Fostering a shelter pet is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. By taking an animal in need temporarily into your home you’re:

  • Freeing up a spot in the shelter for another animal.
  • Giving your foster the time he needs to be ready for adoption.
  • Helping APS learn more about the foster so he can end up in the best home possible.
  • Socializing the foster to a home environment and possibly getting him used to being around other pets and different types of people.

About the APS Foster Program

APS tries to put dogs and cats into foster homes after they have spent several weeks or months at the shelter without being adopted. This gives them a relief from shelter life and special adoption promotion, while providing space in for another animal. Additionally, the foster volunteer has the opportunity to work with their foster to help increase their chances of being happy in their new home.

Aside from regular day-to-day care (feeding, grooming, exercise), the responsibilities of a foster home may include basic training; behavior modification (to correct problems such as jumping, mouthing, barking, destructive chewing, dashing through doors); socialization and temperament evaluation (to determine whether the dog is good with different types of people and other animals); medical care (dispensing medication, taking the dog to vet appointments), and of course plenty of playtime and snuggling.

Some foster cats and dogs are adopted quickly and may only stay in their foster home for a few weeks, while others may be around for several months until they find their perfect forever home. APS will work with your specific needs to provide you with a foster that best suits your home (i.e. if you have children, other pets, have a fenced in yard, etc.). We will also provide you with information and support, crates, bowls, leashes, medicine, litter boxes, toys, etc.

Cats

Adult cats and older kittens who are passed their tiny, fluff-ball stage are most in need of foster homes – especially black cats who are notoriously the hardest shelter animal to find homes for. These adults and older kittens who have been at the shelter for two or more months are very often passed by as adopters choose tiny kittens and cats who stand out with bright, colorful coats. In a foster home these felines can get all the attention they deserve and a special advocate to tell adopters how amazing they are!

Dogs

Medium-to-large, adolescent dogs are prime candidates for foster homes. They may be overlooked at the shelter because they are too big, unruly, or ordinary-looking. They are past the adorable puppy stage, but still have plenty of puppy energy that needs an outlet. Given enough time, and some basic training, these dogs that might otherwise be euthanized for lack of space now have a chance at finding permanent, loving homes.

Finding a ‘Furever’ Home

Foster parents help to find ‘Furever’ homes by hanging posters at the shelter, workplace, and pet supply stores; attending adoption events; posting the cat or dog’s picture on websites; writing blogs; making videos; and simply spreading the word about their foster to anyone who will listen. Prospective adopters will have the opportunity to come and meet the animal in a home setting.

Why foster

Fostering a shelter pet may seem like a formidable task, but it’s a very tangible way to make a difference. Everyone benefits: The foster volunteer gets to spend time with a special foster, and the shelter gains space for another animal. The foster gets a break from shelter life and a second chance at becoming a cherished pet. The new owners get a companion that is better adapted to home life, and therefore has a better chance of remaining in the new home permanently.

Why not to Foster (Yes, you read it right!…)

Fostering requires a significant amount of time and dedication to providing a happy, safe, and healthy environment. Fostering can require an extra 1-3 hours per day that will have to fit into your schedule (walking/exercising, feeding, playing with, training and cuddling, promoting, etc.). Many of our volunteers work full-time and foster, so it’s certainly possible! However, if you are not ready to devote at least 1-3 hours a day to a new cat or dog, fostering is probably not for you. Introducing a foster to your household (both 2 and 4 legged family members) can be a challenge and takes time and patience to fully acclamate. If there are ever any issues, APS will help you work through them! If fostering sounds like too much for you, please see our volunteer page here for many other types of volunteer opportunities.

If you are interested in being an APS Foster Home, please contact the Volunteer Manager at volunteer@apsofdurham.org.