Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I become a foster caregiver?
A: The first step is to complete the Foster Caregiver Application. You will receive a confirmation email/phone call from us.
Q: Do I need to own my home?
A: No, but if you rent a house or apartment, we will need to contact your landlord for their permission for you to have pet(s) temporarily on the property. Homeowners must establish proof of ownership (often an online lookup of your property tax is all we need). Please provide us with that information.
Q: How old do I need to be?
A: Foster caregivers must be 21 years of age or older. We ask you not to enter into this program on a whim. If you are 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, fostering is not a good option for you at this time.
Foster cats and dogs are frequently under great stress and do best in a quiet environment. A household with (a) child/ren must be taught to respect the animals in your care and must be supervised with foster animals/pets AT ALL TIMES. Odie’s Place is NOT responsible for any damages incurred during the Foster Animal’s stay at your home.
Q: Why should I become a foster caregiver?
A: Would you feel good knowing you are making a difference in the life of a displaced pet? A few months of inconvenience turns quickly into an educational, challenging, and satisfying experience you will never forget. Fostering a pet in need of shelter, love, and guidance will be time-consuming, but it is always rewarding!
Fostering also helps us evaluate the pet so we can provide as much information as possible to help us place the pet in the perfect home. Providing a “stepping stone” for animals in search of permanent homes saves lives, alleviates the strain on animal shelters, and helps set the stage for successful adoptions.
Q: Do I need an extra room for the pet?
A: It’s always a good idea. Some foster caregivers will use a spare bedroom, bathroom, or laundry room for their foster pets.
Q: Will my daily routine be impacted?
A: Probably! You should understand that choosing to be a foster caregiver is a serious undertaking. It will probably change your daily routine and your own companion animals will need to be okay with it.
Q: What else is involved?
A: Being a foster caregiver involves feeding, cleaning, grooming, exercising and playing with the animals. Sometimes, however, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Because sometimes animals are sick, stressed, or frightened, they may require special care. A frightened animal may require weeks of extra attention and behavioral modification to become ready for adoption. If you have experience and/or knowledge of special care animals, please let us know!
Q: Will my household and lifestyle be a good fit?
A: The health and welfare of all individuals in your home — human and animal — must be considered before bringing in another furbaby. Fostering a homeless pet should never be considered unless your home environment is happy, safe, healthy, and spacious enough to nurture the foster pet adequately and retain sanity among the existing members of your home. If any of your family members have allergies, excessive stress, other physical or mental health issues, career instability, financial difficulties, or housing or space restrictions, fostering is not a good option for you at this time.
But if you believe you have the ability to foster, and the entire household agrees that fostering would be a positive experience, your next question should be “Do I have the time?”
Fostering a shelter pet is a 24/7 job. Although you may not be physically interacting with the pet every second of the day, you will be responsible around the clock for the pet’s safety, comfort, and general well-being, and this responsibility alone can be exhausting. If your work or family schedule is already so hectic that adding another time-consuming responsibility will only create more stress, do not consider fostering at this time.
The amount of personal attention needed will vary greatly from pet to pet, but you can expect to spend anywhere from three to seven hours a day interacting with a foster pet, and even more if you’re planning to foster puppies or kittens. Teaching dogs or cats the lessons they will need to become happy, thriving, lifelong members of another family is the essence of fostering, and this takes time and patience.
Q: Do I get to choose the pet I foster?
A: Yes. Odie’s Place Inc. foster care team will let you know which pets need foster care, and you can decide if you want to help that pet (or pets). We always want to make sure you are comfortable fostering any pet. We will try to place a pet with you based on the pet’s need, temperament, and match with your abilities.
Q: Can I adopt the pet I foster?
A: Yes, of course! It does happen quite often, because it is only natural to become attached to a pet you take care of and nurture. We suspect this is one of the reasons that foster homes are in short supply. If you do become inseparably attached to a foster pet, we hope you will still volunteer to foster other pets in the future.
