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I was wondering if anyone has submitted foster care as experience. I am planning on fostering some animals in order to socialize them and to help them find homes. Does anyone know if this is acceptable non-veterinary experience? I ask because it is similar to pet ownership, but someone will be aware of what sort of a job I am doing and will do a follow-up.
We've had this question before, and this is a great thing to put on your application! The OVC is looking for evidence that you can handle extracurriculars while you maintain full time semesters for your application, and this definitely qualifies.
Hi, i am interested in doing this this year and i am wondering how i would go about doing it. I have tried to research places but i'm not entirely sure where to start, Any information would be greatly appreciated. thanks
Depending on where you are located, there are probably lots of rescue groups that would welcome a phone call/email from a prospective foster home. I approached the humane society in my city and foster out animals for them.
Congrats on considering fostering ;D It can be a very rewarding experience to help an animal on its way to a permanent home.
Where to start:
Firstly, you should figure out WHAT you want to foster. Shelters, rescue groups, and foster opportunities exist for all common animals, and many uncommon ones as well (e.g., dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, other small mammals, turtles, reptiles, horses, donkeys, alpacas, cows, etc., etc., etc.). In addition to species, many rescue groups are type and/or breed specific (e.g., groups for all types of hounds, groups for just chihuahuas, groups for just Siamese cats, etc., etc., etc.). So, even if you want to narrow it down to a specific type or breed of animal, you can in all likelihood find a related foster opportunity. Also take age into consideration (e.g., fostering a very young animal versus a mature animal; both are a rewarding experience, yet quite different).
Secondly, look at what you are CAPABLE of fostering. Many species or organizations have specialized requirements you need before starting to foster, which all people may not be able to provide (e.g., separate/dedicated foster animal room, cages, enclosures, space, equipment, experience, etc.). Make sure you have available an appropriate amount of time for the specific species/breed you are looking at, as the need for enrichment, interaction, and training differs highly between species and individual breeds therein. You also need to be able to commit to the length of time that may be required, as this can range from short-term (i.e., days) to long-term (i.e., weeks, months, over a year). You need to consider how the supplies and costs are covered, as some foster opportunities will pay for or provide you with items like food, vet care, equipment, enclosures (if applicable), etc., but others may only cover these costs partially or not at all. You also need to look at whether you are able to take care of animals with increased needs, such as those with medical concerns, very young or very old animals, those needing training/obedience, or those with behavioural issues. Many foster animals are perfectly "normal," but you should consider what you are willing to do when looking to foster, as most foster organizations will ask about this when you apply, and many of these animals come with unknown backgrounds, so surprises can come up. You also need to consider your type of household, as fostering an animal may affect others in your house, including both other animals and people.
Thirdly, where to actually FIND foster opportunities: there are lots of places and many different organizations, so word-of-mouth and Google are your friends (so long as you do your own due diligence on the organization in which you are interested). As well, once you have considered the above two points you should have a good idea of what kind of foster animal would be a good fit for you, and this will help focus your search.
As seb mentioned in the previous post, most humane societies and shelters have foster programs with which you can apply to volunteer (from a quick search, it appears the Guelph Humane Society has enough foster people at present, www.guelph-humane.on.ca/foster_care.htm, but there are other shelters in the area).
You can also search for rescue organizations for specific species or breeds. For example, do a Google search for "hound rescue Ontario," and you'll get organizations that are looking for foster families specifically for hounds of all breeds. Similarly, you could search for "Siamese rescue Ontario," and you'll get results specifically for Siamese cat foster opportunities. I think you get the picture: do a search for "rescue" or "fostering" for whatever species and/or breed you are interested in, and you should find at least some results.
Just another little thing to keep in mind as you go is, whether a shelter or rescue group, you'll eventually need to figure out how you will actually get the animal, as some may require you to pick it up somewhere, while others may be able to arrange for it to be transported to you.
Finally, to actually START fostering, simply contact the organization(s) you have found that seem to be a good fit for your expectations and abilities. Most have a relatively simple application form to complete (e.g., contact info, prior animal experience, etc.) and you are on your way to fostering an animal in need.
Last Edit: Jan 19, 2013 21:17:57 GMT -5 by dreizehn
How do we record volunteer hours for fostering animals? I fostered a puppy for over a month. Do I include every hour of every day as volunteer experience on my BIF?
I had similar concerns with my application. I just considered the number of hours per week as the number of hours I spent towards actually caring for the animal (walking, grooming, socializing, etc)- generally a few hours each day. In the description, I put the length of time I fostered for to clarify.