Dog Foster Program
What is a Foster Home?
A foster home is an extension of a shelter’s lifesaving capacity made possible through partnerships with the public. Through fostering, members of the public provide temporary shelter, care, and love for pets in need and serve as their bridge to a forever home.
Fostering saves lives! Shelters have limited capacity for housing animals, the number of lives they save sometimes depends on the number of fosters willing to open their homes to a dog.
In addition to increasing a shelter’s lifesaving capacity, fostering improves the quality of life for each homeless pet. A home environment transforms pets for the better, significantly improving their mental and physical wellbeing. Put simply, fostering saves lives and makes those lives better.
Fostering can be an important step on a pet’s journey to their forever home. Fostering provides pets with the best environment for their wellbeing while waiting for an adopter and allows the dog to practice forming bonds with humans and potentially other animals. Fostering also provides pets with the best possible advocate for their adoption - their foster parent.
What Are the Benefits of Fostering?
Being a foster has rewards beyond helping an animal..
- Experience an animal companion without a lifetime commitment—puppies are wonderful, but do you really want a year of puppiness?
- Provide your resident pet with socialization and a great temporary companion.
- Want an exercise buddy? Foster an active dog who could really benefit from frequent walking or running outings!
- Experience the special feeling of helping a dog recover from an illness or injury or decompress from the stress of the shelter environment.
It’s incredibly rewarding to care for these four-legged friends that need our help. But above all, you get the joy of knowing that you have saved a life!
What are the Responsibilities of Fostering?
Beyond providing plenty of love, foster homes are generally responsible for:
- Providing a safe, clean, and caring environment
- Providing shelter, food, water, and toys/enrichment
- Providing exercise, basic training, and socialization, as appropriate
- Monitoring any medical and/or behavioral issues and working with our medical and/or program teams, as needed, to provide the best care possible for the dog
- Picking up their foster dog (typically from OCAS)
- Transporting their foster dog to and from OCAS for medical appointments, meet and greets, etc. and to and from adoption events as necessary; and working with anyone who is taking custody of their foster dog (a sitter, a new foster, or an adopter) on transporting the foster dog to them
- Actively marketing their foster dog for adoption
- Meeting with potential adopters; being responsive and courteous towards potential adopters; and following our adoption protocols (transportation to and from adoption and exposure events may also be necessary)
- Carefully reviewing all of OCAS’s dog foster communications and resources, including this handbook, and abiding by the rules and responsibilities set forth therein
How does OCAS Support fosters?
OCAS Provides dog foster parents with:
- Certain supplies like collars, leashes, and crates (as available)
- Assistance with caring for your foster dog, including behavior and medical support
- All medical care for your foster dog, as deemed appropriate by our medical team
- Assistance with marketing your foster dog for adoption and interacting with potential adopters
- Educational resources and opportunities
- Responsive communication
- New foster parent Training
What Types of Dogs Need a Foster Home?
Any dog that has not found a forever home may be a candidate for our foster program. Special breeds and young, fluffy cuties get adopted quickly, so we have the most foster need for pregnant dogs, moms with newborns, orphaned puppies, parvo survivors, senior dogs, dogs needing medical care, dogs needing more active behavior management, dogs needing a break from the shelter, and dogs at risk when the shelter is full. Basically, foster care is for all homeless dogs, especially those that need a little extra TLC!