How Does Fostering Work?
An ICAN representative will evaluate the animal to determine its individual care requirements. The foster care volunteer who is best suited to care for that particular animal is contacted.
The foster volunteer will work closely with an ICAN representative from that point forward. We will be available to answer your calls and help make the transition as smooth as possible.
The animal will normally remain in the assigned foster home until he/she is ready for adoption. In some cases, due to long-term care needs, we may arrange for foster home rotation. We also arrange for an ICAN representative to come by and assess the animal in your home from time to time. Foster care volunteers may be asked to make the animal available for adoption events periodically, and also to show the animal to interested adopters.
If a foster care volunteer wishes to adopt the animal they have been fostering, they must complete the application process and will be subject to the same adoption policies and procedures as the general public.
When it is time for your fosters to move to their new permanent homes, you will realize what a precious and worthwhile gift you have given, to both the animal and his/her new family. A loving and responsible foster home provides nurturing and training that is essential to any animals well-being.
Becoming a Foster Care Volunteer
To become a foster care volunteer you will first complete and submit an application. You will also meet with an ICAN representative for a one-on-one interview. We check all references and make a home visit to you. Once approved, we can offer you foster orientation to make sure that you are comfortable with the animal, the fostering process and to explain our program, goals, and basic care of this certain animal.
If you are fostering a dog, it would be a great bonus if you would teach some basic commands and obedience training to the dog. Only positive reinforcement training is acceptable! Things such as sit, stay and having the dog walk on a lead will ensure a better transition into her new home. It is also important to socialize with other dogs, people and surroundings. You may also need to look for fear or aggression triggers and if necessary, have the dog toilet trained.
Some of these animals have had rough experiences, and need time, understanding and love to learn to trust and enjoy human company again. Some of them need time to heal from injuries or illnesses. Foster homes provide the nurturing environment, affection, and shelter to let these animals recover and ICAN the time to find them responsible new homes.
Many factors need to be considered. The age of the animal, how long you have him, his history, and how much time you can spare each day. If there is any time that you do not feel comfortable having this animal in your home, it is essential that you contact ICAN immediately.
Some animals take longer to find homes than others. If you find that you are unable to continue fostering, we do need prior notice so we can make other arrangements. Under no circumstances should the animal be taken to another shelter, given to any other organization, or placed in the care of another household. If having the foster animal becomes a nuisance or a detriment to anyone, please advise ICAN immediately and an ICAN representative will come and collect the animal. Hopefully you will be open to fostering another animal for us in the future.
Things to Consider
There are a number of things you should consider and discuss with the rest of your family prior to submitting an application to foster with ICAN:
Will you have enough time to spend with your foster animal? Most of the animals needing foster care will be in great need of quality time and TLC. Socializing is very important, especially with young animals. The more time spent with your foster animal, the better the chance for a successful and permanent adoption to a forever home.
Do you have pets of your own? Very young animals have limited immunity and are more susceptible to possible infections carried by older animals. Introduction of your foster animal to your present family members (4 legged and 2 legged) should be done with care and caution in mind. Most animals do warm up to each other eventually with the correct introduction. We would love it if you would consider your foster pet a member of the family.
Do you have the time to clean up after your foster animal? Young animals are usually doing one of four things: Eating, Sleeping, Playing, or answering natures calls. Keeping the animals and their quarters clean is essential, and will help prevent illness and stress.
Will you be able to keep a close watch on the foster animal’s health? Can you cope with the possibility that the animal you are fostering may become ill? It will be your responsibility to monitor and report any concerns or signs of illness to ICAN immediately, so an ICAN representative can decide the best course of action. If it is determined that your foster animal needs veterinary attention, ICAN will make the appointment and take the animal into the vet if you are unable to do so. ICAN will pay for all veterinary services that have been approved in advance by an appropriate ICAN representative. Please do not take your foster animal to the vet without prior notice to ICAN.
Will you be able to keep your foster cat or kitten indoors? If fostering a cat or kitten, it is imperative that this animal not be let outside, unless prior arrangements have been made with an ICAN representative, or unless you have a safe, outdoor enclosure that the animal can be let out into.
Will you be emotionally able to return the animal to ICAN or to a new home? It is very easy to become attached to your foster animal. The first few times, letting go can be emotional, but it does get easier over time and you can take comfort knowing that you have made a huge difference in this animal’s life. The more you foster, the more lives you help us save. When it comes to the adoption process, ICAN has a careful screening process, and gives weight to any input foster guardians would like to give. We also adopt only to people who agree up front that an ICAN volunteer may either arrange to visit an animal in its new home, or deliver the pet to the home.
What is provided? You will provide care, compassion, love and room in your home. ICAN will provide quality food, litter, litter box, beds, leashes, bowls and toys. Some foster homes go so far as to offer to purchase these items themselves, which is definitely appreciated, but not necessary. ICAN covers the costs of all veterinary care and will be the ones to take the animal to the vet appointment if you are unable to do so. All vet appointments must be made by an ICAN representative. In applicable situations,ICAN will have the animal tested for communicable diseases to ensure animals currently in your household are not at risk.
If you feel you are not quite ready to become a foster care volunteer but would like to help support our program, please let us know.