A very special love

Fostering takes a very special type of volunteer, one who can give whole hearted love to a pet, then pass that gift on to the adopter and do it again.

First Base

Fostering is the first base, on the way to a home run!

  • Why does Helping Strays need a Foster Care Program? The foster program allows Helping Strays to greatly expand our ability to rescue and rehabilitate animals. Because the shelter is always overburdened, foster homes increase the number of pets that can be rescued. Puppies and kittens have so much to learn that can only be learned in a home. Equally important is the need for quiet, loving homes for senior pets with special needs and for those recuperating from surgery or other illness such as heartworm treatment. High energy dogs need the extra room to move that only a home can provide. Cats, too, find the shelter stressful, and having more space and a place to get away from other animals can make all the difference to them.
  • What Does a Foster Parent Do? Foster families provide loving attention and training until these animals are adopted or ready to return to the facility. Basic care, as you would do for your own pet, possibly housetraining, beginning obedience training, transporting your foster pet to adoption events or to the vet, and lots of TLC are all required. Animals in foster care are adopted more quickly and easily than from the shelter facility because so much more is known about the pet’s personality and behavior in a home. Foster parents are always great advocates for their fosterlings, and adopters like that!
  • What does Helping Strays provide to Foster homes? Helping Strays provides information and support so your foster experience will be a positive one. Food, equipment, and all veterinary care is provided. Many of our foster families do donate food, litter and other necessities. That is greatly appreciated but not expected.
  • What are the benefits of being a foster parent? The answers are as varied as the volunteers who foster. Some of the most often heard reasons are: knowing you were directly responsible for saving an animal’s life and vital to her placement in a permanent home; the joy of working with puppies or kittens for just a few weeks then passing them on; the opportunity for a great fun family project that teaches children the joy and responsibility of caring for a pet; and the opportunity to have the pet in the house without a lifetime commitment.
  • Which Pet Will I Foster? Helping Strays matches the foster family to the foster pet. We have foster care volunteers who only handle puppies; some take in recuperating pets. One family knows and loves herding breeds and another enjoys terriers. One foster family is great with kittens. What do you want to do? What sort of experience do you have? What fits your life? Fostering is temporary, but we still want the fit to be good. The choice of your foster pet will always be made with your help and will never be forced.
  • How do I Become A Helping Strays Foster Care Volunteer? Discuss fostering with everyone in your family. Fostering can be harder than adopting and it doesn’t work if the whole household is not on board. Some fosterlings may need more time and training to make their transition to adoption smooth.
    • Obtain landlord approval if necessary
    • Verify that all of your personal pets are healthy and up to date on all vaccinations
    • Fill out the Foster Application form and return it to Helping Strays
    • Have an Helping Strays volunteer visit your home
    • Decide what sort of animal you would like to foster. Dog or cat, adult or youngster, recuperating, calm or vibrantly active
    • Upon approval as a Helping Strays foster care volunteer, obtain the required foster license from the State of Illinois.  This is just a form and payment, to Illinois, of a $25 licensing fee.