Q: Will I have difficulty letting go?
A: Anyone who fosters should keep in mind the expected outcome: another family will adopt the pet. While it is impossible not to become attached to a sweet dog or cat living in your home, it’s necessary to keep your original goals in mind and remain committed to finding the pet a new family. Odie’s Place will be networking for a permanent loving home. We do ask that you wait 2-3 weeks to foster another pet (unless you are willing to take on potentially 2 fosters at once). There is a two week “lemon law” in Massachusetts regarding pet adoption. Therefore, we must anticipate a place for “returned/failed” adoptions. Odie’s Place is not (yet) a physical place, so we would have nowhere for the returned animal to go!
Of course it can be a difficult process for you to let them go, but keep this in mind: Once one rescue has found a good home, that opens up a space for another one to be saved.
Admittedly, it is not painless, you do cry, and you miss them. Yet, the pain disappears when another pet arrives from the shelter that needs YOU. The pain is fleeting compared to the wonderful feeling of knowing that YOU truly are saving more than one pet’s life by allowing us to have enough foster homes.
And there is always a chance of “failed foster," where the foster adopts their dog or cat. Just let us know if you are ready to make a forever commitment to adopt your foster furbaby!
Q: What about expenses?
A: Odie’s Place Inc. will cover the cost of veterinary care only. We rely on donations to care for the medical needs/uptake for our foster families. This can get very expensive. For right now, Odie’s Place can only provide medical care (see what falls under medical coverage).
Veterinary care (medical care) is paid for by Odie’s Place, provided you take your foster animal to our pre-approved veterinarian. We have established relationships with veterinarians that provide certain services for us at a lower rate. Our current veterinary hospital approved for medical care/treatment is:
Anchor Animal Hospital located at 750 State Rd. Dartmouth, MA 02747
If an emergency comes up during non-operating hours at Anchor, we can allow you to go to your nearest emergency veterinarian facility. We reserve the right to be at the medical facility, and to make decisions for care of our animals at all times.
We may request that certain foods be fed to your foster pet. Sometimes a pet may be frightened or nervous and will not eat at first. Eventually the pet will eat. For the same reasons, the pet may have diarrhea in the beginning. In such cases we will advise that the pet be fed a bland diet and ask you to monitor the stool for changes.
We also ask that you keep us up to date on any issues that may occur during their stay with you. A short progress report/update/phone call is important to know how our furbabies are doing.
Q: What happens when I arrive home with my new foster pet?
A: When introducing a pet to a new environment, do so gradually. Remember that the pet might be frightened and could bite, run away, scratch, or cower in a corner. Depending on the pet and his/her history, there may be incidents of housebreaking issues, spraying, marking, damage, and/or barking. Please be forewarned and “animal proof” your home. Should an issue/emergency arise, please contact Odie’s Place (after seeking emergency care) so we can assist you and your foster pet.
If you have children, we request that you monitor their contact with a foster pet at all times. We cannot guarantee any pet’s behavior and this will help to protect both the child and the pet. Foster pets are under a lot of stress and do best in a quiet environment. Children are required to be monitored with all foster animals at all times.
Q: Can I take my foster pet outside unattended?
A: No. Foster pets should NOT be outside unattended or unrestrained. No cat should ever be allowed outside for any reason unless he/she is in a carrier. If you feel you cannot go along with this, you should not foster because the foster animal’s life will be compromised.
Q: Can I take my foster dog to an off-leash park for exercise and socialization?
A: No. You are not allowed to take any foster dog from the Odie’s Place to an off-leash dog park. While these parks can be fun for some dogs, there are far too many unknowns for it to be a safe and healthy experience for a foster dog. Diseases are easily transmitted and the temperaments of visiting dogs are unknown, thus creating a huge liability to the Odie’s Place Animal Shelter.
Q: How will I know if my foster pet needs medical attention?
A: We will make every effort to inform you of the animal’s condition, if known before you take them. And, we ask that you call or email us if you have any concerns.