Humane Rescue Alliance

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Foster FAQ

What is the Foster Program?

The Foster Program allows adoptable animals to move out of the adoption centers and into homes where they are cared for until they find their adoptive home. This helps to open up more space in the adoption centers for the animals who come to use seeking refuge each and every day.

What kind of animals need foster homes?
All kinds of adoptable dogs, cats, and sometimes other small animals. Sometimes these animals are otherwise healthy but are stressed in a shelter environment. Sometimes these animals require time, medical care, or behavior training to help them become ready for adoption. These populations of animals are nursing moms with kittens, puppies or kittens too young to be spayed/neutered, animals recovering from surgery or some other medical treatment plan, and shy or timid animals with specific behavior treatment plans.

Who can be a foster parent?
Anyone with the time and energy to dedicate to caring for an animal and the willingness to help them find a new home. Foster parents are caring, compassionate people who want to make a difference in an animal's life. You must live in the D.C. metro area and have some familiarity with caring for animals in your home or the willingness to learn.

What are the requirements for fostering animals?
Foster parents need to be able to keep animals in their home (i.e. owning their own home or living in a pet-friendly rental). HRA will provide routine preventative medical care including spay/neuter, vaccinations, heartworm or FeLV/FIV tests, and dewormer. Foster parents are responsible for food, shelter, and any other incidentals associated with the basic care of the animal. However, in situations where the animal has specific medical, dietary, or other needs, HRA will provide the necessary supplies. Foster parents must be willing to help find the animal a new permanent home (including meeting with potential adopters), and be able to release the foster pet to their new owners. Having a car is beneficial for the purposes of attending routine medical appointments, but it is not required.

Can I return my foster animal to the adoption center if I am unable to foster any longer?
Animals enter foster homes with the expectation that the animal will live in the home until adoption. However, if extenuating circumstances arise, yes, the animal may be returned to the adoption center. In cases where the animal went into foster care due to stress in-shelter, an attempt to transfer the animal to another foster home will be made. Please provide ample advance notice to the foster care department so that these arrangements can be made.

What if I go on vacation or have a business trip?

The network of foster parents is incredibly supportive of short term fostering/pet sitting requests for HRA animals. If given enough notice, we can usually find volunteers that can foster pet sit for short durations. We ask that foster parents always keep adoption center staff aware of any temporary foster sitting situations.

Are foster animals ever euthanized?
Animals who are candidates for foster care are selected because they either already are adoption candidates or they are expected to become candidates after a period of time or completion of medical treatment. However, there are instances in which an animal’s behavior or medical condition progress to a point where humane considerations of the animal’s quality of life and/or public safety must be made. In all instances, HRA is thorough and transparent in its decision making and considerate of the foster parent’s involvement.

What happens during the foster process?
At orientation, you will be introduced to the foster-match making process in which you indicate what type of animal you are able and willing to welcome into your home. The foster care department will only match you with the animal population you indicate. You are expected to pick up the animal at the adoption center in which it currently resides and provide daily and routine care until the animal finds a home. You will be proactive in helping to find your animal a home, a process that will also be further explained at orientation.

Once you take an animal into your home, you will be matched with a case manager who will be your main point of contact for all routine and other issues. This person will help you navigate the foster medical process if medical care is needed (including routine vaccinations), send you information about adoption events, and otherwise be your main resource for all foster program and HRA-related topics. When a potential adopter is interested, you will arrange a meeting between the adopter and your foster pet. You will then work with the foster care coordinator and adoption counselors to find your foster animal a permanent home. After the adoption is approved, you will help your foster transition into their new, loving home!

How do I become a foster parent?
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent for HRA, please complete the foster care application. You will be contacted by a member of the foster care department upon receipt of the application.

How do I adopt a cat or kitten from foster care?

If you wish to adopt a cat or kitten from one of our HRA foster homes, please check our adoption page.

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