Frequently Asked Questions About Fostering
How long are pets in foster homes?
It completely depends on the pet and the situation. The average stay in a foster home is about 2 months, but it can be as little as 2 weeks. Obviously, other factors, including those fosters recovering from an injury/HW+, certain breeds, and senior dogs, may stay longer.
Can I, a member of my family, or a friend adopt my foster dog?
YES, as long as they meet our requirements for adoption. The pet must also be listed on Adopt A Pet, spayed/neutered, and have attended at least one adoption event before they can be adopted. Also, we require the foster to be in our care a minimum of 7 days before any adoption will be considered.
How are foster pets promoted?
Photos of our adoptable pets in foster homes are posted on our website, the Adopt A Pet website, and on the CARA Facebook page for public viewing. Foster pets are also promoted at PetSmart adoption events (in Gonzales) and special events. Foster parents can also help promote their foster pet to their family, friends, colleagues, and the general public through a variety of means including flyers, emails, and even just by socializing your foster dog by "walking" in local pet stores with an "Adopt Me" bandana around their neck.
What is the process for adopting a foster?
Potential adopters are required to submit an adoption application for review. Applications can be found at PetSmart Adoption events or on CARA's closed Facebook page. Once approved by foster and a CARA officer, meet and greets with the foster pets can be scheduled with qualified applicants. The adoption is approved or rejected by a CARA officer or one of our Foster Coordinators. Final approval of all adoptions is at the sole discretion of the CARA officers. Once approved, the adopter pays adoption fees ($150/ dogs or puppies, $100/kittens, and $70/adult cat) to CARA's House and the foster pet then goes to its new forever home. Copies are made of all veterinarian/medical records and adoption forms and given to the adopter. CARA's House keeps originals.
I live in an apartment, can I foster?
Yes, you can still foster if you live in an apartment. Many of our pets need one-on-one socialization, so a small space can be beneficial. However, it is important that you select an appropriate pet for your lifestyle and are willing to commit to providing your foster with the needed physical and mental stimulation. And, of course, you need landlord approval.
What if I have children?
Fostering is a wonderful family experience. It's important to select a pet that is "age" appropriate for your children. As a general rule, children under 13 years old should NOT be left alone and unsupervised with any foster pet. You must also be diligent about providing guidance, instructions, and rules to your children about caring for fostered animals.
I don't have a yard, or it's not fenced, can I foster puppies/dogs?
Yes! A yard is nice to have for those early morning or late night potty breaks and for a game of ball, but it is not a requirement for all fosters. However, the foster puppies/dogs must be on a leash at ALL times when outside and never allowed to be left unattended in a yard.
If I have my own animals, can I still foster?
Yes, your own animals must be spayed/neutered, and keep in mind that it is always a health risk to expose your animal to other animals, whether walking at parks or sitting in vet waiting rooms or other common animal areas. The health risk is minimal if your animals are current on their vaccinations, maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, are not elderly or very young, and do not socialize with the foster animal for 7 days. If you or someone in your household is immune compromised, consult your doctor before fostering since working or living with animals exposes humans to a group of diseases called zoonoses. A zoonotic disease (there are about 200) is defined as a disease transmitted from animals to humans and also from humans to animals. To find out more about zoonoses, talk to your doctor and/or veterinarian. Proper hygiene, preventative measures, and an understanding of these illnesses can reduce the risk of disease.
What supplies are needed to foster?
Foster parents provide food, space, basic training, exercise, and love for the pet. CARA's House provides you with all the other supplies and equipment needed throughout your foster experience (as requested). In special cases food can be supplied.
Do I have to crate-train my foster pet?
No, but it is one of the most efficient and effective ways to house train a puppy or retrain an adult dog. Some dogs do not like crates, and most dogs need to be transitioned or "trained" to use a crate, so it's up to the foster parent to decide whether to crate. Putting the dog in a crate while you are gone will give you peace of mind and ensure that the foster pet is in a safe place, away from harm, and not doing any damage to your belongings or themselves. For many dogs, a crate can also represent a safe and comfortable place to call their own and provide them with a sense of security. Dogs actually like having a "den" to cuddle up in. Crating should never be used as punishment.
Do I need to have prior medical knowledge or expertise?
No, but you may be asked to dispense medicine to your foster pet so you will have to be comfortable following veterinarian's instructions if fostering a sick or injured pet. If you need assistance, a CARA's House medic can always instruct.
What if my foster becomes sick or is injured?
Call CARA's House first! All veterinary costs are normally paid by our organization. Foster parents can call Animal Care Center of Gonzales at (225) 644-4411 or a CARA officer can authorize a vet visit or advise you. Do not take a pet to an unauthorized veterinarian unless you are prepared to pay for veterinarian expenses yourself. Please keep in mind that after-hour and emergency vet hospitals can charge exorbitant amounts. CARA uses only Animal Care Center of Gonzales to keep our costs at a minimum.
Can I return my foster if I am unable to foster any longer?
We prefer that foster parents continue to foster until we find a permanent home for their foster pet; however, we understand that situations change and it may become necessary to discontinue fostering.
We request that a foster parent provide as much notice as possible (72 hours) so that we can find an alternative foster home. Of course, in an emergency, a foster parent may always bring their pet to the Animal Care Center of Gonzales.
Are foster pets ever euthanized?
Much energy, love, time, and vet care is devoted to our foster pets, and we are committed to finding homes for ALL the adoptable pets in our care. Some pets are in foster care because they are seriously ill or injured. If, after medical attention, these pets are too young or too weak to heal and are suffering, then one of the CARA's House vets will humanely euthanize these animals. Fortunately, most pets in foster care heal beautifully. On rare occasions, a pet in foster care may start to exhibit potentially dangerous behavior that was unknown or suppressed prior to rescue. CARA's House may determine that this pet is too dangerous to be adopted and will humanely euthanize the animal or seek an alternative facility for its care. Your safety is our #1 priority. You must always inform the CARA officers or your foster coordinators if your foster animal exhibits any aggressive behavior.