WHY SHOULD I FOSTER?
Whether you're helping a dog learn to love and be loved, or watching an injured kitten recover, fostering gives you the opportunity to single-handedly change an animals life forever.
ARE THERE RULES AND REGULATIONS?
As with all aspects of rescue our primary goal is to maintain loving, safe and healthy environments for all of our animals. Potential fosters to be 21 years old, and live within a reasonable distance to our location to be able to get to and from us with the animal for visits, and to pick up supplies.
The steps to becoming approved include filling out an application, attending an orientation, and a home visit. The Little Guild will check both veterinary and personal references, and validation of housing (either proof of ownership or landlord approval) is also required prior to being matched with an animal.
WHERE DO FOSTER ANIMALS COME FROM?
Foster animals come in all shapes and sizes and with various stories. Animals needing foster placement range from young puppies and kittens who need special care before they are ready for adoption, to older animals with special medical or geriatric needs. Another possibility is that it may be an animal who simply does not deal well with the stress of "shelter life", and who will be more adoptable when allowed to thrive and blossom in a home environment.
IS FOSTERING FAIR TO THE ANIMALS?
Some people are reluctant to foster animals because they are concerned that it is unfair to take in a dog or cat, establish a bond, and then allow the animal to be adopted out into another home. Isn't that a second abandonment? Not at all!! Being in a foster home can be a lifesaving bridge for a stray or frightened pet. It gives the animal a chance to get used to life in a house, and an opportunity to learn that people can be kind, food is available, and there is a warm, secure place to sleep. Foster care can help prepare a dog or cat for a new life in a permanent home. There's no shortage of animals who need this preparation time before finding their own people. When you choose to foster you are actually helping TWO animals. You are helping the animal in your home, as well as an animal who now how a safe haven in that open bed in our shelter.
WHAT DOES THE FOSTER FAMILY PAY FOR?
The Little Guild provides all necessities for the foster animal including but not limited to: medication as needed, food, litter, equipment such as leashes and litter boxes as required. The foster family needs to provide: A healthy and safe environment, transportation to and from The Little Guild and/or vet appointments as needed, socialization and cuddle time to help teach the animal about positive family and pet relationships, exercise and positive stimulation to help them develop trust and love, feedback to The Little Guild about progress and concerns. If the foster family WISHES to provide some of the necessary items for their foster animal, that is acceptable and appreciated. It is not at all required though, we are so appreciative of you opening up your loving home, and of the work and time you put into the animal - that alone is a gift that we cannot repay or quantify!
HOW LONG DOES THE ANIMAL STAY WITH ME?
Foster contracts are initially done on a 2-month basis, but every animal and foster has unique needs and timing will be discussed prior to placement. Our goal is to always make the best matches possible for the most successful foster placements, and length of stay will be always be determined on an individual basis.
WHO IS MY CASE MANAGER AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
At The Little Guild it is our goal to have our foster family be FULLY supported within our organization, and to do everything in our power to facilitate successful placements. To that end we have a Case Manager assigned to every foster placement. Your case manager will be responsible for providing you with all the information on your animal, supply and replenishing of food and medications, training you on any specific special needs of your animal, and will be be your personal bridge to our organization so that you are never "apart" from us but always "a PART of us". Your case manager may not be able to personally answer or resolve every issue that arises, but they will make certain that you receive the appropriate support to handle your situation. Your case manager is your point of contact for you to give feedback and updates, and will work with you to handle any necessary medical or well check visits to The Little Guild or to a vets office if required.
WHAT IF I'M GOING ON VACATION?
We of course understand that being a foster does not preclude you from being able to carry on with a normal life. We will board your foster if you are going away or in the event of a personal emergency. For planned boarding we would ask for a 1-week notification so that we are able to plan accordingly to accommodate your foster. Whether it's a planned or an emergency situation you would just work through your case manager to arrange the boarding.
WHAT IF IT'S NOT WORKING OUT?
You are not required to continue to foster an animal if you feel that it's not a good fit for you. However, we not have an immediate alternate foster home or space for the animal at our facilities. We will work on moving your foster out as quickly as we can, but ask for your understanding and patience. Please contact your case manager during business hours if this situation should arise.
WILL IT BE HARD TO SAY GOODBYE?
ABSOLUTELY it WILL be hard! Saying goodbye can be the most difficult part of fostering, but keep in mind there are always more animals currently in shelter that need wonderful foster homes like yours. Remember, you are playing a crucial role in helping to save them ALL. We encourage you to concentrate on the positives ~ you just helped save a life and helped that animal transition to a forever home. We have no doubt there is another sad soul just WAITING to come with you and reap the benefits of your loving home. Another way to look at it is as "babysitting" ~ when you babysit a child you love them and enjoy them the entire time they are in your charge, but you know they will be "going home". Knowing you were part of saving a life and helping the animal find a loving forever home is tremendously rewarding. We encourage our fosters to be aware of these feelings, talk about them, join in our orientations to share your feelings and know that we are here to support you.
I'M INTERESTED WHERE DO I BEGIN?
The first step to becoming a foster is to fill out an application HERE on our website. You will notice that you will not be asked to select a specific animal on our application, only species. The reason for this is that we want the BEST possible match/placement for both you and the animal. Once we meet with you you and get to know your specific situation/home and strengths we will then be able to give you a selection of animals that will be a "best fit" for your home.
When your application is received the "paper" portion will be processed and then the Foster Coordinator (F.C.) will reach out to you to schedule you an orientation. If you are interested in getting set up with an animal at the conclusion of the orientation the F.C. will work with you to set up a time to do a home visit, and then for you to come back and meet with a specific animal or animals to see if anyone is a good fit for you.
Please note that the initial "paper" part of our process will include things like talking to your veterinarian, landlord verification (or seeing proof of home ownership), so you'll want to make sure to let everyone know we'll be calling and give them permission to speak to us.