So you want to be a Foster Hero?
Next to owning an animal, there is nothing more enjoyable or rewarding than fostering. Even if you have a pet or two at home, you might be able to fit in a temporary tenant. Knowing that you've helped an animal through a difficult time in their lives and prepared them for their new forever is incredibly fulfilling. But fostering can be a daunting idea for a lot of people, so we have written a list of things commonly asked questions about fostering for you below. Still have questions? Feel free to get in touch.
*We love Foster Parents but so do other rescue organisations, so if you are currently fostering for other rescues, please stick with them rather than contacting us - they need you too!
Unsure if you're the fostering kind?
There is no perfect profile of a foster family, but there are some things you should know before volunteering to foster.
What types of fostering are there?
We need foster parents for puppies and dogs - some may need medical care, some may need basic training, some may need long term care, and some dogs will only need short term or emergency placement for a few days.
BUT: It doesn't mean you have to be able to foster all types; you might just want to take on only the emergency placement cases for example. Foster parents are needed in all categories.
What is the criteria for becoming a foster parent?
Our foster parents need to have secure dog proof fencing so that our Poundies are safe and contained at all times. If you don't own your property, you will also need written consent from your landlord allowing you to foster dogs. We also require that you allow our Poundies into your home (this includes to sleep) so they can learn to be a part of the family.
We prefer foster homes in the Hamilton or Waipa District areas - this is so we can easily coordinate trips to the vet, meet and greets and generally make sure we can be nice and close should you need help with anything. We also ask that you be willing to commit to keeping your foster kid (if possible) till they can find their forever home (of course, if it's not working out, we'll be there asap) and that there are less than two dogs on the property already (council requires a special permit for more than two dogs in a residential area).
Aside from that, you just need time to spare, love to spare and some good basic dog care experience. We will provide a handbook with lots of information, plus we will be on hand to offer advice along the way.
PLEASE NOTE: All our foster applications are subject to a clearance check with local Animal Control. We do not condone chaining or tethering of our Poundies, and only use force free training methods. We also require our foster homes to have secure, dog proof fencing around their property (most of our kids have been found wandering so secure fencing is a must)
But what about all the work foster dogs need...?
You may be asked to work with a dog on some basic training, that's true. There's more to fostering than just feeding, exercise and grooming. Some Poundies will need some form of house training. Others may have issues with chewing or jumping up. Foster parents may need to devote time to encouraging and teaching good behaviours so a dog can have a better chance at adoption.
BUT: We've got your back! We have a team of experienced dog trainers as part of the Pound Hounds family and we will be there to support you with this, right from the beginning - whether it be with a small house training issue or by bringing your Poundie along to one of our basic training classes.
What about the sick ones?
You might be asked to nurse a dog or puppy back to health. It could require giving them medication at certain times of the day or perhaps bathing them periodically with a special shampoo. Training on provided.
BUT: if you're not comfortable with giving medications, that is absolutely fine, you just need to let us know in advance so we can either do it for you or find another foster parent for that particular Poundie.
But I'll get too attached and I wont want to let it go...
For many foster parents, their biggest concern is falling in love. We hear ya! Happens to us on a daily basis. After all, they're so cute/sweet/sad/lonely, you just want to take them all home... and really, what's another dog in the household... If you want to adopt your foster dog, no worries (you will be subject to our adoption criteria of course).
BUT: We do try to remind people (and ourselves!) that by fostering a dog and sending it on to its new forever home (as hard as it may be at the time), you have saved two lives, the life of the dog you have just fostered and the life of another dog that is still in the pound, waiting for it's chance to get out. That's what makes our foster parents, foster heros.
I Have An Elderly Dog Already, Should I Foster?
If you'd like to foster but already have an elderly canine member of the family, we'd recommend that you only foster elderly dogs or wait to foster. Having a strange dog come into their home can be very stressful for older dogs and the sure as custard don't want a puppy jumping all over them in their twilight years!
As with all our foster homes, we would always do an introduction first between any potential foster Poundie and the resident dog, just to make sure everyone is happy.
Foster Parents are the best - no doubt!
We are incredibly fortunate in Cambridge and Te Awamutu to have excellent Animal Control Officers who do their best to rehome as many dogs as they can, on top of their normal duties. Unfortunately though, the reality is, many pounds are continually in need of more room for incoming animals, which sadly means that some dogs might have to be euthanased. This is where Pound Hounds Rescue and our Foster Parents come in! Because of our Foster Parents we are able to get these Poundies out of the pound and into a temporary home, where they can rest and recuperate before they are adopted and head off to their forever homes - we couldn't save the Poundies without you Foster Legends!
Why are foster homes such a big deal for the dogs?
Even a little time with a family, away from the confined space of a kennel and the continual stress of the pound can improve a dog's disposition.The pound is a stressful place for a dog. The dogs are scared, their owner is gone, they're surrounded by strange dogs and people, it's loud, some dogs have been mistreated or abandoned and none of them have any idea what is going on - it would freak anyone out! We have seen it time and again how getting a dog out of the pound and into a home can turn the most anxious, stressed out dog into a relaxed and happy dog, and this of course makes it much easier to get them adopted.
But it will cost me a fortune to foster!! I cant afford to pay for another animal...
What's the financial commitment for Foster Parents? We will provide EVERYTHING you need to foster the dog, from vet visits to bedding, crates (for confinement indoors), leashes and food. Of course, if you already have items that you would be willing to use or provide, we're fine with that too!
I think I'm interested in becoming a Foster Parent...What now?
If all the above information hasn't scared you off, that's great! Next step is to fill in the form below to register your interest. Once we receive your form, we will give you a call and have a chat. Once you're an approved Pound Hounds Foster Parent, you will have ongoing support and training from us if you need it. We cant save the Poundies without you, so we'll support you as much as we can.
But fostering takes up sooooo much of my time! How can I have a life?
It can do, but not much more than your own pet would take. You may be asked to foster a dog that may take from two weeks to a few months to find their forever home, depending on circumstances. Foster parents don't need to be home 24 hours a day, but you would need to plan ahead for that weekend away or family holiday if you're asked to take care of a dog for a while.
BUT: We have emergency foster parents on hand, so as long as you give us plenty of notice we should have time to find another temporary foster home for while you are away.
When you complete an application form we collect personal information from you, including information about your name and contact information. We collect your personal information in order to be able to complete the necessary background checks and contact you regarding your application. Besides our staff, we share this information with Animal Control in order to perform background checks on applicants.
Providing some information is optional. If you choose not to enter your name and contact details, or answer the questions provided within the application fully we'll be unable to accept your application. We keep your information safe by storing it in a secure database and only allowing top level staff who deal with applications access to it.
You have the right to ask for a copy of any personal information we hold about you, and to ask for it to be corrected if you think it is wrong. If you’d like to ask for a copy of your information, or to have it corrected, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.