URGENT PLEA FOR FOSTER FAMILIES!!!!
Please consider opening your heart and your home to a homeless critter! The information below is for ACCT/Paws. Other local shelters have foster programs as well.
Fostering Kittens: Frequently Asked Questions
How long will I have the kittens?
Length of stay is generally 2-8 weeks. Some kittens only need a couple of weeks before they will be big enough to be spayed or neutered and placed up for adoption. Others are newborn and may need as long as two months in the safety of foster care.
Will they have their mom with them?
Some kittens come into the shelter as orphans. Others have their mother and are still nursing, so they would be placed in foster care as a family. The most vulnerable come in without their mother and are so tiny that they must be bottle-fed. Which litter you take into foster care depends on your preferences and abilities, as well as the kittens that are in need when you arrive.
Where shall I keep them when I get them home?
Foster cats/kittens must be kept indoors. A small room separate from the rest of the living space, such as a bathroom, is the perfect place. So, even if you have pets, you can still take in kittens and give them the chance they deserve.
What must I provide for the kittens?
Foster parents provide food, water, a litter box, litter, bedding and toys. Daily care required depends on the kittens' age.
Do dogs need foster care, too?
Yes. We have many dogs who, for a variety of reasons -- socialization issues, injury, age, weight -- desperately need foster care. A temporary home gives a dog the attention, safety and love they need until they can find a forever family. Please inquire with shelter staff or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in fostering a dog. Your help will save a life!
Fostering Dogs - Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there such a desperate need for foster homes?
Dogs come into the shelter for a variety of reasons. Many are strays found on the streets and others are "owner surrenders". A long political story short, there is not enough funding to care for the high amount of dogs who come in to the shelter; there is literally, not enough space. By fostering one dog, two lives are saved- that dog you took home and another dog who can take the cage. Dogs who go into foster care before their forever home are more likely to remain in their home...they have experience living in a home and interacting with adults/children/other dogs/cats...
Who can foster?
This is a list of what you need in order to foster a shelter dog: a crate, a space inside your house to keep the crate, food, toys, lots of patience, and love. As long as you are allowed to have dogs at your residence, can provide the preceding list, and experience caring for dogs, you are qualified to be a foster parent. If you have never cared for a dog before but would still like to be a foster parent, you need to be willing to work with a "mentor foster parent" to help you get over the hurdles of not only caring for a dog, but particularly a dog who may have come from less-than desirable situation.
What do I have to pay for?
As a PAWS foster parent, you are required to purchase food, bedding, toys, grooming supplies, or other dog care essentials. The only thing that shelter does pay for is medicine.
Why do certain dogs really need to be fostered?
Some dogs come into the shelter sick, injured, emaciated, old, or with severe emotional problems. These dogs will quickly deteriorate in a stressful shelter environment and need to get out as soon as possible. Other dogs may get sick while at the shelter and it is very difficult for the dogs to improve in the stressful situation at the shelter. Lastly, there are also dogs that have been at the shelter a very long time and because of space constraints, may have the highest risk of being euthanized.
Do I choose which dog I want to foster?
Yes. Although there are certain dogs that are most urgent, you ultimately have the right to choose any dog. You are able to decide which dog you will best be able to help in addition to which dog will best fit your home and lifestyle. You will receive guidance on which dogs would be good options in terms of energy level, breed, size, age, dog-friendliness, cat-friendliness, child-friendliness, or any other requests you have.
Am I solely responsible for getting the dog adopted?
Not at all. There is a whole team of volunteers working together to get as many dogs adopted as possible. Your foster dog will be on the shelter's petfinder website. Many foster parents have found success through this means. However, you also have the opportunity to do more aggressive advertising for your foster dog such as craigslist, posting signs and notices around your neighborhood, and talking to anyone who will listen about your dog.
Who do I adopt the dog out to?
There is an adoption application that you can use to help decide who is the best fit for your foster dog. You can adopt the dog out to a neighbor, a friend, a relative, or someone you meet through other means. As a foster parent, you also have the option of adopting the dog. Again, there is a large group of volunteers who can help you if you are having trouble deciding on the right adoptive home.
If something goes wrong, can I bring the dog back to the shelter?
This is discouraged, but allowed. Most of these dogs have never had stability in their lives and by this continuing, it makes them a more difficult dog to adopt out. Constant movement prohibits the dog from trusting humans. We have an on-line forum for volunteers and "Foster Care" has its own section! If you are EVER having problems or concerns, this is the place to reach out for help. We all work together to get as many dogs saved, happy, and healthy.
Can I still foster if I have other animals?
Absolutely! This is a great opportunity for the foster dogs, as they have the chance to interact in a positive way with other animals. As long as your animals are dog friendly, we will be able to find a dog from the shelter that will be a good match.
If the dog gets sick, do I have to go to my own vet?
The shelter vet staff is wonderful. They are very committed and are always available to answer questions concerning your foster dog's health. If your foster dog is sick when it leaves the shelter to go into your home, you will be given medicine when you take the dog. If the foster dog gets sick while at your house, the dog is not improving, or you notice another symptom, the clinic will also provide medicine and care. The shelter is also responsible for neutering or spaying your foster dog before it gets adopted.
What if my own dog gets sick from the foster dog?
All dogs who are sick leave the shelter with enough medicine that is needed. As long as your animals are up-to-date on their shots and are healthy, their health will most likely not be compromised. If you have a dog with a compromised immune system, let someone know and they will be sure to find the right foster dog fit. You can always speak with the shelter staff for anything, go to your own vet, or you can reach out to other volunteers who have experienced anything and everything. The vet staff can discuss this further if you should have any more questions.
Okay, I want to help. What do I do now?
Once you have decided to save a life and foster a dog, you can do many things. You can head down to the shelter RIGHT NOW and ask to speak with a manager and say you are here to foster a dog. Or, you can contact one of the people below and they will further assist you. Don't forget to bring a leash and a collar.
The shelter is located at 111 W. Hunting Park Ave. Philadelphia, PA
Go to www.phillypaws.org for directions and hours
PAWS, the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, is a donor-funded division of the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association (ACCT) dedicated to saving the lives of Philadelphia's homeless, abandoned and unwanted animals. Taking in nearly 30,000 animals each year, PAWS is dedicated to making Philadelphia a No Kill city where all healthy and treatable animals are guaranteed a home. Supporting PAWS helps fund lifesaving initiatives including adoption and foster care programs, spay and neuter surgeries, low-cost vaccinations, and other community-based programming, all of which help reduce and will ultimately eliminate the unnecessary killing of Philadelphia's animals. For more information, please visit: www.phillypaws.org.