We need foster homes. If we can't house them, we can't save them.
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Fostering - Frequently Asked Questions & Foster Home Application
RCHS can always use another helping hand. Our greatest need is foster home volunteers. Fostering is one of the most effective ways you can give animals a second chance at a happy life. Many people find fostering a very rewarding, hands-on approach to helping homeless pets. Before you decide to complete our online Foster Home Application, please take a few minutes to review these frequently asked questions:
- What is fostering?
Foster "parents" are an extremely important part of rescue. They take Riley County Humane Society adoptable pets into their homes and care for them until they are ready for adoption. Foster parents need to be able to give their heart to an animal, provide for its needs, and then let it go when it finds a safe, forever home and a new animal needs them.
- Which animals need fostering?
Since we do not operate a shelter facility, all of the animals we accept into our organization must be fostered. Animals that come into our organization include:
- Moms with nursing babies;
- Puppies and kittens old enough to be eating on their own;
- Puppies, dogs, cats, kittens and Exotics(rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles, etc.) that need socialization because they are very shy, have not been around people, or have been abused or neglected;
- “Senior” animals;
- Dogs, cats and Exotic animals, with no “issues” at all, who simply need a temporary home until they are adopted.
While some volunteers end up adopting their foster pets, please note that foster homes are intended to provide one-on-one attention in a home environment, in order to best prepare for adoption.
- What would I be expected to do as a foster parent?
- Provide a clean, nurturing, safe indoor home environment, prior to adoption.
- Take the animal to any needed, RCHS approved, veterinarian visits for vaccinations and other routine treatment.
- Give simple medication(s) as needed. We teach the inexperienced, and you will never be asked to administer shots, or any other medically complex procedure.
- If you have a camera, take digital photos of each foster pet.
- Provide information for a petfinder.com biographical sketch within the first 10 days of fostering.
- Bring the animal to RCHS adoption events when possible, on a reasonable schedule.
- Would I be responsible for my foster animal's vet expenses?
No, all animal expenses are covered. RCHS will provide and pay for the animal's food, veterinary care, and medications as approved by RCHS referred veterinarian(s). RCHS can also loan food and/or water bowls, leashes, dog beds, and even crates if needed. The foster parent is expected to purchase nothing. Should you wish to purchase treats, we recommend all natural treats.
Because we feel strongly about the need to set a humane example in our community, the Riley County Humane Society has a Neuter/Spay Before Adoption policy, meaning that we spay/neuter all of our animals before they are sent home with an adoptive family.
- What if I need to go out of town?
RCHS will be responsible for housing your foster animal(s) while you are away. We only ask that you give RCHS timely notice so that we can locate a temporary foster placement in your absence.
- What if I already have pets of my own?
In general, that will work just fine. Any animals that are already in the household will need to be spayed/neutered unless the animal is under 6 months old or there is a medical exception. They must also be up to date on vaccinations and (if appropriate) heartworm preventative. We always advise that the foster animal be separated from your own pets for a period of time to ensure against the spread of any non-apparent or undetected infection. You are always informed of a pet’s circumstances before you agree to placement in your home.
- How long would I keep the animal?
There are many variables when fostering. Your foster may be with you from two weeks to three months…or as long as it takes to find the right home. We ask foster parents for a three month commitment.
If you are only able to foster for a few weeks, this program may not be for you. However, we do occasionally need very short term foster homes to assist when foster families go on vacation or if an animal needs shelter while waiting for transport to another rescue organization. Please let us know if you can only be available on such a basis.
We understand that circumstances can change and you can return an animal at any time if it becomes necessary. But please carefully consider the commitment up front because movement from one foster home to another is stressful for the animal, and it requires availability of another foster home.
- Would I be responsible for finding the animal a permanent home?
No. RCHS will hold regularly scheduled events at local pet stores where prospective adopters can come and meet our animals; we also post our animals on our social media and on sites like Petfinder. Some foster animals may be placed at in-store shelters (the PetSmart and Petco stores in Manhattan) where they can be seen by potential adopters.
We know that you will care about the outcome for your foster. Your evaluation of the animal’s personality and temperament will be an essential part of our placement decisions. Be assured that our adoption screening process includes a written application, an applicant interview with our Dog or Cat Shelter and Adoption Chair, and a thorough check of applicant references.
Are you a "Foster Angel"?
In order to continue serving Special Needs pets we need foster parents willing to foster these little ones and provide the love and care they deserve (without incurring the medical costs of the pet's special needs).
If you think you might be a “Foster Angel”, please complete a Foster Home Volunteer Application and be sure to tell us of your desire to help our Special Needs animals
How to become a foster
Becoming a foster is easy! You just need to complete the following steps:
- Become a Member of RCHS - We require all fosters to be members with full voting rights
- Complete and submit the online Foster Home Volunteer Application below.
If you would also like to become a general volunteer and be added to our volunteer listserv, please visit rchsks.org/lending-a-helping-hand/donating-time .
Note that in the past, foster parents have needed to complete a Kansas Foster Home Shelter License Application. Foster homes are now covered under our license, so there is no longer a need to do this. RCHS will continue to cover the $10 license fee that is required by the Kansas Department of Agriculture for each foster home.
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