanent home is found.
Providing foster care can also be a demanding and challenging experience, depending upon circumstances. Animals may require medication or bottle-feeding at specific times. They may need to have bandages changed or to be taken to veterinary appointments. They may need patient training to learn the rules of living in a house.
Sadly, not all animals respond to even the most dedicated care. Occasionally, an animal will pass away while in the care of its foster family.
Despite the potential for heartbreak, many of our foster families open their homes to needy animals time and time again. They tell us they are proud of the progress their animals make, and feel a slight pang when they return their new friend to the shelter. A few of them have formed attachments so deep that they've made the transition from foster home to permanent home!
To Become a Foster Care Provider
- Download and fill out the Foster Application Form (pdf).
- Visit the shelter with your application and ask to speak to the foster coordinator or manager on duty.
- Confirm that fostering is right for you.
- Join our Team!