Foster FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I Foster If I Have Kids?
Yes! Fostering animals is a good learning experience for children. It teaches them responsibility and empathy as well as the benefits of making sacrifices for the greater good of the community. The appropriateness of the children’s ages depends on the situation. Toddlers shouldn’t be around large dogs who can easily knock them over or nervous dogs of any size. However, kittens would love gentle pets from little ones. If you foster with children, please be extra attentive and never leave them alone with animals.

Please keep in mind that bringing a foster animal into your home is akin to bringing in another child. Please don’t overexert yourself.

What Is The Hardest Part?
The hardest part for most fosters is giving the foster animals back after forming an attachment. Take it from long term foster, Lynette S:

“I’ve been fostering kittens for 15 years now and have fostered hundreds. My very first litter was really emotional and difficult to return. Now I think of it as graduation day, I feel proud of the healthy, playful and affectionate kitten(s) I’ve raised in just a few short weeks.”

The hardest part for a few fosters is experiencing a loss. The reality is, that every once in a while an animal doesn’t make it, through no fault of the foster. When it does happen however, fosters are made aware of the likelihood of it happening before taking them home. It is usually a struggling bottle-fed kitten. You don’t have to accept those types of cases if you aren’t comfortable. We do have wonderful fosters like Vickie W. who have been through it before and will continue to take on the challenge:

“The part I don’t love is when there really isn’t anything else I can try to save a kitten.  There will be losses, and it hurts.  But there are so many that do survive and thrive and move on to wonderful adoptive homes.  That makes it all worth it.”  

Can I Foster If I Already Have Animals?
Yes. In many cases it is helpful for our fosters to introduce dogs, cats, and other pets and farm animals to puppies (not kittens*) and older dogs to help them socialize. However, any animals residing inside the home must be fully vaccinated and up-to-date on those vaccinations and cannot have a history of contagious diseases.

*Kittens are highly susceptible to diseases and must be kept in a separate space from all other animals.

Are My Pets At Risk Of Contracting An Illness Or Disease?

We examine all of our animals before sending them out into a foster home. We will not send an animal home with you if there is a known risk of transmission to your pets.  However, it isn’t unheard of for animals to show signs of a mild illness after being placed into a home. This is why we require your pets to be fully vaccinated. If a foster has a concern, we will happily address the issue in a way that protects your pets.

Will a foster animal cause damage in my home?

Foster animals, like any other companion animal in your home, do have the potential for destruction. Young animals are more likely to have accidents as they may not yet be potty-trained. Taking dogs and puppies out frequently for breaks and preparing your home by removing valuable items and providing enrichment items (toys, climbing towers for cats, etc.) can prevent most accidents.

Do I Have To Foster Both Cats And Dogs?

No. You can be on the Cat Foster list, the Dog Foster list, or both. And remember, you don’t have to accept a call-out if you don’t want to.

What If I Want To Adopt My Foster Animal?

Fosters often adopt their foster animals. We cheerfully call them “Foster Failures”. Fosters are more than welcome to adopt their charges, but they still have to apply for the animal and pay the adoption fee like everybody else, including staff and volunteers. The same goes for any friends you may have introduced the foster animals to while in your home.

Once having adopted an animal, fosters can still foster other animals, but they may have to be a little more selective about who they can bring into their home.

What If There Is An Emergency With My Foster Animal?

We have a 24-hour emergency hotline number we give to our fosters once they are approved. If the emergency happens during regular business hours, fosters may reach out to our clinic.

What If My Foster Animal Isn’t Fitting Into My Home At All?

If a foster situation isn’t working out, just let us know. It happens from time to time. We will take the animal back and try to find it a different foster.

Will This Fulfill School Required Volunteer Hours?

That depends on the school. Here at BHS, we would happily sign off on the hours spent fostering as we know that fostering is just as important as when volunteers walk dogs and pet cats on site.

Will This Fulfill Court Ordered Community Service?

Unfortunately at this time, neither fostering nor volunteering hours for BHS can be counted for court ordered community service.

How Do I Keep Track Of My Hours?

The number of hours you get per day of fostering depends on the type of fostering you do. Most types of fostering equate each day to 2-3 hours of foster work. The foster coordinator tracks these hours at the end of each month and keeps a running total. You may inquire any time of how many hours you have.

Must I Live In Chico?

We have fosters in Corning, Paradise, and Oroville as well as in the greater Chico area. We happily accept fosters that live a town away. Just remember that it is the fosters’ responsibility to pick the animal up and to bring the foster animal to BHS for examination, vaccine, spay & neuter, and adoption appointments. The farther out you are, the more flexible your schedule should be.

Can I Give My Foster Animal A Bath?

Most likely, but not always. When an animal has recently been spayed or neutered, it must stay away from water for 10 days after. Other reasons an animal might not be allowed to get bathed may be due to skin issues.

Can I Take My Foster Dog To The Dog Park And Around Town?

No dogs that are under “ownership” of BHS are allowed in the dog park, or anywhere they would be off-leash. This is to protect the fosters and BHS from legal risks of damage to other dogs, people, and property. However, if you have a fully vaccinated dog, fosters are in fact encouraged to take the dogs out for walks on leash as it helps them get exposure and leash-training.

  • Never leave a BHS dog in a car at any time of year.
  • Under-vaccinated puppies must not go anywhere outside the foster home and yard as the risk for contracting an illness is not worth it.
Do I Need A Kitchen Scale?

You don’t need one, but it could be helpful if you plan on fostering kittens. As a rule, kittens must be 2lbs (and 8 weeks old) to be spayed or neutered. It wouldn’t be fun to schedule a surgery just to find out that a kitten is only 1.8 lbs. If you don’t have a precision scale, we can either have you bring the kitten down to our clinic to be weighed, or we can schedule the surgery a few days passed the expected date just to play it safe.