Huntsville Animal Services (HAS) offers several types of foster home programs. Fostering is opening your home to a shelter pet for a multitude of reasons:
- To allow the kitten or puppy to mature to an adoptable age (Example: A 1 ½ pound 6-week-old kitten needs to be fostered for an average of 2 -3 weeks)
- Giving a spot for a mother cat to give birth and raise her babies
- Helping a dog recover from an orthopedic surgery
- Giving the provided oral medications once or twice a day to a dog or cat recovering from a sickness
- Hand-raising or bottle feeding orphaned kittens or puppies
- Socializing a puppy or dog
Most shelter pets require 2-3 weeks of fostering, but some pets (like a pregnant cat or dog) require a longer period of fostering.
To become a foster parent, complete an application. Fostering parties must be 21 years of age or older and provide proof of identification. If you lease/rent, landlord approval is required prior to fostering a pet.
The three foster home programs mentioned below are life-saving. The shelter is a stressful place for pets, mainly for adult dogs. It becomes an increasingly frustrating place for animals that haven’t been adopted. These three foster programs along with the volunteer program help save lives.
FOSTER TO ADOPT
The most common foster home program is called Foster to Adopt. This program allows you a 14-day trial period with the dog and is for someone interested in adopting an adult dog, but would like to ‘test drive’ the dog at home. Although this is a very successful program, HAS warns owners that all new pets should be given at least 3 months to settle into a new home and new routine. Some pets like puppies, kittens, small dogs and others may not be eligible for this program.
The newest foster home program is called a Sleep-Over. This program allows the fostering party to take home a pet for 1 to 4 nights. Upon returning the pet to the shelter, the fostering party will complete a form sharing all the information collected about the pet during their visit including information such as: did the pet like other pets, housebroken, tolerates cats, likes children, etc. This program helps HAS develop a profile for the shelter pet.
FOSTER TO REHOME
Another foster program called the Foster to Rehome program is for sick pets, aged pets, and underaged puppies and kittens. Additionally, sometimes a fostering party takes care of the dog until it becomes adopted. These volunteers take appealing photos of the pet inside a home and along with a narrative about the pet’s personality are submitted to be posted on the HAS Facebook page.