Fostering with Motley Zoo Animal Rescue
1) I am interested in fostering. What does it entail?
A. Thanks for your interest! We do not have a shelter location. All rescues are housed in private volunteer foster homes, where they receive personal one-on-one care in a home environment. Because of this, we are only able to save as many animals for which we have foster homes. We are very supportive of our fosters and are here to help you each step of the way. In general, all it requires is that you fill one more bowl in the morning, hold one more leash on your walks, and kiss one more nose before you go to bed. You care for these animals in the same you already care for your own.
2) How long would a foster stay with me?
A. For dogs, it takes typically 2 to 4 weeks to find their new home, although the length of time for any animal depends on many factors, such as: age, breed, gender, size, time of year, and even fur color! For cats, even kittens, it typically takes 1 to 3 months. This is due to the epidemic of cats and kittens in need. We hope that our foster families can commit to fostering an animal until the adoptive family is found, so as to reduce the stress on the animal from moving from home to home. But that said, we also understand that this is not always possible, due to emergencies, vacations and other planned or unplanned interruptions. We will work with your availability and needs.
3) What will it cost me to foster?
A. Nothing! We vet the animals, spay/neuter them, get them current on their vaccines, deworm them, give them flea treatment and any other necessary vetting, most often before they even move into foster care. When available, we can lend crates, leashes, collars, beds, towels, bowls and can even provide food if needed, although most of our fosters provide their own food as part of their charitable activity. Any supplies you purchase for your foster are tax-deductible.
Our foster homes are the backbone of our organization. Without fosters, we would be unable to save these animals in need. We do not feel financial concerns of our foster should be an obstacle to savings lives, so we work hard to support our fosters in the same way they support us and these deserving pets.
4) What if I get attached to my fosters? I don’t know if I will be able to let go…
A. Of course you will get attached to your fosters! You will find that you love each and every one of them, and that’s what will make you a great foster. Many people say to us that they “love animals too much” to let them go, but letting them go is actually the best gift you can give, to both yourself, the animals and the adoptive families. It’s because of our love for each of these little souls, and our desire to save so many lives, that we are able to act so selflessly, even when it hurts a little. These animals deserve their own homes where they are the center of someone’s life and we know we can save far more animals by letting them go, than by holding on to them.
Once you see the adoptive family, the excitement on their faces and the love in their hearts, you will know the true gift of fostering. We have found that by changing so little, just by hosting a new little face in your home for a short time, you really change so much. It’s a gift of life and love and a lesson in selflessness. We cannot say it won’t be hard. The first one is always the hardest to let go. But we can and will quickly distract you with another adorable pup or kitty, just as much in need of your snuggles! And to be honest, in our many years of rescue work, we have yet to have someone stop fostering because it was too hard on their heart. In fact, many cannot stop fostering because it just feels too good!
5) I have kids. Can I still foster? Will it be hard on them?
A. We have many fosters who have children and we have found that they love the experience! It’s such a great opportunity for your kids to learn many powerful life lessons about the joys of volunteering, the act of selflessness, and the value in every life, not to mention responsible pet ownership. The kids seem to accept and adjust to the temporary nature of fostering better than the adults! And they are always excited to meet the next foster!
For our homes fostering dogs, we do ask that for the safety of both the dogs and the children that the children are over the age of 5 years. For families with kids under the age of 5 years, we welcome you to foster our cats, kittens, or small animals. Otherwise, we would still love to have you on board as volunteers in other avenues of the rescue. We have many fun ways for people of all ages to get involved with animal rescue.
Never underestimate the abilities of your children! They surprise us every day with their strength and giving nature.
6) Do you require a fenced-in yard? Do you require I own my own home?
A. No. All we require is your landlord’s consent, if you rent. Some lower-energy lap dogs or escape artists are often well suited for apartment and condo living, whereas some higher-energy dogs or dogs that are big talkers are more suited for a home environment with a fenced yard. Either way, we will work to match a foster animal to your needs, given your abilities and environment. We assess all our dogs and then make the best matches possible based on that particular animal’s needs and the needs of our fosters. Keep in mind that one of the lessons we work to teach all our dogs is how to walk properly on a leash, so as long as you are willing to walk your foster doggie a bit each day, things will work well no matter your particular living situation. And we will give you all the skill you need to help these pups learn their leash manners.
7) But I work full-time. Can I still foster?
A. Yes, you absolutely can still foster and we would be glad to have you. Most of the population works full-time and own pets too, so we don’t find this to be any different. To these dogs, even ten minutes of your time each day is worth more than a lifetime in the shelter. Shelter environments are very stressful and over-stimulating for these animals, so they find it a blessing to have a warm, dry, quiet place to rest even while you are away. And as someone who has personally fostered hundreds of dogs and cats over the past four years while still maintaining a full-time job, I can tell you it’s really no different than caring for the animals you already have in your home. You will find fostering much easier than you anticipate and we are glad to have you, despite your work schedule, as are the animals. It’s also good to remember that animals need many more hours of sleep than humans, so while you scurry off to your job, you can trust that your furry friends quickly settle down for a good eight hour nap.
We are big advocates of crate training and work to crate train all our foster dogs as a rule. This skill will help their transition into your home, while keeping them safe as you are away at work. And of course, if for any reason one of our foster animal is not adjusting well to your schedule, we will work to help you with this transition, or move the animal to one of our stay-at-home fosters. That said, we have not found this to be much of an issue. It’s also good to keep in mind that most adoptive families also work full-time jobs, as most people do, so it’s good for the animal to adjust to your schedule so that their adjustment into a new home is easier.
8) Where do your rescue animals come from?
A. As a foster-based non-profit animal rescue, we primarily support local shelters that are overwhelmed. The shelter environment is highly stimulating and stressful for animals. Many animals do not do well under those conditions. A number of local shelters call us when they are out of room, out of time, and have pets in need of the tender one-on-one care they know our quality foster homes provide. From pampered purebred pups with AKC papers, whose loving owner has passed away, to mysterious mixes who were born on the streets, our dogs come from all walks of life. But one thing all these animals have in common is that they are so grateful for their second chance at life, making the most loving, loyal companions.
9) Would I be responsible to find the animal its new home?
A. We greatly value all our fosters’ input on what type of home they think is best for their foster animal, but we do not require our fosters to take on the burden our or responsibility of finding their animal its new home. We have a fine-tuned application process and will work to find the best match. If appropriate, we invite the foster to accompany us when we have the Meet and Greet with the potential adopter, but this is not a requirement. All you have to do is provide the animal your love, some structure, and understanding and we take care of all the rest!