Are you ready to open your heart and home to a pet in need?
See if the Connecticut Humane Society foster care program is the right fit for you.
Why do pets need foster care?
Some pets are not ready for adoption soon after they arrive. The types of pets requiring foster care include: kittens and puppies under eight weeks old; nursing dogs and cats and their litters; orphaned infant animals who need bottle-feeding; pets who are sick, recovering from surgery, or being treated for a medical condition; and pets who have behavioral issues such as separation anxiety, or shyness.
Can I choose which types of pets I foster?
Yes. You can choose to foster just dogs, just cats, small animals, or multiple kinds of pets. Some volunteers just foster kittens or puppies while others help with medical and behavioral cases. All foster assignments are voluntary – you will never be forced to take an assignment.
Am I responsible for the costs of the pet's medical care, food or supplies?
No. All food, supplies and medical care will be provided by CHS, and the staff will be available to answer any questions that you may have about your foster pet(s).
How long do I keep the foster pet(s)?
The length of any assignment depends on the needs of the individual pet. A typical assignment is between 2 – 9 weeks in length. Young kittens and puppies stay in foster care until they are nine weeks old. Pets with behavioral or medical issues will stay in foster care until they are ready for adoption. During the foster period, pets may be required to come back to CHS for medical check-ups and behavioral evaluations. In some cases, volunteers keep the foster pets until they can be placed into a permanent home.
What are the risks of fostering pets?
Homeless pets come from a variety of backgrounds and it can be hard to gauge how they’ll behave in a home environment. You’ll be provided with the medical and behavioral history that CHS has available. The pet will have also had an exam with a CHS veterinarian and any other necessary medical care. CHS can’t guarantee how the pets will act in your home, nor can it be entirely certain that they aren’t harboring a contagious illness. You can reduce some of the risks by crating your foster pets when they’re not being supervised (CHS will provide a crate), keeping your own pets up to date on their vaccines, and keeping your foster pets separated from your own pets.
Can I foster if I work full-time?
Yes. Many volunteers have full-time jobs, and most foster pets can be left alone for up to eight hours at a time. We will provide a crate that should be used when you’re not able to supervise. Foster pets require an adequate amount of human socialization for optimum development. You should spend a minimum of an hour a day socializing your foster pets(s). Some pets, such as bottle-feeding infants, cannot be left for extended periods of time and must be fostered by volunteers who are able to accommodate their needs and schedules.
Can I foster if I have other pets at home?
Yes. Most foster volunteers have pets of their own. You’ll need a separate area (such as a spare bedroom) to house your foster pet(s). Although foster pets receive a medical examination here at CHS, we can’t guarantee that they’re not harboring a contagious illness. You can reduce some of the risks associated with foster care by keeping your own pets up to date on their vaccines and by keeping foster pets separated from your own pets.
Can I foster if I have children?
Yes. Fostering is a great way for youngsters to learn about caring for pets and giving back to the community. All foster care applicants must be over 18 years old but children can assist their parents with the care of foster pets. Some pets are not appropriate for homes with children. CHS will do its best to match you with foster pets based on the age of the youngest child in your home. Please keep in mind that young children should never be left alone with any animal.
Am I responsible for finding a home for my foster pet(s)?
No. Foster pets come back to CHS at the end of their foster period. Once they are cleared for adoption, CHS will match them with their new family. All adopters must be counseled and approved by the adoption staff. Volunteers may not line up homes for their foster pets but may submit short write-ups and high-quality digital photos for the pets’ website profiles. In some cases, CHS may decide to keep pets in foster care when the pet is made available for adoption and searching for a home. Volunteers who agree to these assignments will bring the pets to CHS for meet-and-greets with potential adoptive families as needed.
What do I do if my foster pet(s) becomes sick or injured?
You’re responsible for monitoring your foster pet(s) on a daily basis for any sign of illness or injury. You must call CHS immediately if you notice anything “unusual” with your foster pet(s). Medical staff will be available to see foster pets that become sick or injured during their foster stay. In some cases, you may be asked to administer medication at home. Some pets may have to stay in CHS’ medical department for hospitalization until they’ve recovered. Details about handling after-hours emergencies will be discussed during your foster care orientation.