Worthy Tails Animal Rescue
(717) 215-9452

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Thinking about becoming a foster parent?


   Fostering animals can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do, but it also involves a serious commitment on your part.   Many people start out fostering by mere circumstances, when they find a stray cat, kitten, puppy, or dog.   Upon finding it, they realize how helpless the animal truly is and decide that they want to help it….and the fostering process begins.  The fostering of a pet is so rewarding in that you have SAVED THE LIFE of an animal that didn’t ask to be born and has often endured some very difficult circumstances.  We are ALWAYS looking for good, loving foster homes for our cats, kittens, puppies and dogs!

   The duties involved with being an animal foster parent closely resemble those of being an actual parent.  You have the sole responsibility for a helpless animal, much like that of being a parent to a small child.  Some of the things that are required can involve at least several hours of your day, depending on the animal and the circumstances surrounding it so please make sure that you have the time available.  Your home will need to be properly prepared and the cat/kitten/dog/puppy closely supervised.  On the positive side,  there is nothing quite like seeing a cat, kitten, puppy or dog looking up at you with those thankful eyes and knowing that they are now safe, because of YOU!  Their devotion and unconditional love are worth every second spent cleaning or giving meds or bathing them. 

   The length of time required with fostering an animal will vary with each one and may change during the course of fostering. However, each animal will be required to be in its foster home for a minimum of two weeks, in order to ensure that the incubation time for most animal diseases has passed.  Young animals who are adopted to a new home too quickly may appear healthy for a few days and then show signs of illness after they are adopted.  It is much safer to have them in a foster home with experienced care givers if symptoms do begin to appear.

   A potential foster parent should think about the effects that fostering might have on their own animals. If you own dogs and/or cats and foster other dogs and/or cats, you may be exposing your own animals to diseases.  Worthy Tails encompasses the costs for medications and treatment for its foster animals but you are responsible with any costs involved with treatment of your own animals.  It is therefore imperative that your own animals are up-to-date on all vaccinations.  In addition, you need to be prepared for the fact that your pet may become jealous of the animals you foster and the time you spend with them.  You must have some type of arrangement ready, just in case this would happen.  For many people, it’s providing separate areas in their homes for their own animals and their foster animals.  “Animal proofing’ the area for your foster is an absolute necessity.  Look for all small or/or dangerous objects such as staples, buttons, pins, needles, small parts to children’s toys, nails, thread, string, rubber bands, chemicals, moth balls, toxic plants and any other items that are potentially dangerous.  One of the best things you can do is literally get down on ‘all-fours’ and see the world from the viewpoint of the cat/kitten/puppy/dog.   Dogs/Cats, especially puppies/kittens, seem to ‘gravitate’ toward cords of all types, whether on the floor or going up to a curtain or blind.   These should all be blocked so they can't get at them.

     One of the most important things to remember when fostering, is that your foster animal needs to have both time and space in order to adjust to its new home.  A very effective arrangement is if you have a room which can be used for just your foster animal while you slowly introduce him/her to the rest of your ‘animal’ family.  A crate can prove to be very helpful when caring for an adult dog or one puppy. The crate must be large enough to allow the dog to lie down, stand comfortably, turn around, and take a step. The puppy or dog must spend a good deal of time outside the crate under your supervision in order to get used to being a ‘pet’.   Unless you are prepared to deal with "accidents”, it is never a good idea to allow a foster dog free run of your home.  Crates should be placed in an area of your home where there’s a great deal of activity so the puppy/dog can feel part of the family while his/her movements are controlled.  If you have to leave the house, you can confine your foster pet in a crate or in a safe room.  People used to often confine a dog to a bathroom, thinking they couldn’t harm things, but a bathroom can be a very dangerous place for a puppy/dog and it’s best not to confine them to one.  If you are fostering more than one puppy, a playpen or one of the fenced animal play yards is a useful enclosure since it provides more room for them to exercise and interact with each other. The enclosure should be kept at a comfortable temperature and located in a draft-free area of the room.  One thing to keep in mind is that if you foster puppies, it is best to keep them on an easily cleaned floor because there are always going to be ‘accidents’ and you need to be comfortable with the fact that you’ll be cleaning them up frequently.

     If you submit a foster application and are approved, one of the Worthy Tails volunteers will be more than happy to work with you in the areas of feeding, transporting, walking, veterinary care, etc.  Probably the most important necessity you will need to be a foster parent is LOTS of love, compassion, and patience!  These little (and big) kittens/puppies and cat/dogs have often gone through some neglectful circumstances and need all the love and understanding you can provide.  Without you, they would not survive!  If you’d like to foster with our rescue, please go to the “Online Forms” menu and complete the Cat or Dog Foster Application…we’d love to have you!