How You Can Help

Fostering

Animal Care Services is one of the top ten largest intake shelters in the country. We have a 90%+ Live Release Rate every month, but it is only because of dedicated caring people in our community, like you!

Fostering is a wonderful experience for those who want to help animals. It is a great way to open your home to the compassion of caring for animals in need, and it’s also a great way to see what different pets work well in your home. Many fosters have found a perfect companion by opening their home to those animals in need. Fostering will fill your heart with love and inspiration and it will make a big difference in our community. Seeing pets that didn’t have any other options find wonderful homes is one of most fulfilling jobs you’ll ever have!

What is a foster home?

A foster home is a temporary living situation for pets in our program while they are awaiting placement in a permanent home or transfer to a rescue. Foster families provide a home, care and love. While we will provide you with everything else, such as a crate, toys, food, and medical care!  The number of animals we can save depends entirely on the number of people who open their homes and hearts to foster them. Most fosters will stay in foster care for an average of 1-2 months though many get adopted far sooner than that.

Depending on the need there are a few that may be in care longer due to the age, illness, injury or behavior.

Still interested? Here is the Foster Application.

The 3 Foster Categories

Capacity

Some pets just ran out of time here at the shelter due to space availability and need someone to advocate for them and help find a new home. Many of these are amazing sweet pets that simply got overlooked and with great pictures and more information in a home get adopted quickly.

Orphan gruel and bottle babies

These are kittens or puppies that need 1-8 weeks of care till old enough for surgery and adoption. Typically these babies have no trouble getting adopted; they just need a loving home to raise them.

Sick/Injured/Behavior Animals

Depending on the medical treatment or behavior some of these pets may take longer to be adoptable. Our vets and trainers are here to help walk you through getting them healthy and ready for adoption.

*Transport

Animals that need two weeks of care while waiting to leave on transport to other rescue/shelter partners – Not yet available but coming soon!

Why become a foster?

Most of our many pets just need a little more time to find their forever home. Being a foster family has rewards beyond the essential value of helping a pet in need find a new home. For some, it is a chance to have an animal companion without a lifetime commitment. For others, it is the special challenge of helping an animal recover from an illness or injury, the trauma of losing a beloved owner or home, or to overcome a behavioral issue. Occasionally, it’s the joy of giving extra TLC to kittens and puppies too young to be adopted.

What are the responsibilities of a foster family?

  • Be able to go to ACS to meet your potential foster pet
  • Provide safe, humane, INDOOR housing for your foster pet until they are adopted (sometimes only a few days, sometimes weeks or a few months)
  • Bring your foster pet to the shelter at least one weekend per month to help socialize, market, and try to get them adopted. 
  • Provide safe transport to and from the clinic at ACS to have your foster checked on a monthly basis (Mon or Wed 11-1; Tues or Thurs 2-4pm)
  • Use the internet and social media to market and otherwise actively seek out a permanent home for your foster pet. 
  • Keep the foster rescue staff updated of any changes regarding your foster pet and provide updated pictures and a biography about your foster pet at least once/month while the pet is in your care
  • Be available via email or phone to respond to potential adopters who have questions about your foster pet

Foster FAQ

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Fill out our Foster application, fosters need to 18 years or older to apply.
If you go to our website under Urgent Pets there are different reports for fosters to browse through to find our animals in need of placement. You are also welcome to come down to our facility on 4710 State Highway 151 to walk through our kennels. You will need to meet with the pet prior to placing a foster hold.
Foster hours:
Monday Wednesday 11-1pm
Tuesday Thursday 2-4pm

Thank you for wanting to foster with ACS, but if you live farther than 45 minutes from our location at 4710 State Highway 151; it is recommended that you try to foster for a local rescue/shelter. All of our vet care is done on campus and if your foster pet were to get sick or run away ACS does not have the resources to assist. You can check out one of our rescue partners that pull from us if you would still like to help out our at risk pets.

We highly recommend that if you are interested in fostering a puppy that has several siblings that you should take two. This is better for the puppies’ socialization skills and helps puppies learn about bite inhibition and how to play. Plus single puppies tend to be more needy and most fosters can’t be with and sleep with the puppy 24/7. This gives the puppy/kitten a playmate and snuggle partner and will make for a well-rounded dog/cat.
Many Fosters choose to meet their pet potential adopter on ACS campus so if it works out they can finalize the paperwork right then and there. Others like to meet in public areas like parks or Pet stores that are close by. It is where ever you as a foster parent feel most comfortable.
You can inform the rescue foster team of what occurred and why you (as the foster) feel this family or person is not well suited to the pet. It is ultimately ACS’s decision on who gets to adopt the animal but your opinion is taken into consideration.
If you would like to adopt your foster, congratulations on your new family pet! Please let the rescue foster team know so we can connect you with our adoptions department. You will need to fill out our adoption application and pay the adoption fee before the pet is legally yours.
If you’re foster just had surgery you will need to wait 10 days before bathing to make sure the surgery site is completely healed. If your pet really stinks you can use some scented baby wipes to help clean up your foster pet.
The cone should stay on for at least 10 days while the pet’s surgery site is healing. If there was some other injury or issue our vet will provide you with the expected timeline that the cone needs to remain on. I know it can be annoying but it is in the pets best interest that it stay on to limit infection or the reopening of the wound.
Many of our shelter pets have been on the streets for a while or were not given proper vaccinations. Many of these pets may be carrying an illness that might not show signs until after they have settled in your home. To keep your own pets safe we advise that you keep your new foster pet separate from the others until at least 2 weeks have passed. This way if your foster does contract an illness your pets at home are less likely to also get sick.
Here at ACS we don’t have any foster events, but we do have many Adoption Events throughout the year. Our foster team will let you know when an event is coming up so you can plan to attend and help advocate for your foster pet.
Because our shelter gets in so many pets every year, space is a big issue; which is why we greatly depend on our foster homes. Unfortunately this means you cannot simply leave your foster pet here with us over a weekend. We are very limited on space and it changes each day, which could put your foster pet at risk or cause another pet to be put at risk. To avoid this, try reaching out to neighbor or friend to care for them while you are away.
When planning your vacation please keep the foster team in the loop if you are currently caring for a foster. Or time it when you are in between foster pets to avoid issues. If not, try reaching out to a neighbor or friend that would be willing to care for you foster while you are away and make sure to give that information to the foster team in case a problem comes up. Remember ACS is still the owner of the pet and while we understand the need to get away, just update us on these changes.
Please let us know right away if you are having problems in the home. We have trainers on staff to assist with behavior problems and work with you. Not every foster is going to be the perfect fit, but try to find their good qualities, even if this dog isn’t perfect for you. They could be perfect for someone else; it is your job as the foster to help give them that chance. Remember you are the last line of defense for this poor pet, if it doesn’t work out with you there may not be any other options. With that said, we will always take our foster pets back.
Some pets adjust very quickly in the home while another may need up to a month to feel safe and open up. Each pet has had different experiences when dealing with humans and may be more open or cautious than others. Remember to be patient and please reach out to our trainers for help. We want each foster pet to succeed and find a wonderful home that will love them for who they are.
Unfortunately since many of our stray pets have been living on the street or not given any kind of vet care the pets do sometimes come with pests. We treat all of our animals with a flea and tick preventative before going into foster care, however it may take up to 24 hours for all of them to die and fall off. This is why it is important to do your own observation when you’re taking them home and keep them separate from your owned pets.