Our Fosters are the Heart of Our Organization
How to Become a Short-Term Foster Parent
Our short-term fosters are the heart of Rescued Pets Movement. We need to secure foster homes for EVERY homeless animal we save from BARC (Houston’s City Pound) and other area shelters. As a foster, you will be the first stop on that animal’s journey to a loving forever home. Foster families give temporary shelter, food, care, and love to the animals we save from Houston’s shelters. Our work would not be possible without a strong network of loving temporary foster families who are willing to give their time, love, and care to the homeless animals we rescue and bring into our program.
Did You Know?
Fostering with RPM is different from a traditional rescue organization. The key word in RPM’s foster program is temporary. All animals that enter RPM’s Rescue and Transport Program already have one of Rescue Partners in another State committed and ready to take them. Many already have forever homes waiting for them. While there can be delays due to the health of your foster pet or unforeseen circumstances, we work very hard to make sure that our dogs and cats get on the road and off to their new lives as quickly as possible. We make every effort to work with your schedule and needs, because even if you can foster for only one night, that’s one night a dog or cat (or a family) won’t be sitting at a shelter. Consider this… That one night can make the difference in our ability to save them from that day’s euthanasia list.
Foster FAQ: Things to know before you apply to be a Foster
Upon approval of your foster application, we will assign a foster mentor to you and designate your first foster based on your preferences (dog/cat, puppy/kitten, etc.) , including their planned transport date. We will invite you to become part of our Foster Family group on Facebook and will provide additional resources, such as this video to help you become a successful foster parent. Please take a quick moment to watch it and learn more about us.
One important thing to remember is that once you are in our foster program, you are not alone – we are all in this together! Your heart is filled with love for animals and our mission is to help you succeed! We need you and the animals need you!
When you decide to foster a homeless pet, we will give you an approximate length of time we expect the pet to stay with you. That time can vary, depending upon a variety of factors – sometimes it is as short as a day or two, but it’s typically 1-2 weeks for dogs/puppies and 2-3 weeks for cats/kittens and can be a little longer during the summer months which is the height of “kitten season.”
Veterinary Care & Illness Prevention
Your foster pet will typically come to you directly from Houston’s City Pound (BARC) or another area shelter. BARC and our shelter partners will have provided an initial exam for your foster pet, however, all animals entering our program also need an “intake appointment” at RPM’s clinic within 72 hours of leaving the shelter. At this appointment, we will give your foster pet a thorough exam and also give it any additional vetting. Sometimes your foster – especially if it is a puppy or kitten or has a medical condition – may need a follow up appointment for a check-up and it’s always possible that a new medical condition may arise that requires you to bring your foster pet to RPM’s clinic. For example, if your foster needs deworming or a required vaccine booster. You will be informed of any upcoming needs for your particular foster prior to their transport.
If you are fostering puppies or kittens, please note these youngsters may not have had all their booster shots. This puts them at risk for viruses such as parvo, distemper and panleuk. If your personal pets are up to date on their vaccinations, there should be no risk to them. Nonetheless, we recommend you keep puppies or kittens separated from your personal pets.
Also, because your foster puppy may be too young to have received all its booster shots, please do not take your foster puppy onto grass surfaces including the yard, dog parks, pet supply stores, or any other place frequented by other dogs. Many deadly diseases like parvo live in the ground and we do not want your foster puppy to catch anything. If you feel your RPM foster requires immediate veterinary attention, you will be provided an RPM hotline number in order to contact an RPM representative for immediate help. If your foster puppy or kitten breaks with a potential illness or otherwise becomes lethargic, refuses to eat, throws up, or has diarrhea, please contact us IMMEDIATELY. It is very important that you contact RPM as soon as any symptoms arise or you feel there is an emergency situation.
While temperament tests are given to all medium and large breed dogs , keep in mind that the homeless animals we save have been through so much. Many have lived on the streets or had very hard lives. We always want to set them up for success and it takes time to get to know each dog as an individual. We ask that you never leave your foster dog unattended with your own pets. Always watch treats and toys until you know as sometimes foster dogs can be possessive of their toys and treats after not having any of their own. NEVER take your foster dog to an off-leash dog park.
Because we are a non-profit, we have to be mindful of our budget and operating expenses.Therefore, we require that all veterinary expenses be pre-approved by an RPM representative. If approved, we will ask you to always use our veterinary partners to help keep our costs at a minimum. RPM will cover all authorized veterinary costs.
Can I Keep My Foster?
We are grateful that our foster parents love these at-risk, homeless animals so much! After all, they need and deserve that love after all they’ve been through! However, because our rescue partners in other states begin making plans for these pets the moment they commit to them — and it’s this commitment that allows us to rescue the animal from the shelter in the first place, foster animals are not allowed to be adopted. Consider that our rescue partners put so much work into planning for the pets they’ve committed to with RPM and they count on them to arrive as we’ve promised. Many times, the animals in our program are pre-adopted and already have families waiting for them! Our rescue partners have been carefully vetted and are true professionals in what they do, so we do not want to disappoint them. They are a big reason that RPM has been able to save so many lives!.
RPM provides medical care and transport for hundreds of animals each week, so it’s important that the process runs smoothly. We work within strict transport timelines, which means plans need to be in place to keep the focus on saving the lives of more homeless animals each and every day. Please read the foster application carefully and send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to Expect on Transport Day
You will receive an email with everything you need to know about transport. It’s just like a school drop off, but you are sending your fosters to their forever family! It can be an emotional experience, but please remember YOU SAVED THEIR LIVES by offering your home to them for a short time. They are safe and they will forever be happy because of YOU!
How to Follow Their Journey
RPM will provide you with the name of the rescue partner that your foster is going to and so you can follow them on social media and their websites. You can also email email@example.com updates, but we kindly ask that you not contact our rescue partners directly. Due to the volume of animals we transport, the follow-up requests to our rescue partners can quickly become overwhelming. They have asked us to ask our fosters to respect their processes. .
Don’t forget that Houston area shelters are FILLED with dogs and cats just like them that need you to survive the shelter experience, so there is nothing better to fill your empty home (and your heart!!) with another foster! In fact, you can pick up another foster the very same day you drop one off for transport! From our experience, it’s the very best way to soothe your soul. And, we promise it gets easier (and so motivating) as you play this critical role to save more lives!
What else should I keep in mind as I foster?
- In addition to our expert staff, we have a Facebook page of fosters just like you that provide support and information on the process!
- We have a toolkit of resources available to you – you’ll be a foster parent pro in no time at all!
- We suggest keeping a spreadsheet of their foster families with pictures to keep track of their success stories! Over time, it’s so rewarding to see how many lives you have helped to save!
Why I Foster…
“Because looking away from the problem doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. It’s hard to see pups suffering, but it’s even harder to sit back and not do anything about it.“
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Rescued Pets Movement
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