Our goal is to make our pets as comfortable as possible while they wait for their forever homes. However, there are some pets that do not do well in a shelter environment. It can be overwhelming for some of our more sensitive pets. They need a home environment or some one-on-one attention out of the shelter. There are also pets that have been with us for a while and deserve a night out.
Fostering our long term residents is a great gift to give a shelter dog or cat! The information we learn about these pets during their fostering time with you helps us learn more about the pet and lets us provide potential families with the most accurate information on how the pet will behave in the home.
There are many different foster opportunities available! Below are some descriptions of our most common needs, though there may be more and different opportunities at any given time. Foster lengths will vary with each animal, and the ones listed below are just a general guideline. However, we are always glad to take an animal back at any time if it is not working out. For all fosters, we are happy to provide all necessary medical care and any supplies.
SASF also offers “Foster To Adopt” programs. This is a 2-week program to foster the pet and at the end of the fostering period, you can adopt the pet.
Common Cat Foster Needs
Mother Cat with Nursing Young
Sometimes we will have nursing moms dropped off at the shelter with their kittens either as strays or surrenders, or a cat will give birth while already here. Mom will need to be kept with her kittens until they are weaned around 4- 6 weeks of age, and the kittens will need to remain in foster until they are ready for spay/neuter surgery and adoption (around 8-9 weeks of age). May require up to 9-10 weeks in the foster home.
Bottle Baby Kittens
Occasionally, we may get newborn kittens in to the shelter who do not have a mother and will need to be bottle fed until they are able to eat on their own. These little guys generally require round the clock care, including overnight feedings, until they are at least 2-3 weeks old. They will not be very mobile or able to eliminate on their own until they are at least 3 weeks old as well, and will need to be kept warm at all times. They can live in a carrier for the first couple of weeks. May require up to 9 weeks or so in the foster home.
Gruel Baby Kittens
These little guys are just past the bottle feeding stage and have just started eating on their own around 3-5 weeks of age. The slurry refers to a mixture of canned kitten food and kitten formula as they may not be able to eat the dry food on their own and will just be learning to drink water on their own as well. They will sometimes need some assistance via syringe or supplemental bottle feeding until they really get the hang of it, and will require at least 4-5 daily feedings until they are eating more consistently on their own. They should be starting to use the litter box on their own, but may need some help with that at first as well. Will usually require 4-6 weeks in the foster home.
Weaned Underage Kittens
These kittens will be about 5-8 weeks of age and should be fully weaned and eating completely on their own and generally be pretty good with the litter box. They will usually be pretty independent and playful and will only require two wet food feedings in addition to their dry food. Will usually require about 2-3 weeks in foster depending on their age.
These kitties can vary in age and need some work learning how to fully trust people so they can become adoptable. Some will have come from feral cat colonies or hoarding situations and may never have known people before, and others just may be very shy. They will require a lot of patience and work with safe handling techniques to properly socialize them. The time in foster will be extremely variable depending on how easily they are able to be socialized.
Sick, Injured, Surgery Recovery, Break from Shelter, and Hospice
These are many various scenarios that we may have a need for. These guys can vary in age, temperament, and need level. Most just need some TLC until they can come back for adoption, or a comfortable place to live out their days due a terminal illness. We will give complete instructions for their care both in the home and any necessary follow up back at the shelter. The time in foster will be extremely variable depending on the reason for foster.
Common Dog Foster Needs
Mother Dog with Nursing Puppies
Sometimes we may have nursing moms with their puppies or a dog will give birth while already here. Mom will need to be kept with her puppies until they are weaned around 4-6 weeks of age, and the puppies will need to remain in foster until they are ready for surgery and adoption (around 8-9 weeks of age). May require up to 9-10 weeks in the foster home.
Weaned Underage Puppies
We will occasionally have a single puppy or a litter come in, but they are too young for adoption. They are usually between 5 and 8 weeks of age and should be eating well on their own, and should be very playful! They will need work with general manners, leash walking, and house-training, but should be a very fun foster to have! Will usually require about 2-3 weeks in foster depending on their age.
In-Home Dog Training
Often times, we will have dogs who need a little extra support and time to work on certain behaviors. These most often include wariness of strangers, crate training, and separation anxiety; but every situation is different. Our Training and Behavior Team will be there to support you throughout the foster and will be happy help you with any issues that arise. The time in foster will be variable depending on the individual needs of the animal.
Sick, Injured, Surgery Recovery, Break from Shelter, and Hospice Dogs
These are many various scenarios that we may have a need for. These dogs will vary in age, temperament, and need level. Most just need some TLC until they can come back for adoption, or a comfortable place to live out their days due a terminal illness. We will give complete instructions for their care both in the home and any necessary follow up back at the shelter. The time in foster will be extremely variable depending on the reason for foster.
Other Pet Foster Needs
Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, and Rats Small Mammals and Other Animals
We have a variety of small mammals here at the shelter and it is always possible that some may need to spend some time in a foster home. In most cases, they don’t have any particularly special needs, but every foster is unique. Most often we have animals that are too young and need some time to grow, a specific medical issue, or just to get a break from the shelter and free up some space when we are overcrowded. The foster period is extremely variable, but the average is between 2 and 4 weeks.
If you are interested in fostering, please email [email protected]