Fostering Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How to Become a Foster?
Application: To begin the process of becoming a foster at MCAS you must first complete a foster application. This can be done by visiting the shelter or sending an email to the foster coordinator and requesting an application. You can fill out the application online.
Meet with the foster coordinator: One you have completed the application, you will meet with the foster coordinator who can answer additional questions and help determine what your interests are in relation to fosterables.
Handbook: You will be expected to review this handbook thoroughly and become familiar with all sections.
Agreement: Upon completion meeting with the coordinator, sign and submit the MCAS Foster Program Agreement.
Fostering: Active fosters are participants in the MCAS Foster Program who have completed steps 1 - 5 above and provided foster care for at least one MCAS animal within the past six (6) months. If more than 6 months have passed following completion of the most recent provision of MCAS foster care, the foster will be considered “inactive” and an interview with the foster coordinator will be required to resume active Foster Program participation. Fostering may be limited by MCAS in its sole discretion.
Q: What are the responsibilities of a foster parent?
A. Foster parents are responsible for providing a safe and supportive temporary home for a shelter pet. This includes tending to the pet's medical, social and behavioral needs.
Return the animal for veterinary care as required, according to the standards described in our Foster Outcome Plan.
Keep records and documentation on the animal.
Handle day-to-day care of the pet, including (a) feeding a proper quantity of a good quality pet food; (b) keeping the pet clean and groomed and (d) ensuring the pet's safety at all times.
Provide socialization and training, according to the pet’s needs, to try to help the animal become a highly desirable, adoptable pet.
Assist in the adoption process by quickly responding to correspondence about the pet, and working to find an adoptive home. (Example: Adoption events, MCAS events, etc.)
Be willing to send in clear updated photos and/or videos.
Q: Can I become a foster home if I live in an apartment? Or don't have a fenced yard?
A: Yes, know your limits though. If you are fostering a dog, commit to leash walks. You may also need approval from your apartment manager.
Q: What types of things would disqualify me as a foster home?
A: Some applicants may not eligible to participate as a MCAS foster. Some examples of why an applicant might be denied are listed below:
Inability or unwillingness to fulfill the qualifications and requirements as explained in the handbook.
Prior MCAS foster history of failing to honor conditions of the present policies, agreements, or contracts.
Household members unwilling to share the home with animals including for reasons of health or personal preference.
Refusal to return a fostered animal as requested, or releasing a fostered animal to someone without a contract or with MCAS permission.
An animal has recently died in the home due to circumstances bearing risk to the health of a foster animal.
Animal negligence or cruelty including inadequate care up to violent acts.
Appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while engaged in an MCAS foster-related activity.
Abusive or disruptive behavior toward MCAS staff at any time including on MCAS premises, at MCAS related event, or even online social media.
Q: How do I get a foster pet?
A: Contact the foster coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What if I get an animal with behavioral problems?
A: Most dogs WILL come to foster care with some behavioral issues, large or small. Whether it's chewing, howling, marking, growling, digging, "counter surfing," snake-chasing, door dashing or something more significant, it's best to recognize that few new dogs will truly be 100% problem-free, and you'll need to be prepared to deal with these things. Fortunately, most behavioral problems will be minor, and it can be extremely gratifying to take in a less-than-perfect dog and help him develop to his full potential. You can start reading books and Internet sites on obedience training and figuring out ways to dog-proof your home or otherwise prepare yourself for the challenges that come with fostering. Our volunteer network is also on hand to support each other with advice, suggestions, and encouragement. The bottom line is that each dog, no matter what its issues, is the responsibility of the foster parent who took it in. So it's best to be prepared and to understand the commitment, and if the thought of having a dog that requires much dedicated attention and training is a significant concern, then perhaps fostering isn't for you.
Q: What if I start fostering but then can't continue?
A: Because it's not easy (and sometimes not even possible) to move a pet from one foster home to another, it's important that you not agree to foster an animal unless you are able to make a commitment to that animal for however long it takes. If your situation changes and you can't continue fostering, we will TRY to move your current pet, if feasible, but there's no assurance we'll be able to accomplish that in a timely manner so you'll likely need to figure out a way to stick it out until that animal is adopted. After that, we will try to find other ways for you to remain involved and help our rescue effort, other than fostering. It's important to keep in close contact with the foster coordinator to discuss options.
Q: How long does it take a pet to get adopted?
A: It's common for healthy dogs with few behavioral problems to be adopted within a month or less, especially if the foster parent is diligent about taking good photos of the dog and writing an informative bio for the websites and attending off-site events. Most pets are adopted within 2 months unless the pet has significant "issues" and/or the foster parent is not proactive about helping to "market" the pet. Even senior pets and ones with special needs (such as blindness) are often adopted in just a few months if the foster family parent assists the process.
Q: What if my foster dog doesn't get along with my cats?
A: A good number dogs will not get along with cats. So if you have cats, it's your responsibility to figure out a plan to be able to reliably separate them. If that's not feasible, it will be essential for you to only agree to take in dogs that are known to be trustworthy with cats.
Q: What if I must go out of town on a trip?
A: As the foster parent, it will be your responsibility to make arrangements for this eventuality. Some foster parents have trade-off arrangements with pet-loving friends or relatives or other nearby foster homes (this can be coordinated in the MCAS foster facebook group). Others take their fosters on vacation with them or hire a house-sitter or board the pet(s). Any arrangements are at the foster parent's own expense.
Q: Will MCAS pay for all of a pet's medical expenses?
A: We will ask that you bring the animal in for an exam by our veterinarian. We will provide medication for conditions such as but not limited to mange, kennel cough and heartworm treatment. However, as a county run facility we have a limited budget and do not have a full service clinic. If the pet is in need of treatment beyond the scope of our capabilities in house, we will seek assistance through charitable organizations that assist us with these needs. ALL out-of-the-ordinary medical care must be pre-approved by our veterinarian.
Q: What expenses does the foster family have to cover?
A: If we do not have donations available, foster families will incur the following expenses for their foster pets: food, treats, collar and leash, toys and chewies. Each foster home will need to also have basics on hand, such as food and water bowls, crate and/or X-pen, car harness or tether, pet bed, shampoo, nail clippers, "accident" cleaner (enzyme-based, such as Simple Solution), pooper scooper and baby gates. These are not required but are items that could be needed.
Q: If a foster dog destroys something of mine, will I be reimbursed?
A: Sorry, no. Our budget doesn't cover loss of property. We recommend that you keep a close monitoring eye on each new dog until you're assured of his trustworthiness. We recommend crating pets when no one is home.
Q: May I independently find someone to adopt my foster pet?
A: Sure! But the prospective adopter still must go through our MCAS adoption process. We are legally responsible for each animal brought into our organization, and have an obligation to follow proper procedures to ensure that the animal will be going to the right home. If you have a relative, friend, or neighbor that is interested in your foster pet, have them fill out an adoption application.
Q: How long does it take to get approved as a foster home?
A: It can take us a few days and if needed may contact you for an interview. We reserve the right for a home visit. Generally it takes just a short time before you hear if you're approved to be an MCAS foster home. Email the foster coordinator to set up foster arrangements at email@example.com
Q: Do you have short-term foster opportunities available?
A: We often do have short-term foster opportunities ahead of our plan transports! Please inquire with our foster coordinator.