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FAQs

Fostering

  • What is fostering?
  • Why are foster homes necessary?
  • What kind of animals need fostering?
  • I don't think I can foster. Wouldn't I want to keep them all?
  • Why should I adopt a pet that is in foster care? Doesn't it already have a home?
  • How much will it cost me to foster an animal?
  • How long would I need to keep the animal?
  • Do I help with finding the animals a home?
  • What is a foster-to-adopt program? Do all animal groups do this?
  • What animal group should I foster animals for?
  • What else should I consider before fostering?
  • I live in an apartment or rent a house. Can I foster?

Adopting A Homeless Pet

  • Why should I adopt a pet that is in foster care? Doesn't it already have a home?

Rescues and Transports

  • What is a rescue transport?

  • How can some areas accept out-of-state pets? Shouldn't they be helping their own homeless animals?
  • I would like to transport, but all I have is a small car.You can still help!
  • If I transport an animal, do I pay for gas?
  • How long are most transports?
  • How do I find out about transports coming through my area?
  • What is a "monitored" transport?
  • What do I need to bring with me on most transports?
  • Tell me what happens on the average transport run.
  • What happens if there are not enough drives to fill a transport?

Fostering

  • What is fostering?

To foster an animal is to care for it temporarily in your home with the intention of finding a new (and permanent) adoptive home for it. People usually foster under the supervision and guidance of a shelter or rescue organization.

  • Why are foster homes necessary?

Foster homes increase the capacity of traditional brick-and-mortar shelters, allowing them to care for more animals at any given time. Some adoption groups house all their animals in foster homes. Foster homes allow the animals to recover from an illness or injury, to prevent illnesses common in a shelter environment, to improve a pet's behavior, and to provide an enriching socialization experience that will allow for a smoother transition into an adoptive home.

  • What kind of animals need fostering?

All kinds! Dogs, cats, even rabbits and other small pets all benefit from foster homes. Foster homes are critical for any pet that is susceptible to disease (pregnant or nursing moms and their babies, or any infant animal).


Some animals may need some extra socialization and training, and benefit from the structure and one-on-one attention of a foster home. Sometimes there are special needs pets, such as blind, deaf, senior, or paraplegic pets that also need to be removed from a typical shelter environment. Sometimes pets that have stayed at the shelter for a long time simply need to spend time with a family to cheer them up. Because fostering creates a greater care-giving capacity at shelters, any pet benefits from a foster home when the shelter becomes crowded and space is scarce. Truly, any and all shelter animals need foster homes, though some are of a high priority.

  • I don't think I can foster. Wouldn't I want to keep them all?

Every foster parent experienced some anxiety like this when they first began. But most foster parents find it to be an overwhelmingly positive experience. Why not give it a try? Seeing your foster pet transform due to your love and care, and seeing them with their new "forever home" makes it all worth it.


When you get happy e-mail updates from the new family, you will feel so good! It may seem insignificant to help just one pet, but it makes a huge difference. We can't do it without you. If you love pets enough to be saddened by the predicament of those that are homeless, turn that emotion into empowerment and help change a life for the better. But it is not uncommon for foster parents to fall in love with and adopt their foster, so don't let that potential scare you off. We are human, after all.

  • Why should I adopt a pet that is in foster care? Doesn't it already have a home?

Foster pets have a temporary home, but they all need permanent ones! Foster parents can't help a new animal until their current fosters get adopted, and there is always a waiting list. An "open space" in a foster home is just as significant as an "open space" in a shelter. Also, you will know all there is to know about the pet by chatting with the foster parent.


You will know what to expect from the pet, how well or poorly it might fit in at your home, etc. In general, the mystery is taken out of adoption when you consider a foster pet. Most foster pets are also known to be housebroken, or at least in progress. You will have peace of mind in knowing all about the pet before you take it home. Most foster parents are also there to support you if you need to ask questions about the pet after adopting it.

  • How much will it cost me to foster an animal?

This depends on the organization that you foster for. Some will provide you with any supplies you may need for your foster (a crate, food, etc.) and medical care. Others will pay for medical care, but only if done through a certain vet. You should contact local organizations and speak to their foster coordinator to learn their specific policies.

  • How long would I need to keep the animal?

Again, this depends on the organization and/or on what animal you take in. Some organizations run solely out of foster homes, so you would keep your foster until adopted. Some shelters will also allow you to keep a foster until adopted, but they may also seek temporary fosters to nurse animals to health before they return to the kennels or catteries for adoption. There is also a need for temporary fosters for shelter pets before a transport to an out-of-area rescue.


