What it Takes to be a Foster Parent

Coastal Pet Rescue has placed hundreds of pets in permanent, loving homes. Because we don't operate a shelter, those placements have depended on the participation of foster parents, who serve as the vital bridge between a pet's unfortunate situation and its new and better life.

Being a foster parent isn't as simple as taking in puppies or kittens for short-term care. It's a demanding role that requires flexibility and the willingness to accommodate each pet at what can be a difficult time for it. While we screen the pets we rescue to help ensure they can function as family members, some of them have been abused, neglected or completely abandoned, and some require special medical care. In all cases, they need assistance to get them through the transition to a permanent home. Providing that assistance is a shared responsibility of Coastal Pet Rescue and the foster parents.

What Coastal Pet Rescue Provides

From the time we rescue a pet until the day it leaves foster care, Coastal Pet Rescue assumes responsibility for all expenses related to the animal's healthcare. We'll pay all veterinary expenses, including any necessary vaccinations, deworming, microchipping, spaying/neutering, heartworm treatments, routine medications and emergency veterinary visits. And of course, while the pet is in foster care, we work diligently to quickly provide a carefully screened, permanent home for the pet you've so graciously taken in.

What Foster Parents Provide

While Coastal Pet Rescue assumes responsibility for all veterinary expenses, foster parents are responsible for providing their charges with temporary care and feeding. This is essentially the same responsibility as in permanently caring for a pet: Integrating it into your household, and providing love and attention, socialization and basic training, shelter and a healthy diet, and more love and attention. The quality of this care is essential to the pet's adoptability.

We'll also ask that you meet with prospective adopting parents to provide information on the pet, while helping us to evaluate the adopters. And we'll ask that you occasionally participate in such events as foster parent recruiting drives, where your expertise and experience will help others decide to assume this important role.

The pets we rescue typically live with their foster parents for approximately 6 to 12 weeks. Most foster parents find the time and effort so rewarding that they're eager to receive the next needy pet into their care.

Elements of a Good Foster Home

We understand that most of our foster parents work regular jobs. That's why we'll help match up a foster pet that works best with your schedule. Puppies typically shouldn't be left alone for more than 4 hours, and dogs no more than 8. A fenced-in yard is recommended for large dogs, though not always required. In all cases, having a separate room for the foster pet is helpful during the initial period as it gets used to you and the new surroundings. As with any pet newly brought into a home, foster pets can sometimes damage carpets and couches; the separate room is a good place for an old sofa or overstuffed chair, and little other furniture. If you already have pets in your family, having this room is especially important so that you can keep the newcomer segregated, gradually introducing it to the rest of the household.

You'll want to supply your charge with the things any pet treasures. Dogs can never have too many toys, and any cat will love a blanket or pillow to sleep on. You're encouraged to spoil your foster pet just as you would your other pets. Finally, you'll need dependable transportation to take your charge to and from all necessary veterinary visits and adoption events. Coastal Pet Rescue covers veterinary expenses; we just need for you to make sure the appointments are not missed.

Note: If your home situation would make it difficult for you to serve as a foster parent but you would still like to help rescued pets in need, please visit our donations page for details on the many other ways in which you can make a difference.

Making the Foster Parent Process Work for You

It's been said that when fostering, you have to open your heart but lead with your mind. The very real difference between your foster pet and your other pets is that fostering is temporary. For some new foster parents, there is unexpected sorrow in saying goodbye to a pet for which they have provided love and care.

The key is to always remember why you became a foster parent. It's not about adding a family member; it's about helping to save an innocent pet's life and enabling it to move onto a good home. When it's time to say goodbye, you can take comfort in knowing that you have made it possible for the pet and its new family to begin building their own permanent, loving bonds. And you'll now have room in your heart and home for another pet in need of your generosity.

Becoming a Coastal Pet Rescue Foster Parent

If you're ready to join Coastal Pet Rescue as a foster parent, please fill out our online Foster Parent Application. It takes only a few minutes to complete, and the application's introduction explains the basic process. If you have any questions, please call us at 912-228-3538.