Foster FAQ

How long do animals need to stay in foster care?
The typical foster stay is two weeks to six weeks, depending on the needs of the individual animal(s) in your care. The time frame of each foster situation will be discussed with you ahead of time.
What kind of animals need foster care?
Puppies and kittens under two months, mothers with nursing litters, dogs or cats with medical conditions or injuries, and behavioral or medical special needs animals.
Can I become a foster volunteer if I have pets of my own?
Yes, we welcome pet owners as foster volunteers. Please keep in mind that there is always a health risk when exposing your pets to other animals in any setting. However, the risk is minimal if your pets are vaccinated and in good health.
What expenses are involved in foster care?
SFAHS provides the basic necessities to care for animals Foster families provide housing, exercise, socialization, and lots of love! SFAHS provides all medical care for the animals in foster homes, including vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, and medications.
What if my foster needs to go to the vet?
Vet care for foster animals is provided by our vet staff here at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society. If you take your foster animal to your own vet, but have not received approval to do this, you will be responsible for paying the bill. With limited funds, SFAHS must utilize our own staff whenever possible. See the Emergency Foster Contacts page if you have any issues.
What if my foster has a vet emergency?
We always want to make sure all of our animals get the very best medical care, especially in the case of an emergency. If your animal has an obvious and clear emergency (hit by a car, serious fight with an animal, ingestion of danger object) immediately contact the SFAHS humane officers at 605-254-4058 and inform them that you are a foster parent for a SFAHS animal and tell them what has happened. They will tell you where to take the animal and how to proceed. 

If you feel your foster is experiencing an emergency, but not sure what exactly, and it is during business hours please see the Emergency Foster Contacts page for who to contact.
What if my foster isn't working out?
SFAHS will make every effort to ensure a good and safe foster match. However, there are times that, even after an adjustment period, you just aren't meshing well. In this case, contact the foster coordinator via email or phone and explain the situation. The foster coordinator will work with you on how to proceed. SFAHS will always take the foster animal back if an issue cannot be resolved, however, we ask that you give us at least 24 hours to make a plan and line up another foster. SFAHS will never but the safety of the foster family, their own animals or the foster animal in jeopardy. 
Can I adopt my foster animal?
Yes, as long as it makes sense for you to do so and your application is approved by the front office staff. Many other foster families and staff have adopted their foster pets! Think through the decision carefully so that you are not deciding to keep the animal solely because it is too difficult to let him/her go. The first few foster experiences can be difficult, as you’ll get attached and may have trouble letting go. But remember, your role as a Foster person is invaluable! As an adopter, you may only be able to save one animal’s life, but as a foster parent, you have the potential to help dozens of animals. 
What if I have to leave town?
If you know you are leaving town before answering a call for foster animals, please do not accept the animals and let someone who may not be leaving town foster first. If it is unplanned or an emergency, please notify us as soon as you can so that we can make arrangements. The more advance time we have, the better! We cannot guarantee that the fosters will be returned to you when you come back to town, as we try to move animals as little as possible so they are not stressed.
Can I take my adult foster dog to the dog park?
Because adult dogs are typically in foster care due to not being socialized or for illness, we ask that you avoid the dog parks. If you feel strongly about the benefit of this for your foster, please contact the foster coordinator and have a discussion. Putting your foster dog in a situation that could bring danger to him or others is something every foster needs to think about carefully.
What if my pets get sick from my foster pet?
This can be a reality of fostering, but the most common illness spread is a URI (cats) or kennel cough (dogs). There are like human colds and animals typically recover quickly with medications. To prevent this, we strongly suggest that all your pets be current on their vaccinations, use flea/tick prevention. Dogs should receive bordatella as well, which is a vaccination for kennel cough. In order to prevent your pet from getting intestinal worms (which are passed through the animal's stool), you should pick up each dog's stool immediately and keep foster cat litter boxes separate from your own pets. Pets that are current on their vaccines usually have little to no problems with foster pets, and if problems do arise they are typically small and easily addressed. 
Can I name my foster animal?
In most cases, yes! Animals that are surrendered to the shelter may have names that they have known for years. In that case, we recommend against giving them a new name. Kittens, puppies or stray animals typically don't have an identification, so you can name them! We ask that you keep the names appropriate, family-friendly and try to be unique!
How will I receive my foster assignment?
The foster coordinator will email out to all of our fosters when we have animals that are in need, as well as posting in our Foster & Volunteer Group on our Facebook page, which you will be invited to join with a password once you have been approved!
Do I need to have prior medical knowledge or expertise?
No prior medical knowledge is required, but experience with giving pets medications is always a plus! For the most part, you will be bringing the fosters back to the shelter for any medications, unless they require daily meds. If this is so, the foster coordinator or vet staff will show you how to administer these.
How often does a foster animal need to be brought in for check-ups?
Foster families need to transport animals back to the shelter on a regular basis for vaccinations, vet checks, weight checks, and spay and neuter surgeries. Vaccination appointments and weigh-ins for kittens and puppies are scheduled every two weeks. 
What if I’m unavailable to foster an animal when you call?
We will simply call another foster family. We want to make sure you feel like you’ll be able to give the time needed, so we don’t pressure you into taking an animal. You can foster as little or as much as you want. If you can’t foster this time around, we’ll just call you the next time.
Will a foster animal have accidents or cause damage?
Foster animals, like any other companion animal in your home, may find that carpeting, drapes, clothing are fun toys; help redirect them to proper toys and polite play. Young animals are more likely to have accidents in the home based on their age. Preparing your home and the area the animals will stay in by removing valuable items and providing enrichment items (toys, climbing towers for cats, etc.) can prevent most accidents, but not all of them.
Will SFAHS treat my pet if they becoming sick because of a foster animal?
The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society is prohibited from giving veterinary care to privately owned animals. If your animal becomes sick or injured due to interactions with a SFAHS foster animal, you will be responsible for all medical care required, as agreed upon in your foster contract.
What if a friend or family member wants to adopt my foster animal?
Thank you for helping find homes for your foster animals. Please keep in mind, however, that the animals will not be available until their medical work, including spay or neuter surgery, is completed. Please refer interested adopters to the Apply to Adopt page to start the adoption process.
Can I foster cats if I'm pregnant?
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

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