About the Program
The Foster Care Program places orphaned, pregnant, newborn, injured, sick, and under-socialized animals into private homes for temporary housing. Some of the shelter’s most vulnerable residents benefit tremendously from foster care opportunities, which provide them with time outside of the shelter for recovery from an illness or injury or to receive extra attention and socialization. Foster care can also give an opportunity to learn more about the animals in our care by giving us a glimpse into how they behave in a house setting or with a transition into a home environment (as they will experience upon adoption). Lastly, our foster care program allows us to help more animals then we have room to house in our brick and mortar facility.
Though we are happy to provide our foster families with resources (food, blankets, carriers, toys, litter box, etc.), we encourage our foster family volunteers to support our efforts by purchasing food and/or litter on their own. This helps HSCC offset the costs of the nearly 1,000 animals we care for each year “in house”.
Foster programs & Services available
There are a number of ways in which our foster families can help animals in HSCC’s care. By understanding what is required of our foster families for each program, we can best match our foster families with animals in our care. Here is a brief description of each of our foster programs.
Kitten/Puppy Foster – This is the largest of our foster care programs. A shelter is no place for an immune compromised kitten or puppy! Not only are puppies and kittens much more apt to get sick in a shelter setting than adult animals, they miss out on a critical socialization period if they are housed in a shelter setting with limited human contact. It is for these reasons that we ultimately have the goal of fostering all kittens/ puppies until they are ready for adoption. Generally speaking, our foster parents care for either a puppy or a litter of kittens (sometimes with a mother cat, sometimes orphaned kittens) until they are big enough to be spayed/neutered and adopted. This generally happens around 8-12 weeks old and can vary in commitment time depending on the individual animal’s age and health status.
Small Animal Foster- This program was developed due to an overall lack of space for small animals at HSCC. Since we can only take in an extremely limited number of “smallies” and there is always a long waiting list of smallies that need to be relinquished, we have developed our small animal foster program to help fill some of the gaps. We encourage our foster parents in this program to provide all supplies needed to care for our smallies, but we can help supplement if necessary. The time commitment for this type of foster can vary from 2 weeks to 2 months depending on how quickly the small animals in the shelter get adopted (thus freeing up space).
Medical Care Foster ( cats/dogs) – This is a program developed specifically for animals we anticipate being long(er) term residents due to a previously untreated medical condition. The goal of this program is to provide long term medical cases an opportunity for time outside of the shelter where they are much more apt to heal quickly! These animals do not require their foster families to have any specific medical background, but they are often on daily medications . The commitment time can vary from 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the health status of the individual animals and how quickly they respond to treatment.
Cruelty Case Foster - Through our humane investigation program, sometimes we are responsible for temporarily and confidentially housing animals during the court proceedings. Because this process can take several months, we have an unique foster program set up to house these animals outside of the shelter for this time. This is often requires an open ended time commitment because we never know exactly how long the court proceedings will take. Thankfully It is not often that we have this type of foster need, but we are thankful for our community’s support when we do.
Feral Kitten Foster (kittens only) - This program is one of our most challenging yet most rewarding. It is currently limited to socializing feral kittens. It can take anywhere from 2 days to several weeks to socialize feral kittens depending on many factors. 1) How much human contact they have been exposed to and 2) how old they are at the time of admission to HSCC. The younger the kitten is, the faster they will socialize. HSCC provides any guidance/training necessary to set up our foster families for success!
Good Neighbor Program Foster - The Good Neighbor Program is a service we offer in partnership with homeless, domestic violence, and other local human service organizations. Designed to provide temporary shelter, free of charge, for beloved pets during times of crisis and transition in the lives of their owners, the program includes veterinary care, absolute confidentiality, and an assurance of exceptional care. The program typically runs for 2-4 weeks, after which the animals are returned to their owners if the time of crisis or emergency has resolved. On occasion, an owner will decide to relinquish their pet at the conclusion of the program. Fostering these animals outside of the shelter provides them with a better quality of life during their time in HSCC’s care. This program is completely confidential.