No Kill Louisville is supporting Louisville Metro Animal Services by providing help in keeping the Rescue Waggin' program going. This is a PetSmart Charities program meant to move dogs to areas where there is a shortage of these animals so they can find homes. Fosters for this program keep the dogs for two to three weeks before the dogs are transported by the Rescue Waggin'.

  • How long would I need to keep the animal?

Again, this depends on the organization and/or on what animal you take in. Some organizations run solely out of foster homes, so you would keep your foster until adopted. Some shelters will also allow you to keep a foster until adopted, but they may also seek temporary fosters to nurse animals to health before they return to the kennels or catteries for adoption. There is also a need for temporary fosters for shelter pets before a transport to an out-of-area rescue.


No Kill Louisville is supporting Louisville Metro Animal Services by providing help in keeping the Rescue Waggin' program going. This is a PetSmart Charities program meant to move dogs to areas where there is a shortage of these animals so they can find homes. Fosters for this program keep the dogs for two to three weeks before the dogs are transported by the Rescue Waggin'.

  • Do I help with finding the animals a home?

Most groups will have an online listing for your foster pet and will also have "adoption events" in the community. Adoption events are like a meet-and-greet for the public and the organization's foster pets. They are a great way to drum up interest in your foster.


Sometimes you simply need to be patient, because it can take time for people to come across your foster. We recommend that all online listings have thorough descriptions of the pet, good pictures that show the pet from different angles or doing different things, and a video of the pet that shows off a great personality trait(s).

  • How long would I need to keep the animal?

Again, this depends on the organization and/or on what animal you take in. Some organizations run solely out of foster homes, so you would keep your foster until adopted. Some shelters will also allow you to keep a foster until adopted, but they may also seek temporary fosters to nurse animals to health before they return to the kennels or catteries for adoption. There is also a need for temporary fosters for shelter pets before a transport to an out-of-area rescue.


No Kill Louisville is supporting Louisville Metro Animal Services by providing help in keeping the Rescue Waggin' program going. This is a PetSmart Charities program meant to move dogs to areas where there is a shortage of these animals so they can find homes. Fosters for this program keep the dogs for two to three weeks before the dogs are transported by the Rescue Waggin'.

  • What is a foster-to-adopt program? Do all animal groups do this?

Foster-to-adopt is uncommon, but some groups offer this for people who are ready to adopt a pet that isn't ready for adoption yet. For example, some breed-specific rescues do not like to do early-age spay/neuter for their puppies. The puppies go to foster-to-adopt homes, which hold them under a unique contract in which the adoption will not be finalized until the pet is spayed/neutered. Other medical conditions may qualify a pet for foster-to-adopt. Some groups use foster-to-adopt as another term for a trial period. Note that many groups do NOT offer a foster-to-adopt option.

  • What animal group should I foster animals for?

Do a search on Petfinder.com for shelters and rescue groups in your area and get in touch about their foster program. Compare each group's policies and find one that you feel would be a good match for you. Then fill out their foster application, attend their orientation, and get ready for your first foster!


Also, No Kill Louisville is happy to help connect you to organizations that need help today including supporting the Rescue Waggin' programs and more. Just email us in the "contact us" section or head over to our forums and talk with other fosters.

  • What else should I consider before fostering?

Be prepared to be flexible, but also realistic. Your current pets (do they like other animals?), the human portion of your family (any small children?), the layout of your house (is it possible to keep foster pets separate from your own, if necessary?) are all elements that may effect which pet you should foster. Talk with your group's foster coordinator about any specific concerns you may have.

  • I live in an apartment or rent a house. Can I foster?

Ask your landlord if they allow pets. If they do, but you are at their limit for how many you can have, ask if they allow temporary foster pets. You may need to pay an extra fee to have an extra pet at your home. Also be aware that some groups may require fenced in yards for all dog fosters. If in doubt, ask both your landlord and your group's foster coordinator.

Adopting A Homeless Pet

  • Why should I adopt a pet that is in foster care? Doesn't it already have a home?

Foster pets have a temporary home, but they all need permanent ones! Foster parents can't help a new animal until their current fosters get adopted, and there is always a waiting list. An "open space" in a foster home is just as significant as an "open space" in a shelter. Also, you will know all there is to know about the pet by chatting with the foster parent.


