Become a Foster Parent

Our fosters are the heart of our organization. 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. Without a strong network of loving foster families who are willing to give their time, money, and care, our work would be impossible.

We want to secure temporary foster homes for every pet we save from BARC (Houston’s City Pound) and the other area shelters we help. The key word in RPM’s foster program is temporary. We do our best to ensure that our dogs and cats do not stay in your home longer than the original duration asked of you because we’re committed to moving them to their new destinations. We will work around your schedule and needs, because even if you can foster for only one night, that’s one night a dog or cat won't be in a shelter.

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Things to Know Before You Apply to Be a Foster

    1. Your foster pet will typically come to you immediately from Houston’s City Pound (BARC). BARC will have provided vetting for your foster. However, it is possible that your foster pet may need to take a trip to RPM’s veterinarian if something comes up: for example, if your foster needs additional deworming). If you feel your RPM foster requires veterinary attention, you will be provided an RPM hotline number in order to contact an RPM representative for immediate help. It is very important that you contact RPM as soon as your foster’s symptoms arise.
    2. When you decide to foster a 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, but it could be up to two weeks. RPM’s protocol is to hold puppies for at least 10 days before placing them on transport, although some puppies have been at BARC long enough or are old enough that we may shorten the quarantine period.
    3. 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 or distemper. 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. If your foster puppy or kitten breaks out with a potential illness or otherwise becomes lethargic, refuses to eat, throws up, or has diarrhea, please contact us IMMEDIATELY.
    4. Because your puppy may be too young to have received all their booster shots, please do not take your foster puppy to dog parks, pet supply stores, or any other place frequented by other dogs. We do not want them to catch anything. The same goes for your foster kitten. Try to keep them isolated from other cats especially if you do not know if they are up to date on their vaccinations.
    5. All veterinary expenses must be preapproved by an RPM representative, and 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.
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