How do I become a foster? The first step is to fill out a foster application. When filling out the application, the more descriptive you are, the easier it is for our team to match fosters to your housing situation, available time, skillset, and comfort levels. Once you hit submit on your application, it will be sent to our foster care team and you will be contacted by our foster coordinator via phone or email if your application is approved. Once approved, you'll be matched once an animal that meets your skillset and preferences is available; this process can take time, so do not get discouraged if you do not immediately get paired with an animal after your application has been approved.
What are the requirements to become a foster? A little bit of time, patience, and willingness to help animals in need are the most important things! It is also entirely possible to foster and have a full-time job. If you have pets of your own, for their safety and that of our shelter animals, we do require that pets be up-to-date on their yearly vaccinations. You must be 18 years or older to foster.
Please be prepared to supply records for the following: Dogs: Rabies, DHPP, & Bordetella Cats: Rabies & FVRCP
If you rent your apartment or home, you will be asked to provide documentation that animals are accepted in your rental property, as well as supply any breed restrictions that may be in place.
Can I foster if I already have pets at home? Yes! Current pet parents really make excellent fosters! Your animals will need to be vaccinated as per above. Depending on the reason for fostering, some animals may need to be kept separate from your own pets. However, there are instances where it can be beneficial to let your pets and your fosters interact and coexist in your household together. Interaction between your pets and foster animals is really a case-by-case basis and the foster coordinator will be happy to discuss this with you prior to placing an animal with you.
What supplies do I need to provide? The shelter supplies everything you need in order to care for an animal during their time in foster. All their food and litter, any medical supplies, kennels, leashes, litter boxes, and more are provided through, and must be returned to, the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri. If you’d like to supply things like toys or extra treats, feel free! We’re certain the animals will appreciate it!
How much do I need to supervise my foster animal? It really depends on the animal and why they’re eligible for fostering. Some fosters (such as bottle-fed kittens and puppies or more complex medical cases) require a lot of care and attention around the clock. While other fosters (such as healthy adult animals or dogs/cats with litters), may not require as much intense supervision. Overall, we can certainly help place a foster animal with you that you’re comfortable with and that works with your lifestyle!
Can I take the foster animals to my vet or do I have to administer vaccinations? We have an on-site veterinary clinic and veterinary staff, so we provide all the animal's wellness visits, vaccinations, routine and emergency hours care. The foster coordinator will communicate directly with the fosters and coordinate all appointments or facilitate after hours emergency care. All foster appointments will take place at the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri.
How long will I have my foster animal? An animal's length of stay in foster care can differ from animal to animal, but the average length of time is 2-4 weeks. Our team will always provide an estimated foster timeline prior to you taking any animal home, and in addition, you can specify the time commitment you are comfortable with when filling out the foster application.
What is "Foster to Adopt" and what animals qualify? Certain animals that are awaiting surgeries or undergoing specialized medical treatment through our veterinary clinic qualify for our Foster to Adopt (F2A) program. During this time, the adoptive family is able to take the animal home as a foster while they are still under treatment and ownership of the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri - until they are ready for adoption finalization. Not all animals qualify for F2A, but many of our animals under medical treatment, those that are too young for spay/neuter surgeries, those that have been in our shelter for an extended period, or are geriatric do qualify. Qualifying animals can be found on-site at the shelter and are easily identified by the purple “Foster to Adopt” heart tags located on their kennels.
If you have questions about our foster program, please call (417) 833-2526 ext. 215 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.