You will know what to expect from the pet, how well or poorly it might fit in at your home, etc. In general, the mystery is taken out of adoption when you consider a foster pet. Most foster pets are also known to be housebroken, or at least in progress. You will have peace of mind in knowing all about the pet before you take it home. Most foster parents are also there to support you if you need to ask questions about the pet after adopting it.

Rescues and Transports

  • What is a rescue transport?

Homeless animals (usually dogs) are sometimes transfered from one organization to another. When the organizations are far apart, a rescue transport is organized to get the dog from point A to point B. The total distance is broken into smaller "legs", and local volunteers drive the dogs for each leg until the dog reaches its destination.

  • How can some areas accept out-of-state pets? Shouldn't they be helping their own homeless animals?

Some areas of the country, mainly those to the north, do not experience the same overwhelming number of pets entering their shelters. These communities have successfully implemented life saving programs, and it shows.


All-breed and breed-specific rescues therefore may have room to accept and assist out-of-area pets, in addition to helping pets from their own area. Another phenomenon is different breed popularity based on region. Some pets that sit for ages in a shelter in Kentucky may be adopted within days in a shelter in Maine. Having the space and resources to help animals does no good if the animals are hundreds of miles away. Uniting the needy pets with their able rescuers is dependent on transport. And transport depends on you to volunteer!

  • I would like to transport, but all I have is a small car.You can still help!

Not every transport involves dozens of dogs. You may be limited in the number and size of the dogs you drive, but you can still be a valuable driver.

  • If I transport an animal, do I pay for gas?

This depends on the groups involved with the transport. Sometimes there is a non-profit group that can make your gas payments tax-deductible. You should expect to have to pay for your gas most of the time, but if gas payment is an issue, be sure to ask!

  • How long are most transports?

Most transports are broken down into 1 hour (one-way) "legs". Most transports are also flexible, meaning that the routes, distances, or times can be changed slightly to accommodate the volunteer drivers.

  • How do I find out about transports coming through my area?

Most transports are broken down into 1 hour (one-way) "legs". Most transports are also flexible, meaning that the routes, distances, or times can be changed slightly to accommodate the volunteer drivers.


No Kill Louisville is also working to add that information to our site. We'll have more details in coming months. In the meantime, go to our No Kill Louisville FaceBook and post that you can help with transports and ask for people to let you know if they need help.

  • What is a "monitored" transport?

A monitored transport is one in which you must call the transport coordinator after picking up or dropping off the dogs for your leg of the trip. This helps them know that everything is running on time and smoothly. Even if a transport is not specified as being monitored, it is a good idea to touch base with the transport coordinator and the two drivers on either side of your leg. If you are ever going to be more than 10-15 minutes late to any of your meeting points, it is common courtesy to call ahead, because the other drivers will need to be aware.

  • What do I need to bring with me on most transports?

A fully charged cell phone is a must. Be sure it is turned on and turned up! Print out the run-sheet that you receive from the transport coordinator, and any directions you might need. Make sure you have everyone's contact information. Bring extra leashes. Know ahead of time if a crate is recommended for your passenger, and whether the crate is to be supplied by you or is traveling with the dog. Bring a water bowl and water, towels/blankets, and some treats. Pay attention to any specific requests by the transport coordinator, and if in doubt, ask!

  • Tell me what happens on the average transport run.

The day of the transport, make sure you arrive wherever you will be meeting the driver before you about 10 minutes early. It is handy if you have a bowl of water waiting for the dogs when they arrive. Each dog should get out and stretch its legs and take a potty/water break if possible. Then the dogs will be loaded into your vehicle.


The most important thing, other than preventing any dogs from getting loose, is to make sure you obtain the paperwork for each dog from the driver before you. The paperwork includes health certificates, receipts, and basic information on each dog that must be sent by the original shelter/rescue and received by the destination shelter/rescue. After all the dogs are loaded up and the paperwork is with you, you drive to the next meeting point, and repeat the process with the next driver. Potty and water breaks for dogs, load dogs, transfer paperwork, drive! Of course, dog lovers always love to chat with each other and schmooze with the dogs during this time. It is actually a fun process, especially if you don't mind a little road trip. You meet great people and great dogs.

  • What happens if there are not enough drives to fill a transport?

Unfortunately, many transports cannot be filled, especially really long transports, or those with many passengers. The dogs cannot get to their rescuers if there are not enough drivers for the transport. That is why we want to spread the word about this easy way to help homeless pets in your community. Occasionally, drivers are willing to literally "go the extra mile" and will fill in the gaps. This is not always the case, however. Not enough drivers means the dogs are stuck.

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