Foster Program Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What types of animals need to be fostered?

A: Foster programs aren’t just for kittens and puppies. Nearly any animal we have can benefit from foster care:

  • Orphaned kittens and puppies needing to be bottle fed
  • Mother cat or dog with nursing kittens or puppies
  • Under-aged, self-feeding kittens and puppies (4-8 weeks old)
  • Animals recovering from injury or illness (may need medication)
  • Shy or fearful animals that need socialization
  • Healthy adult animals waiting for space at the shelter, or that need a break from life at the shelter
  • Animals that are mildly sick; such as Kennel Cough in dogs or Upper Respiratory Infection in cats. These animals may need medication.
  • Animals that would benefit from home to home adoption

Q: What are the duties of a DAWS Foster Family?

  • A: Bring your foster animal(s) to scheduled vet appointments and open houses to be viewed by potential adopters
  • Feed, socialize, love, groom, introduce basic training, and care for the animals as if they were your own
  • Observe and report any problems with the animal to the Foster Care Coordinator
  • Return the animal to the Shelter upon request or according to any special arrangements made by the Foster Coordinator or DAWS Staff.
  • Comply with Danbury Animal Welfare’s policies and foster volunteers should consider themselves ambassadors of the Foster Care Program

Q: What are the benefits of fostering?

A: There are many benefits to fostering. They include but are not limited to:

  • Many people want to volunteer directly with animals but lack the time or inclination to do so in a shelter environment
  • Others may want to adopt a pet, but cannot
  • Some may want to experience the joys of a companion animal in the home, but are not ready for the long-term commitment of adoption
  • You choose the type of animal you are comfortable with inviting into your home
  • Foster Volunteers receive unconditional love and companionship from foster animals. Fostering can be a welcome relief from loneliness for seniors.

Q: How old you need to be to foster?

A: Foster parents must be at least 21 years old.

Q: Will a DAWS representative visit my home?

A: Yes, the foster care coordinator or designee will conduct an initial home visit.

Q: What type of training do I receive?

A: All possible foster families must attend a Foster Parent Program Training Session Orientation. These will be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time.

Q: What are the financial responsibilities associated with fostering?

A: Danbury Animal Welfare Society will provide all medications and age appropriate vaccines through adoption, Spaying/Neutering, food, including puppy/kitten formula(upon request)*, litter(upon request)*, crates or exercise pens, especially for litters, special Items on a case-by-case basis, direct supervision by Foster Coordinator including necessary vet needs of the animals.

Additionally, all information about the animal that we have, including any special needs or problems due to experiences before it reached our Shelter. (Unanticipated problems may occur because owners sometimes omit information when they surrender an animal, and of course we have no information on animals that come in as strays other than what we observe at the Shelter.)

*We greatly appreciate if foster families can provide food and litter. This is considered an in-kind donation to DAWS and will be treated as such through the in-kind donation process. The in-kind donations are tax deductible. The in-kind form is included in the Foster Care Manual. Please note we cannot reimburse foster parents without prior Foster Care Coordinator approval.

Q: How will I receive my foster assignment?

A: The Foster Program Coordinator will contact you when animals are in need of foster care. You will get a Foster Animal Fact Sheet which will indicate the name, age and description of the animal(s), and if applicable, any medications the foster animal is taking and the approximate date for vaccinations and spay/neuter.

Q: How long will the animal(s) be in my home?

A: It depends on the situation. The average stay in a foster home can range from a few weeks to a few months.

Q: How much time does fostering take on a daily basis?

A: Time commitment can range from an hour or two each day to as much as eight hours a day if you are bottle-feeding infants.

Q: Do I need to have prior medical knowledge or expertise?

A: No prior medical knowledge is required. However, we routinely de-worm all kittens and puppies every 2 weeks starting at 4 weeks of age until 12 weeks of age. If you foster very young animals, you will likely be asked to provide two liquid, oral doses of the de-worming medicine to them.

Q: What if my foster animal becomes sick?

A: If a foster animal becomes sick, foster parents should contact the Foster Care Coordinator to schedule a visit with the veterinarian. This will most likely take place at DAWS. All approved veterinary costs are paid by DAWS.

Q: I have my own animals, can I foster?

A: Yes, but keep in mind that it’s always a health risk to expose your animal to other animals even if those animals are healthy. The health risk is minimal if your animals are current on their vaccinations, maintains a healthy diet and lifestyle, and are not elderly or very young.

Q: What if I have children?

A: Fostering is a wonderful family experience and can build a foundation of philanthropy in your children. It’s important to select an animal that is age-appropriate with your children. You must also be diligent about providing guidance, instructions and rules to your children about caring for your foster animal.

Q: Can I name my foster animal?

A: Our foster animals already have names. We ask that you do not change the name we have given them as their name corresponds with medical and other important records.

Q: Can I adopt my foster animal?

A: YES! As long as foster parents meet the shelter requirements necessary for adoption, foster parents have first choice to adopt their foster pet. Paperwork is required and our regular adoption fees usually apply.

Q: How are foster animals marketed so that they get adopted?

A: The photos and stories you provide are posted on our website and sent to approved adopters.

Q: Can I return my foster animal to the shelter if I am unable to foster any longer?

A: We prefer that foster parents continue to foster until we find a permanent home for their foster animal. It’s extremely stressful for an animal to be returned to the shelter environment.

However, we understand that situations change and it may become necessary to discontinue fostering. We request that a foster parent provide as much notice as possible so that we can find an alternative foster home to transfer the animal to. Of course, in an emergency a foster parent may always bring their animal back to the shelter.

Q:What if I go on vacation or have a business trip?

A: If given enough notice, we can usually find volunteers that can foster sit for short durations. We ask that foster parents always keep the Foster Program Coordinator aware of any temporary foster sitting situations.

Q: I am interested in fostering. How do I contact DAWS?

A: Please email expressing your interest in fostering. Please provide some information about yourself/family including what you are interested in fostering, whether there are other animals in the home, whether there are children in the house and contact information including a email address and a phone number. Or put link to the foster application form.