Become a Foster
Do you want to help animals but don't have time to volunteer in a shelter? Foster volunteering might be right for you.
WHAT DO FOSTERS DO?
Through foster care, thousands of animals have received special care before getting a second chance at a forever home. So many of our animals need foster care before they are ready to find new homes, and this need continues to increase. Foster volunteers take responsibility for spending individualized time with these animals and providing a safe environment and loving home for them until they are able to go up for adoption. The most common animals that we are looking to temporarily place are pregnant cats and feline moms with babies.
In 2019, we have taken in an average
of 20 animals every single day
(as of July 23rd). Our staff works tirelessly to care for all of the incoming animals, but shelter space and resources are limited. Placing animals into foster care frees up much-needed cat and dog kennels and allows our facility to provide care and attention to new animals entering our system daily.
Foster care volunteers care for:
- Pregnant or nursing mothers
- Animals that are too young for adoption
- Animals who require supportive health care or post-surgery recovery
- Animals who need work with behavioral issues.
While you are fostering the SFAHS provides basic necessities for their care including food, litter for cats, kennels, food and water bowls, blankets, and medications if necessary. If needed, training and care instructions will be provided. Vet techs and kennel staff can also offer their help if needed. Fosters need to live with a 60-90 minute radius of Sioux Falls, with the understanding that they may need to bring the animal to SFAHS for any issues that arise and for vaccinations every 2 weeks.
The SFAHS foster program does not include fostering animals that are already available for adoption and is not a trial period for adoptions.
HOW DOES FOSTER CARE WORK?
When the SFAHS receives an animal that is not ready to be put up for adoption, we contact our fosters. There will be plenty of other opportunities to foster, so there is no pressure to take an animal when one is available.
Fosters come to the shelter to pick up the foster animal to take home. At this time, fosters will receive information about the animal's condition and needs, and then we will distribute care instructions, the appropriate supplies, and medications (if needed).
Fosters may need to bring the animal back to SFAHS periodically to be examined by our veterinarians, receive vaccinations or other treatment, or if issues arise.
Once the foster period is over, the foster returns the animal to the SFAHS, where the staff will complete the final steps necessary to prepare the animal for adoption.
Each year, more than 250 foster families, open up their homes, and share their love and lives with fosters from the SFAHS. They give hands-on care to the animals that need it most, assist in providing accurate personality descriptions, and provide support. SFAHS fosters have a deep understanding of the hard work and passion that goes into saving the lives of our rescued animals, helping us to create a better future for all animals.
- SFAHS provides information, supplies, and support for fosters, so no prior experience is required, though previous pet ownership is helpful in foster situations at times. Sometimes, becoming a foster can be a great way to see if you are ready for a pet, without a long-term commitment!
- Some animals may require extra special care and some, even with the highest level of caring may not thrive. Fostering can be a highly emotional and tough experience, but can also be unconditionally rewarding. We ask those who apply to be prepared when fostering, especially baby kittens or very sick or old animals, that it may end in heartache. The wins are more frequent than the losses, but it doesn't mean we miss them any less.
- Fosters will be given an approximate timeline of how long an animal will be with them, but understanding this may be more or less depending on the progression of the animal's needs.
- We appreciate each and every foster for the support and life-saving care they give to our animals.
Check out our Foster FAQ
Page for more details.
Fostering is an immensely rewarding experience, and it changes animals' lives in a very direct way. Your act of kindness is repaid in rewards that are beyond words.
If you are interested in becoming a foster, please download the application and submit it to the shelter by dropping it off or emailing it! After your application has been received and approved, you'll be contacted by email or phone by our foster coordinator.
*Most applications are approved within just a few days, depending on the coordinator's availability and the application in question. Foster application must be filled out fully and thoughtfully. Your application may be denied for reasons including, but not limited to, skipping any required information, if your application is found to contain false information, or if you are not a good fit for the foster program at this time.
If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or recently had a baby and wish to foster cats, please talk to your doctor first due to the risk of toxoplasmosis. See link for more information on toxoplasmosis https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951451