What is a foster?
Most rescues are volunteer-based rescues who take animals in and place them in foster homes until they are adopted by a forever family. Because most rescues are small, non-profit organizations, they rely on the public to participate in their mission of saving animals by donating and more importantly, providing short term, in-home care for animals until they can be adopted.
> Perseverance > Communicate Clearly > Patience > Structure/Love > Understanding
Apply to foster today!
Thank you for your interest in fostering, and we hope you will find information that answers your questions and ultimately you are encouraged to open your heart and home to an animal in need. Every foster home with their doors open is a life saved. Please share the information you learn and tell others about how they can help.
Fostering saves lives.
Each year, over 3-4 million animals are euthanized in the United States at shelters across the country. Animal rescues groups have become strong advocates for these animals and their volunteers work tirelessly to save as many animals as they can. Through education, spay/neuter programs, and advocacy they try to curb the overpopulation of pets that inevitably leaves so many without homes.
Why foster for WRAR?
Foster parents are a critical part of our program at White River Animal Rescue. Fostering saves dogs from unnecessary hardship and the stress of the shelter environment. In 2016, more than 200 dogs were adopted from foster care. Without our dedicated foster parents, we would not be able to offer these dogs a second chance at finding their forever family.
While fostering requires time and patience, the rewards are immeasurable. You will have the joy of knowing you have helped save a dog's life, and you free up resources within the shelter to help other homeless dogs. Watching your foster dog blossom in your care and eventually go to their forever home is truly an amazing experience.
If you are interested in fostering, please read through the information below. Please carefully review the information on this page to determine if our foster program is a good fit for your interests and lifestyle. Once you've reviewed the program information, you'll find information on the foster parent application process and training.
What types of dogs are placed in foster care?
Our foster dog program primarily supports dogs needing extra care or training. If you are looking to foster mellow, well trained dogs without behavioral or medical needs, you are not likely to find a match in our foster program, as these dogs can be adopted straight away. Our foster program typically supports the following types of dogs:
- Young adult dogs needing extra structure, more socialization or work on their manners. These are typically large breed dogs between 6 months and 2 years of age.
- Dogs suffering from "shelter stress" who are in need of a calm home environment. These are typically large breed dogs of varying ages.
- Sick, injured or post-surgery dogs, or dogs with special medical needs.
- Puppies too young and/or immature to be adopted.
- Senior dogs that will be more comfortable in a home environment.
While we place a large range of dogs in foster care, our greatest need is for foster parents willing to foster untrained, medically and behaviorally challenged dogs. We will provide support, including, but not limited to access to training resources, medical support, and, of course, emotional support.
All our dogs receive, at minimum, veterinary health evaluation, vaccinations, fecal exam before going to their foster home. We also do our best to determine their level of compatibility with other animals.
What does WRAR provide? What do foster parents provide?
You provide the dog's’ basic needs—space, food, exercise, socialization, basic training and love. We provide a crate, bed, collar or harness, leash and toys; pay for all necessary, pre-authorized vet care; provide professional training support if needed; provide adoption promotion.
How long are dogs in foster care?
This varies greatly, depending on the individual dog. The duration can range from a few weeks to several months, with an average stay of two to three months. We ask that foster parents commit to fostering a dog for the duration of their stay in foster care. It is extremely stressful for a dog to go back to the shelter from a foster home. If a foster parent cannot continue to foster a dog, we prefer to try and transfer the dog to a new foster home. We ask that foster parents only request a transfer when absolutely necessary, such as an unexpected family emergency, significant changes in schedules or unforeseen difficulties in addressing a dog's specific needs.
Program Requirements and Guidelines
In order to foster for White River Animal Rescue, you must be over the age of 21 and have previous dog handling experience. Households with children under the age of 18 are welcome, but the primary caregiver for the dog needs to be over 21.
In addition, you must be willing to adhere to the following program rules:
- No off-leash park visits. This includes taking a leashed dog to an off-leash park.
- Foster dogs must be on leash at all times when outdoors unless in your own securely fenced yard. Foster dogs may not be left unattended at any time outside, even in a secured yard. You may not leave your dog loose in the house with an accessible doggie door when you are not present.
- No contraindicated training techniques or tools may be used on foster dogs. Unapproved techniques and mechanisms include prong collars, pinch/choke chain collars, E-collars, spray bottles, physical reprimands including alpha rolls, etc. You will be provided detailed guidelines on approved training techniques and tools.
- All vet visits must be pre-approved by calling the Director, Amy Knight; and you must visit an approved veterinarian.
- Any aggressive or other behavior issues must be immediately communicated to our volunteer coordinator.
- Foster parents must respond within 24 hours to communications from our volunteer staff or potential adopters. Foster parents must have internet access and check their email daily as this is the primary form of communication.
Please complete an application if you are interested in and are able to foster within the next 3 months and make a minimum 3-month commitment to your foster pet. It is best to be as honest as possible and to discuss your specific lifestyle and home situation to find an animal that will be a fit for your home until that animal is adopted. Please keep in mind that if you choose to apply to foster, you are never obligated. You are completely in control of when, who, and how frequently you take an animal into your home. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
Foster parents provide a supportive environment for animals to grow, heal, decompress, and get ready for their adoptive families. The following types of animals comprise our greatest need for foster homes:
- Animals with behavioral needs: socialization, impulse control, litter box habits
- Ill or post-surgical animals
- Terminally ill & elderly pets in need of end-of-life comfort and care
- Shelter-stressed animals
- Animals too immature for spay/neuter