What is Foster Care?
Foster care volunteers provide temporary care for kittens, puppies, dogs and cats. The Foster Care Program serves as a lifeline for those animals who come in under eight-weeks-old, very sick, injured, or needing some extra socialization or training. Our Foster Families provide quiet, stress-free, and loving environments, allowing every pet that is fostered through our program a better chance at a happier and healthier life with a forever family.
Some animals may only need a home for several days if they need to gain weight before surgery, while others may need several weeks of care in the case of a broken bone. By offering your time, energy and home to an animal in need, you prepare the animal for adoption into a permanent home as well as prevent overcrowding in our adoption center. The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) is always looking for foster parents to help save more animals’ lives.
Do I get to choose what types of pets I foster?
Yes. In your initial interview our program coordinator will ask what types of pets you are interested in fostering. During this time, the coordinator will also go over in detail all the types of fostering situations. Together you will discuss the best fit for you and your family. If you begin your fostering journey with dogs, you may always switch to cats (and vice versa) in the future. Switching is as easy as a discussion with the program coordinator when that time comes.
What if the foster in my home is not fitting into my lifestyle and/or not getting along with my pets?
We do our best to make a good match from the beginning by providing foster parents with all of the information we know about a pet before pick up. We ask that you try to make it work but we understand that sometimes it is just not a good fit. There is a two-week acclimation period where you will not have the foster and your pet together under any circumstance. Our foster team, as well as our training and behavior resource team is here to provide support.
What if I need to unexpectedly leave town while I have a foster in my home?
We understand that things come up! If you unexpectedly need to leave town you will be expected to inform the program coordinator and we will assist you in finding another foster/volunteer to watch the foster animal.
How often does a foster animal need to be brought in for check-ups?
Foster parent volunteers need to transport animals to BARCS on a regular basis for vaccinations, vet checks, weight checks and spay and neuter surgeries. Visits are made by appointment through the ease of an online scheduler. Those fostering medical animals are often expected to transport their animal to any Franky Fund Vet partners needed.
Do I need to keep foster animals separate from my pets?
As mentioned above there is a a two-week acclimation period during which you will need to keep the foster animal separate from your pets. The acclimation period is meant to give the new animal time to adjust to you and your family and new environment, and to prevent the spread of illnesses. It may seem complicated but trust us, it’s best for you, your pets and your foster!
Will BARCS treat my personal pet if he is injured or becomes sick because of a foster animal?
No. If your pet is injured or becomes sick as a result of fostering, you will need to take them to your veterinarian. We will inform you of all of the potential risks and how to minimize them. (If you have dogs at home we can facilitate a dog-meet-dog at the shelter in advance of taking foster dogs home. Our training and behavior resource team is always available to speak with fosters and will create specific plans for animals depending on the case.)
I love the idea of fostering, but I’m worried about how I’ll feel when it’s time for the animal find a “forever home.”
It can be difficult to let go once you have become emotionally attached to a foster animal. Be prepared for tears and some heartache when it comes time to send your foster off to their new home. But remember, foster care volunteers play a crucial part in helping unwanted animals get to permanent, loving homes they deserve.
What if I want to adopt the animal I’m fostering?
This can happen when foster parents fall in love with the animals. If you wish to adopt a foster animal, please contact the program coordinator to start the adoption conversation. Having available foster homes is crucial for saving lives, so we ask foster parents to consider how adopting a foster animal may affect their ability to continue fostering other animals in the future.
We are always in need of foster homes for bottle baby kittens, moms and newborn kittens, especially during the summer months! We welcome foster homes for our shelter dogs, animals who may have undergone surgery or need other medical care, or those with minor behavioral issues that can use some TLC. We additionally are in need of homes that can foster adult cats for our off-site adoption program. This requires fostering a cat for a minimum of two weeks prior to them being placed up for adoption at our off-site adoption center.