Foster Care Volunteering
Be a Foster Volunteer and Help a Pet in Need.
Heart of the Valley frequently needs dedicated volunteers to be foster parents for a variety of reasons. Imagine the joy of helping a pet recover from an injury only to return to the shelter to find their forever home. Cats, kittens, dogs and puppies are included in the program. It is a life saving and a life changing program.
Below are some of the commonly asked questions:
What is a foster parent?
A volunteer foster parent provides the consistency that a dedicated primary caregiver can give in-home in a quiet, enriched, low-stress setting. A foster parent assists in providing the animal more opportunities for socialization, exploration, and expressing a wide range of normal behaviors. A foster parent also provides time to build active immunity in those animals that are susceptible such as kittens, puppies, even some adults. An animal may need a foster home for a variety of reasons including age, illness, injuries, or socialization.
How long is the foster care commitment?
The length of foster care for each animal varies depending on its needs, but we ask volunteers to be prepared for a minimum commitment of two weeks for a foster guest. We are striving to increase our network of committed foster families and appreciate the willingness to foster multiple times over the course of 6 months to a year, dependent on your situation and the needs of shelter animals (ie: fostering more than one litter of kittens over the course of kitten season).
What are the expenses for a foster parent?
Heart of the Valley will supply all needed food, litter, and other supplies if a foster is unable to purchase these things. We do not require foster parents to purchase supplies but graciously accept the purchase of such as donations. The cost for us to care for animals averages out to about $450 per animal. We are a non-profit and thus anything a foster parent can provide for our foster pet helps.
What are the requirements for foster parents?
Prospective foster parents complete an online application. If you have not been contacted within one week of submitting your application, please follow up with us. Foster volunteers must attend a Foster Volunteer Orientation. Dog foster volunteers will need to work with shelter staff to complete training specific to the needs of the animal they are fostering. Home inspections may be conducted for a new foster home.
Things to consider:
Are you at least 18 years of age? Though we encourage children to be a big part of the fostering experience, adults are required to be the primary caregivers of the foster animals in the home.
If you have animals at home, they may be subjected to disease from the foster pet. Make sure your animals are up to date on their vaccinations. Vaccinations should be completed at least 14 days before you bring home a foster to allow the vaccine to be fully effective.
When outside, puppies and dogs must be supervised and in an enclosed yard or be on a leash. Additionally, foster dogs are not allowed to visit off-leash dog parks. While these parks can be fun for some dogs, there are far too many unknowns for it to be a safe and healthy experience for a foster dog. Diseases are easily transmitted and the temperaments of visiting dogs are unknown thus creating liability for Heart of the Valley. Kittens and cats must be kept indoors at all times.
To support our foster volunteers, we will answer any and all questions on the care of the animals and can provide assistance with in-home behavior training.
For more information, please contact Katie Grudecki, Animal Services Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 388-9399 ext 204.