1) I am interested in fostering. What does it entail?
Thanks for your interest! You need to be at least 18 years old to foster, and we want everyone in the household to be in agreement of your decision to foster. Once you have decided to foster you will need to fill out a Foster Care Application form to tell us a bit more about yourself, your home situation, and what animals/situations you would be interested in fostering. After reviewing you foster care application we will arrange a home visit. The State of Colorado requires that we do an annual home inspection of all active foster home volunteers. This entails coming out to your house and seeing your foster area, how you store food, and what your cleaning methods are. After that, you are all set and ready to foster! We are very supportive of our fosters and are here to help you each step of the way. In general, all it requires is that you fill one more bowl in the morning, hold one more leash on your walks, and kiss one more nose before you go to bed. We will add you to our contact list and then you respond as you can to the foster requests! A comprehensive manual and information about each of your foster animals will be provided as well.
2) How long would a foster stay with me?
Every foster is different, and foster periods vary depending on the age, needs, and other unpredictable factors about the animal(s) that you take into your care. Generally, most foster situations range from about 2 weeks up to 2 months, but can be longer if the situation requires it. With every available foster animal, we also note what the expected foster period will be. Those dates are not 100% set in stone, and can often change due to the health or behavior of the animal. However, if ever a foster animal is not working out, or you become overwhelmed with the situation for whatever reason, you are always welcome to bring an animal back to us.
3) What will it cost me to foster?
Nothing! We provide all veterinary care for the duration of the foster period. We also provide any other necessary vetting supplies (including dry and wet food, litter, crates, leashes, etc.) If you can provide any of the non-veterinary supplies it is very much appreciated. All purchases made for your foster animals are considered a donation to Rifle Animal Shelter and are tax deductible.
4) What if I get attached to my fosters? I don’t know if I will be able to let go…
Of course you will get attached to your fosters! You will find that you love each and every one of them, and that’s what will make you a great foster. Many people say to us that they “love animals too much” to let them go, but letting them go is actually the best gift you can give, to both yourself, the animals and the adoptive families. It’s because of our love for each of these little souls, and our desire to save so many lives, that we are able to act so selflessly, even when it hurts. These animals deserve their own homes where they are the center of someone’s life and we know we can save far more animals by letting them go, than by holding on to them.
Once you see the adoptive family, the excitement on their faces and the love in their hearts, you will know the true gift of fostering. We cannot say it won’t be hard. The first one is always the hardest to let go. But we can and will quickly distract you with another adorable animal that is just as much in need of your snuggles! And to be honest, in our many years of rescue work, we have yet to have someone stop fostering because it was too hard on their heart. In fact, many cannot stop fostering because it just feels too good!
5) I have kids. Can I still foster? Will it be hard on them?
We have many fosters who have children and we have found that they love the experience! It’s such a great opportunity for your kids to learn many powerful life lessons about the joys of volunteering and the value in every life, not to mention responsible pet ownership. The kids seem to accept and adjust to the temporary nature of fostering better than the adults! And they are always excited to meet the next foster!
6) Do you require a fenced-in yard? Do you require I own my own home?
No. All we require is your landlord’s consent, if you rent. Some lower-energy lap dogs or escape artists are often well suited for apartment and condo living, whereas some higher-energy dogs or dogs that are big talkers are more suited for a home environment with a fenced yard. Either way, we will work to match a foster animal to your needs, given your abilities and environment. We assess all our dogs and then make the best matches possible based on that particular animal’s needs and the needs of our fosters. As long as you are willing to walk your foster dog each day, things will work well no matter your particular living situation.
7) But I work full-time. Can I still foster?
Yes, you absolutely can still foster and we would be glad to have you. Most of the population works full-time and own pets too, so we don’t find this to be any different.
9) Would I be responsible to find the animal its new home?
We greatly value all our fosters’ input on what type of home they think is best for their foster animal, but we do not require our fosters to take on the responsibility of finding their animal its new home. However, if you are willing to help find the pet a home, we have an application you can share with potential adopters. We also have many adoption events you are welcome to attend with your foster pets. All you have to do is provide the animal your love, some structure, and understanding and we take care of all the rest!
10) What if my foster animal isn't working out?
If you do not feel that you are able to handle your foster animal for whatever reason, you are more than welcome to bring them back. Sometimes, you will run into an issue between your own animal(s) and your fosters, or a group of 3 week old kittens turned out to be more work than you expected. Don’t feel bad! It happens to everyone, and we often learn something new about the foster animal regardless of the situation.