Thursday, September 6, 2012

Frequently Asked Foster Questions


As the Foster Care Coordinator I receive many inquires about our program. Here's a little more info on the program!


Q: Why is fostering important for an animal shelter like BEBHS?
Velvet and Vi playing in their foster home!
A: Due to our fire in 2010 all of our on-site cat and kitten housing was destroyed. We have relied upon the dedication of our fosters to keep our cat program going. The foster care program is vital to saving lives. Each week we visit the local municipal shelters and rescue felines. Once they are medically cleared they go into foster homes to await medical procedures, to become more socialized, to gain weight for spay/neuter surgery (2 pounds), or to have a place to live while during the week when they are not up for adoption. Taking cats or kittens into foster care provides them with an opportunity at another life.Although fostering is a lot of work, it is a very rewarding experience. You get to help cats and kittens live until they find their forever homes. Without you, none of this would be possible. 

Q: Which animals are in your foster program?
A: At this moment we only have a foster program for cats and kittens. They love being in a home, as you can see from the photos! It is a great experience for them to be in an actual home!

Q: What are the requirements to be a foster at BEBHS?
A: In order to become a foster parent with us you will need to meet these qualifications:
-Love and concern for animals.
-Be 18 years of age or older.
-Willingness to provide food, water, general care, and medication if necessary.
-Provide a clean living environment.
-Time to dedicate towards socialization of the animals.
-Ability to keep foster cats/kittens separate from resident animals
-Transportation to and from BEBHS for medical appointments.-Understand and follow BEBHS foster and medical care protocols.     

Q: Are there trainings to become a foster? If so, where can I see the schedule of the trainings?
A: A typical foster training will last around 1 hour. Our next scheduled orientation is Saturday September 29th at 9:00am. If you check on our website, under orientations, upcoming trainings will be listed. We aim to do one per month.   

Q. Can I foster if I have pets? 
A: Foster animals should never meet your pets. Your foster animal, while under your care, is still legally BEBHS’ animal. While an animal is in our care, and by extension your care, we want to keep it as healthy and happy as possible. If you introduce your pet to a foster animal many things can go wrong.           
-Animals in the shelter system are under a lot of stress. Often times they need a peaceful environment in order to feel safe. One of the most stressful experiences for an animal is the meeting of another animal.            
-Animals are animals. Even if you feel confident that your animal enjoys spending time with other animals, no one can say for certain. There is no way to tell if something could set an animal off and cause them to be physically aggressive. We do not want your pet or our animal to be harmed in anyway while in a foster home.            
-Animals can spread disease. Many animals can appear healthy but have underlying health issues that we may not be aware of. There is a risk that this could be passed to your pets if they were to meet. This can also go the other way – your animal could have something that could be passed to our animal.It is in the animals’ best interest that they not meet in order to prevent any physical altercations or medical problems from occurring. How can I become a foster?You can sign up on our website under the tab ‘Foster Care Program’. If you want more information please feel free to email the Foster Care Coordinator at foster@berkeleyhumane.org or call 510.845.3633 ext. 14.

 Q: What are my obligations as a foster?
Earl Grey lounging with his foster family.
A: As a foster you will be responsible for giving the cats and kittens daily care and lots and lots of affection! You must be able to provide a clean living environment where they will have access to food and water, a litter box, and a place to stretch out and play. Some cats, especially kittens, will need to come in for medical appointments. If a cat is up for adoption you will need to drop them off Saturday morning (sometime before 11) and if they are not adopted you will have to pick them up Sunday evening (sometime between 4:30-6:00). In addition to the role of caregiver and parent, you will be required to fill out a foster profile form to gives us a better idea of the animal’s personality. Photos and videos are amazing forms of advertisement as well. The more information you can give us about the animal the more we can advertise and get them adopted! 

Q: What is the reward of fostering?
A: There are many rewards of fostering cats and kittens. Not only do you have a friend to great you everyday, you are able to give someone else their forever friend. 

Here is a photo of me (Rosa the Foster Care Coordinator on the left and Ashley Davidson a Shelter Services Assistant on the right) and one of our adopted kittens (Pendant) that is now a beautiful teenage cat. 

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