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Fostering An Animal

What is Fostering?

There are times when being in a shelter isn't the best place for an animal - it could be that they require extra attention or that they have a medical condition or even that they're too young to be on their own! When you foster, you take an animal into your home and treat them as a member of your family until they're ready to be adopted.

At Saving Paws, we rely heavily on our fosters to help us provide the best care to our cats and dogs as possible.

Note: At this time fostering is limited to those animals that are currently in the care of Saving Paws. We are unable to offer short-term fostering or boarding of animals that have not been surrendered for adoption to Saving Paws.

Responsibilities of Foster Family

In a foster situation, the animal stays with the host family and the host family cares for them, however Saving Paws supports that care and the animal remains a Saving Paws animal until they are adopted. 

Below is a list of what Saving Paws provides and what the foster family is expected to provide. On the whole, foster families provide the time and TLC that an animal needs while Saving Paws pays for the animal's physical care and is there for help and support whenever the foster family needs it!

Responsibilities of Foster Family

  • Provide a safe and welcoming home for the animal
  • Ensure basic needs such as food, water, grooming and exercise are met
  • Monitor the animal's health and behavior. If the animal is acting strange or has poor condition (fur, ears, nails, etc), the foster family should contact the coordinator they're working with with any concerns or questions
  • Provide transport to any required medical care (NOTE: this is just transport, usually to Saving Paws or directly the vet. Medical care is paid for by Saving Paws and foster animals should never be seen by the foster family's personal vet)
  • Provide any ongoing required treatment that the animal needs (pills, eye drops, bottle feeding, injections, etc). We always try our best to match our foster animals with families that are able to handle providing the treatments that they require. If an animal ever needs to begin a treatment that the family is not comfortable giving, then they need to reach out to the coordinator so that we can determine the best way for the animal to receive treatment
  • If the foster family needs to travel (ex: go on vacation) and will be unable to care for the animal, they are required to contact the coordinator to determine a plan for the duration of their absence so that the animal continues to receive the care it needs.
  • Ability to provide input on an animal's final adopter. They'll be staying with you and you will know them best!

What Saving Paws Provides

  • Any required supplies - carriers/crates, food, bowls, litter, beds, blankets, toys, etc.
  • Any required veterinary care
  • Help with any questions/concerns that the foster family has in regards to the foster animal

Getting Started with Fostering

Many of our fosters start out as regular Saving Paws volunteers, however that's not required!
To start fostering, you will be need to fill out the same application as our other volunteers and go through a similar onboarding process. Just make sure to fill in the foster-specific questions as well!
  1. Submit an application
  2. Email to schedule an orientation
  3. Attend the orientation and, if you'll be needing the codes for any of the Saving Paws buildings, some job shadows and trainings.
If you have any questions about fostering, you can email:


Fostering FAQs

  • What if I want to adopt the animal I'm fostering?
    • Fostering is not meant to be a trial adoption, the goal is to help your fosters find their own permanent homes. That said, there are of course times when foster providers decide to adopt the animal in their care. If that happens, Saving Paws may choose to waive the application process, but you will be required to complete an adoption contract and pay the adoption fee just as with a regular adoption. After the signing of the adoption contract, you will be responsible for providing all future care. In addition, supplies that can be reused should be returned to Saving Paws.
  • Can I choose my foster animal?​
    • Because animals are always coming in and being adopted, we can't always guarantee that a specific type of animal is available for foster. If an animal is well-adjusted in the shelter, then most likely they will stay there as we like to leave fosters available for those animals that need extra time/attention (the exception here is dogs...almost all of our dogs are placed in foster and not left at the shelter).
    • It is possible, however, to let the coordinator know if there are certain types of situations that you're most passionate about fostering. For example, if you know how to care for orphaned puppies/kittens that need to be bottle fed or if you ​want to work with animals that are shy or need some kind of training/behavioral therapy, then the coordinators can definitely keep you in mind for those scenarios!
    • And remember, if you are ever asked to foster an animal that you're not comfortable with or you're unable to foster at that time, you can always say no!
Did you know?

We got through lots of cleaning supplies! Things like paper towels, trash bags, and hand soap are always needed donations.
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