So you’ve decided you really want to foster an animal. Nice! But now what should you do?
Look around to find the animal shelters and rescue organizations in your area. I bet you’ll discover some that you didn’t know about! I did simple search using Petfinder and found more than 400 of them – just in New Jersey! Petfinder lists animals for adoption by zipcode and you’ll have location and contact information for the organization that posted the animal. Check each organization’s website and social media; many times there will be links to apply as a foster family.
Here’s a few places with searchable databases so you can find groups within a reasonable distance of your home:
Also, there are groups on Facebook, exclusively dedicated to sharing information about animals that need rescue, foster or adoption. In the menu on the left side of your Facebook Home page (under “Explore”) click on “Groups.” You can check out the suggested groups or do a search using keywords such as, “Foster NJ” or “Animals Needing Homes.” Some of the groups I’ve found are listed below, but I’m sure there’s more!
- Adopt Or Foster A Rescue In New Jersey
- Animals In NJ That Need Homes
- Animals That Need Forever Homes In NJ
- Dogs, Cats And Other Critters In NJ Rescues Needing Permanent Homes
- NJ/NY/PA Dog Foster Volunteer Network
- Paws N Claws In Northern NJ That Need Homes
- Pets In NJ That Need Homes
You’ll find different levels of fostering commitment depending upon the organization, the animal and the situation. If you’re just testing the waters, you can start with mini-fostering assignments like walking a shelter dog or doing overnight or weekend fostering. If you choose to foster puppies or kittens, they usually get adopted more quickly than adult dogs. Certain breeds or ‘looks’ (fluffy, long-hair types) tend to get adopted sooner, too. On the other hand, some breeds (like pibbles and bullies or other large dogs) and adult or senior dogs may stay with foster families a very long time – or forever.
SPECIAL NEEDS Sometimes foster homes are needed for special situations or animals:
Deployed Soldiers – Organizations such as Dogs On Deployment, Guardian Angels For Soldier’s Pet, and PACT for Animals specialize in this
Caregiver’s temporary illness – especially now, during the CV-19 surge
Displaced families or animals due to natural disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes
Fospice care for terminally ill animals
This is the most important step. Not all animal groups are created equally and it is up to you to perform due diligence to find a reputable one that’s a good match for you. Please do research in the following areas before signing a fostering or adoption contract.
- Business Basics
- The People
- The Animals
- Systems & Processes
- Training & Support
- Policies & Expectations
Here’s a list of specific things to consider; some things may be very important to you and some may not. However, you’ll probably find that there’s quite a variation within the group of organizations that are in your local area. Here’s to making the very best choice for the animal, the organization – and you!
Feel free to comment below with additional suggestions for finding an excellent fostering situation.