All your foster questions answered
What is pet foster care?
Pet foster care provides a safe, nurturing environment for a homeless pet until a permanent home is found. Many rescue groups don’t have shelter facilities to house pets, but rely on a network of foster carers to care for pets in their own homes. Some shelters and pounds also rely on foster carers to provide care for sick, injured or very young pets until they are ready to be adopted.
Why is pet foster care so important?
Every foster carer is saving the life of a pet. Rescue groups can only take on a pet if they know they have a carer to foster it. Without a carer available, a pet may face a very uncertain future in the pound.
What is the biggest reward from fostering a pet?
Knowing that you have saved a life, and the joy you get from spending time with an animal that loves you unconditionally. That’s two big rewards, but there are more. Check out our 10 fantastic reasons to foster a pet.
Who typically becomes a pet foster carer?
People from all walks of life become foster carers. Students who can’t commit to a lifelong pet; retirees who love pets but want to travel; families who want to make a difference; people without a pet of their own or people who can welcome an additional pet into their lives. The only typical thing about foster carers is their love of pets.
How much time do I need to put into it?
It completely depends on the pet. If you decide to become a foster carer for unweaned puppies, you won’t be getting much sleep for a few weeks! But if you are looking to help a settled older dog or cat, then you’ll just be providing the normal amount of cuddles and walks a pet needs.
Are there any financial obligations?
All rescue groups operate slightly differently, depending on their size, location and type of pet they rehome. Generally, the group will cover all vet costs and the foster carer provides food.
Are there any other resources I might need to commit?
Love and compassion are the main requirements of a foster carer. The rescue group will give you all the basic info you need to care for your foster pet, and will let you know upfront if you need to provide anything else.
Would I require any permits?
Not usually, but every state and council area is different. The rescue group will make sure you are in compliance with any requirement.
How long would I need to keep a fostered pet for?
Each pet is different. If you’re fostering a small-breed puppy, they are unlikely to be with you more than a few weeks. But if big boofy dogs are your thing, they may be with you for a few months. The rescue group will give you an idea on how long they would expect each pet to be in your care. If your circumstances change (you need to go away or something urgent comes up) the rescue group will find a new foster carer for the pet.
What happens if I want to keep a foster pet?
Of course, if you fall in love and want to keep your foster pet, you can make it official and adopt your foster pet. And, hopefully, you’ll keep fostering other pets too.
What happens if I don’t like a foster pet?
If, for any reason your foster pet isn’t a good match for your family, your rescue group will find a new carer.
What kind of pets are normally fostered out?
Dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs and horses. Foster caring helps every type of pet.
Can I choose a particular animal, breed or size?
Yes, the rescue group will work with you to find the most suitable foster pet for your circumstances.
On average, how many pets will a carer foster?
Usually one at a time, unless they are fostering a bonded pair or litters, or have resources for more. Some foster carers choose to foster while they can’t make a lifetime commitment.
How do I get started?
Go to PetRescue.com.au, select Dog, Cat or Other Pets, select size and state, then click ‘Show advanced search’ and select ‘Pets looking for foster care’. If you find a pet you’d like to enquire about and offer your services as a foster carer, click the ‘Enquire about this pet’ button at the top of the pet’s profile, or scroll to the bottom of the profile page to find the contact details of the rescue group caring for the pet.
Alternatively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help connect you with a rescue group in your area.
We've also launched our Workplace Foster Care Program, to encourage Australian businesses to unleash the life-saving power of the workplace. For all the info you need to convince your staff or boss that this is a pawsitively brilliant idea for your business, download the FREE guide to our Workplace Foster Care Program here.
Banner image - Maple from PetRescue