The Friends of Animal Care and Control is starting an official foster program and we are currently looking for qualified foster care providers. In addition, we currently have several dogs available for adoption that are in foster care. Foster care allows us to get to know dogs out of a shelter environment, and as a result we can let potential adopters know more about the dog before making a commitment. Please take a look at the dogs we have available for adoption that are in foster care.
Are You Interested in Fostering?
Fostering is a wonderful experience for you and your family – you can feel good knowing you have helped save a dog’s life. Even better, as a foster, you have created space in the shelter to accommodate other homeless dogs. Foster dogs provide companionship and purpose – your act of kindness is repaid in rewards that are beyond words. The foster application can be downloaded here: FACC Foster Application
We need foster homes for the following dogs that are at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter:
- Any dog when the shelter becomes overcrowded.
- Neglected or abused dogs that need tender loving care and extra attention.
- Injured dogs and/or those recovering from surgery.
- Dogs suffering from “shelter stress” in need of a calming home environment.
- Older or senior dogs that will be more comfortable in a home environment.
- Puppies and young dogs that require more socialization than available at the shelter.
- Puppies too young and/or immature to be adopted.
- Dogs with colds or with special medical needs.
- Abandoned mothers with litters of puppies.
Fostering requires time and commitment. We can not guarantee how long you may need to foster a dog, as it could be days, weeks, or even months. Because it is extremely stressful for a dog to be returned to the shelter environment or to be passed around from foster to foster, we prefer that foster parents continue to foster until we find a permanent home for their foster dog. To help you determine if you are ready to foster, we recommend reading this short article, Becoming A Foster Parent: Are You Ready?
Although it is important to enter a foster agreement prepared to foster as long as necessary, we understand that situations can change and it may become necessary to transfer a foster dog. Therefore, we request that a foster parent provides as much notice as possible (preferably 3-4 weeks) so that we can find an alternative foster home to transfer the dog to.
To start the foster process, we require a completed application to be submitted to FosterFACC@gmail.com, mailed to us, or dropped off at the shelter. Home visits are required before being approved as a foster home for a shelter dog. If you are approved, FACC will let you know when a foster dog is available.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fostering
1. Is fostering right for me?
There are many things to consider when taking on a foster animal. Here are a few:
- Foster parents will be required to take on responsibility for routine care during the foster period, including vet visits, if needed.
- A home check will be required to insure that the foster home is suitable for the prospective foster animal.
- All existing animals in the foster home must be up to date on vaccines.
- Every family member or roommate in the household will need to be prepared for the commitment and emotional aspects involved with fostering.
- Foster parents will need to review our foster manual and abide by all of the directions.
- Foster parents will need to dedicate the time to make visits to the adoption events if, and when needed.
- Foster parents will need to dedicate time every day to exercise the foster dog – this decreases the likelihood of destructive behaviors in the house while you are away.
2. How do I become a foster parent?
The first step is to complete the Foster Care Application foster application and submit it via email FosterFACC@gmail.com, mail, or by dropping it off at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter between the hours of 1-5 M-Fri or 11:30 -4:00 on Saturdays.Foster applications will be reviewed and home visits scheduled by one of our Foster Counselors. Approved foster homes will be notified when an appropriate dog becomes available for our foster program.
3. Do I need to own my home?
No, but if you rent a house or apartment, we will need to contact your landlord or property management company for their permission for you to have a dog on the property. During the application process, we ask for any size/breed/weight restrictions.
4. How old do I need to be?
Foster caregivers must be 18 years of age or older. However, we ask you not to enter into this program on a whim. If you are a college student or young adult looking to have fun with a temporary pet companion while you juggle a hectic work and social schedule, or if you live in a noisy household, please don’t volunteer. Foster dogs are frequently under great stress and do best in a quiet environment.
5. What if I already have a pet in my home?
Many foster homes will already have one or more animals in the home before fostering. If you want to foster, your own pets must be non-aggressive, for the health and safety of everybody concerned. If your pets are calm, friendly, well-socialized, and healthy, they can help you with the fostering experience by providing a model of positive behavior.
Introducing your existing pets to a foster dog will take some time and effort on your part. We have resources to help you with this process that you should read before bringing home a foster dog. You will be given a copy of “Love Has No Age Limit” upon approval into the foster program that provides excellent guidance on introducing your pets to a new shelter dog. The following article also provides information on introducing animals: http://www.animalsheltering.org/resources/magazine/sep_oct_2006/introductions_please.pdf.
6. Do I get to pick out my foster dog?
We will identify which dogs will do better in a foster home. By reviewing the information from your application and home visit, we can make educated guesses as to which dog would be a good match for you. When we have a potential foster match for you, we will notify you by email or phone, at which point you can come to the shelter and meet the dog before agreeing to foster him or her. Please note, we often do not have much lead time on dogs that need to get into foster care, so a number of potential foster homes may be contacted about any one dog.
