Foster 101: How to Help Your Fosters Find the Perfect Forever Home

Written by Oxbow

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April 17, 2020🞄

Foster parents play a vital role in helping place the foster pets in their care in the perfect forever home.  Many humane societies will provide a listing of key information to make note of as you interact with your foster pet.  Listed below are several key bits of information that a foster parent should note about the animals in their care.

    • Food is a big motivator in establishing trust with a new pet!  Keep a list of their likes and dislikes when it comes to food and treats.  Do they respond better when a specific treat is offered?
      • Quick Tip: Learn more about the best kind treats for rabbits, guinea pig, and other small pets here.
  • Bonding between a new pet and new family is vital.  Make notes of the current level of socialization in the animal and any changes and improvements that have been observed.
  • Offering various type of enrichment can increase the animal’s comfort level as well.  What type of enrichment has been offered and what have they responded too?  Do they like to hang out in hides?  Play with toys?  Rest in cozy caves or hammocks?  This is all extremely helpful information to record and share.
    • Quick Tip: How can you support your small pet’s instinctual behaviors? Learn more!
  • Many people looking to add a new pet into their family have children.  If you have children in your home, make sure to let them interact in a safe environment with the foster pet.  This will help identify any concerns and build the confidence of the pet with kids.
  • The same can be said for other pets.  Allowing the foster pet to safely experience and learn about other pets can bring to light concerns that could cause the animal to be put back in a shelter situation.  Remember, we want to find those forever homes as often as possible!
  • Always share any health concerns you have witnessed and make sure the animal has been examined by a qualified veterinarian.

As a foster parent, there may be some cases when you are asked to interview a potential new parent.  This is an excellent opportunity to share your experiences.  If you find yourself in this position, there are several key questions to talk over with a potential pet parent.  Helpful questions may include:

  1. Does anyone in your home have allergies to animals or hay, if applicable?
  2. Do you have children?  If so, what experience do they have with pets?
  3. What other pets are in the household and how will you ensure the appropriate safety during interactions?
  4. Are you able to transport the animal to the vet and administer medication if needed?
  5. Is this pet a surprise gift for a holiday, or have you discussed getting a small animal with all members of the household?
  6. Are you committed to the long-term adoption of the animal, knowing it could be a 10+ year commitment?

Fostering pets is an extremely rewarding experience and a great way to give back to animal communities in need.  Through careful observation, diligent notetaking, and thoughtful daily activities, you can do your part to make sure your foster pets find the perfect forever home.


Learn More

Should I Foster a Pet?

Five Steps for a Successful Small Animal Foster