Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a foster caregiver?

The first step is to complete the Foster Caregiver Application and Foster Caregiver Release Form and submit it to the TCHS.

Do I need to own my home?

No, but if you rent a house or apartment, we will need to contact your landlord for their permission for you to temporarily have pet(s) on the property.

Why should I become a foster caregiver?

Would you feel good knowing you are making the difference in the life of a displaced pet? A few months of inconvenience turns quickly into an educational, challenging, and satisfying experience you will never forget. Fostering a pet in need of shelter, love, and guidance will be time-consuming, but it is always rewarding!

Fostering also helps us evaluate the pet so we can provide as much information as possible to help us place the pet in the perfect home. Providing a "stepping stone" for animals in search of permanent homes saves lives, alleviates the strain on animal shelters, and helps set the stage for successful adoptions.

Do I need an extra room for the pet?

It's always a good idea. Some foster caregivers will use a spare bedroom, bathroom, or laundry room for their foster pets.

Will my daily routine be impacted?

Probably! You should understand that choosing to be a foster caregiver is a serious undertaking. It will probably change your daily routine and your own companion animals will need to be okay with it.

What else is involved?

Being a foster caregiver involves feeding, cleaning, grooming, and playing with the animals. Sometimes, however, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Because many rescued animals are sick, stressed, or frightened, they may require special care. A frightened animal may require weeks of extra attention and behavioral modification to become ready for adoption.

Will my household and lifestyle be a good fit?

The health and welfare of all individuals in your home - human and animal – must be considered before bringing in another creature. Fostering a homeless pet should never be considered unless your home environment is happy, safe, healthy, and spacious enough to nurture the foster pet adequately and retain sanity among the existing members of your home. If any of your family members have allergies, excessive stress, other physical or mental health issues, career instability, financial difficulties, or housing or space restrictions, fostering may not be a good option for you at this time.

But if you believe you have the ability to foster, and the entire household agrees that fostering would be a positive experience, your next question should be "Do I have the time?"

Fostering a shelter pet is a 24/7 job. Although you may not physically be interacting with the pet every second of the day, you will be responsible around the clock for the pet's safety, comfort, and general well being. If your work or family schedule is already so hectic that adding another time consuming responsibility will only create more stress, do not consider fostering at this time.

The amount of personal attention needed will vary greatly from pet to pet, but you can expect to spend anywhere from three to seven hours a day interacting with your foster pet, and even more if you are planning to foster puppies or kittens. Teaching dogs and cats the lessons they will need to become happy, thriving, lifelong members of another family is the essence of fostering, and this takes time and patience.

Do I get to choose the pet I foster?

Yes. TCHS's foster coordinator will let you know which pets need foster care, and you can decide if you want to help that pet. We always want to make sure you are comfortable fostering any pet. We will try to place a pet with you based on the pet's need, temperament, and match with your abilities.

Can I adopt the pet I foster?

Yes, you usually can. It does happen quite often, because it is only natural to become attached to a pet you take care of and nurture. We suspect this is one of the reasons foster homes are in short supply. If you do become inseparably attached to a foster pet, we hope you will still volunteer to foster other pets in the future.

Will I have difficulty letting go?

Anyone who fosters should keep in mind the expected outcome: the pet will be adopted by another family. While it is impossible not to become attached to a sweet dog or cat living in your home, it is necessary to keep your original goals in mind and remain committed to finding the pet a new family.

Of course it can be a difficult process for you to let them go, but keep this in mind: Once one rescued pet has found a good home, it opens up a spot for another one to be saved.

Admittedly, it is not painless, you do cry, you do miss them. Yet, the pain disappears when another pet arrives from the shelter that needs YOU. The pain is fleeting compared to the wonderful feeling of knowing YOU truly are saving more than one pet's life by allowing us to have enough foster homes.

What about expenses?

TCHS will cover the cost of veterinary care, food, and supplies. Veterinary care is paid for by TCHS, provided you take the foster pet to a pre-approved veterinarian. In case of emergency, you would need to check with the shelter before seeking any medical care.

I already own a dog or cat. Can I still foster?

Yes, however, there are many things you need to consider before bringing another animal into your house. You must first consider your animal's temperament: Is it aggressive? Dominant? Frightened by other animals? Once you determine if your current pet would be accepting of a new animal, it is a good idea to set up a "meet and greet" on neutral territory to make sure everyone gets along. TCHS animals are current on vaccinations and are spayed or neutered, and we require the same for any animals you may have.

What happens when I arrive home with my foster pet?

When introducing a pet to a new environment, do so gradually. Remember that the new pet may be frightened and could bite, run away, scratch, or cower in a corner. Depending on the pet and his/her history, there may be incidents of housebreaking issues, spraying, marking, damage, and/or barking. Please be forewarned and "animal proof" your home.

If you have children, we request that you monitor their contact with a foster pet at all times. We cannot guarantee any pet's behavior and this will help to protect both the child and the pet. Foster pets are under a lot of stress and do best in a quiet environment.

Can I take my foster pet outside?

No foster pet should be outside unattended or unrestrained! No cat should ever be allowed outside for any reason unless it is in a carrier! If you feel you cannot go along with this, you should not foster because the foster animal's life will be compromised.

Please do not attempt to take our dogs to any public places without permission. Some dogs are very fearful and will not do well. They may try to bite or bolt.

How will I know if my foster pet needs medical attention?

Some of our pets may be sick or recovering from illness or surgery. We will make every effort to inform you of the animal's condition, if known, before you take them. And we ask that you call us immediately with any concerns.

Unfortunately, sometimes pets do die. This is a reality of being involved in this kind of work. If you take a sick pet and there is concern about its future, you must be prepared for the pet's possible death. If you cannot handle this, please say so.