7. What expenses are covered?
A crate, leashes, food, bed and bowls are provided by FACC. Veterinary care is also paid for by FACC, provided you take your foster pet to a pre-approved veterinarian. We have established relationships with individual area veterinarians and they provide certain services for us at a lower rate. In case of emergency, you would need to check with the Foster Program Coordinator before seeking any medical care. If unavailable, please proceed to the emergency vet and contact the Coordinator as soon as possible.
8. How much time can I expect to spend caring for my foster dog on a daily basis?
On a daily basis, you are expected to feed your dog, take him/her outside to the bathroom, play and interact with him/her, and provide exercise, rain or shine. The need for exercise is an often over-looked requirement for dogs that should not be underestimated, especially for dogs coming from the animal shelter. Most foster dogs will need at least two 30 minute or longer walks a day to release excess energy. If your foster dog is an adolescent, you may need to step up the activity level to include regular runs/hikes/or brisk walks. A dog that is exercised regularly will tend to sleep when you are not at home – and a sleeping dog cannot do undesirable things, such as bark, chew, etc. This is why we ask questions about how much exercise you are able to provide and will do our best to match your expectations with an appropriate dog. Even a 10-week-old puppy that plays inside or in a yard needs numerous daily walks as part of the socialization process. The exception to this is if your foster dog is recovering from an illness or injury, then they may need rest.
Some dogs may require extra attention, such as for dogs experiencing separation anxiety or behavioral issues. We will not knowingly foster out dogs with aggression issues (and in the case of signs of aggression, we need to be identified immediately), but other issues such as jumping up, leash pulling, etc. may require additional time spent on training.
9. Will the dog come already trained?
With foster dogs, we typically do not know their history and can not guarantee that they will be house trained or know basic commands. All approved foster homes will be given a copy of an excellent booklet entitled “Love Has No Age Limit” that provides excellent guidance on training the adult shelter dog. Housetraining is also covered well in this article: http://www.animalsheltering.org/resources/magazine/sep_oct_2006/introductions_please.pdf.
We only allow positive training methods with our shelter dogs. In positive training, positive rewards such as a favorite treat, or a game of fetch, or anything that your foster dog enjoys, are used to reward wanted behaviors (such as sitting on command, waiting for permission to go through a door, etc.).
Regardless of any training or behavioral issue, we don’t condone punishment, as this is rarely effective in training or resolving behavior problems. Punishment or correction-based training includes “alpha rolls,” the use of choke chains, prong collars and electronic shock devices. If you use any of these methods or devices with a foster dog, we will terminate the foster relationship.
Any training issues can be discussed with the Foster Counselor and an appropriate training plan can be devised. Your time spent training your foster dog will increase his or her adoptability.
10. Can I take my foster dog out in public, including the dog park?
Getting your dog out in public, such as walking on the Huckleberry Trail or to Pet Smart provides exercise, socialization and an opportunity to promote your foster dog. Foster dogs will come with an “Adopt Me” vest, and you may be stopped and questioned about your foster dog. Please provide interested people with the information we give you to help find homes.
Though we want you to get the dog outside often, no foster dog can be left unattended or unrestrained. You are not allowed to bring your foster dog to an off-leash park, even if you keep them on a leash (because this can create leash aggression). There are no exceptions to this rule. Do not bring puppies to any public parks. Puppies are not yet fully vaccinated and can pick up viruses, particularly the Parvovirus, through contact with feces and urine in areas where other dogs congregate. If you feel you cannot go along with these requirements, you should not foster.
When taking your foster dog out in public, we ask that you do not use retractable leashes. They are difficult to use with untrained pets, and easy to drop, causing the pet to become frightened. Also, they can easily wrap around your legs or hands and cause injury to you as well.
11. Can I adopt my foster dog?
While our foster program is not intended as a foster-to-adopt program, we understand that foster parents will sometimes make a special connection with a foster dog. We call these ‘foster failures’. If you decide you want to adopt your foster dog, please let the Foster Coordinator know and we will start the adoption process. If you do become inseparably attached to a foster pet, we hope you will still volunteer to foster other pets in the future.
12. What if I can’t continue fostering my dog?
We prefer that foster parents continue to foster until we find a permanent home for their foster dog. It’s extremely stressful for a dog to be returned to the shelter environment. For behavioral issues, we ask foster homes to work with us on a solution before returning a dog. This may include crate training. However, we understand that situations change and it may become necessary to transfer a foster dog. In those cases, we request that a foster parent provides as much notice as possible (preferably 3-4 weeks) so that we can find an alternative foster home to transfer the dog to. In a true emergency, a foster care provider may bring their dog back to the shelter.
13. What if I need to temporarily leave town (short vacation, business trip, etc.)?
If possible, we would like your foster dog to stay at your house and have a dog care provider come to your place several times a day in order to provide continuity in the dog’s life. However, that is not always possible. Please talk to the Foster Program Coordinator and we can arrange a temporary foster situation for the dog. Please give us plenty of advance notice (preferably 3 to 4 weeks).