Foster: Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does The Yakima Humane Society Need Foster Homes?

Foster homes are in a unique position to expand Yakima Humane Society assets to rehabilitate animals in need. Often times the Yakima Humane Society receives animals that are not deemed "adoptable" for numerous reasons; including pregnant mothers, nursing babies, sick, injured, or behaviorally challenged animals. These animals require extra time and care to become "adoptable", which is why foster homes are needed.

What Do Foster Homes Do?

Foster homes provide Yakima Humane Society animals with temporary care and shelter until they are "adoptable". Foster homes are asked to provide foster animals with plenty of love, adequate food and water, shelter from the elements and exercise. Administering medication may also be necessary. In addition to providing the basics, foster homes may also be asked to transport foster animals to veterinary appointments and adoption events.

Foster homes play a crucial role in rehabilitating rescued animals. They are in a unique position to help abused or neglected animals learn how to love and trust again. Foster homes can help these animals become more "adoptable" by providing socialization and basic training. By teaching or re-teaching an animal how to live in a home setting, foster homes help increase the odds for a smooth and successful transition into a permanent adoptive home.

In the case of orphaned baby animals, foster homes provide surrogate parenting and round-the-clock care for tiny animals that are too young to survive on their own. By providing orphaned animals with plenty of nutrition, love and stimulation during their first eight weeks of life, foster homes help ensure their health and survival as adults. What do foster homes do? Any way you look at it, foster homes save lives.

What Are The Requirements For Becoming A Foster Home?

The only general requirements are that you love animals and have the time and resources to provide a foster animal with adequate care. Other requirements will vary depending upon the specific needs of a given foster animal. Some animals, for example, will need fenced yards, extra time commitments (as is the case with orphaned newborns), isolation from personal pets, etc...

Foster homes are required to follow all policies and procedures regarding humane housing and care, administering medication, and proper adoption procedures, including:

Separate Housing and Vaccinations for Personal Pets:  For the safety and health of shelter animals and your pets, keep foster animals separated from your pets until the foster animal is deemed healthy and well-socialized. There is always a chance that a foster animal could become seriously ill and your pets would be at risk. It is mandatory that all of your own pets be current with their vaccinations. Note, however, that some diseases have no preventative vaccination, so separation and sanitation is critical.

Proper Medication Practice:  If necessary, your foster animal may be on a strict medication regimen. You are required to attend training to administer the appropriate medication in the appropriate amount and manner. Failure to attend to these procedures can be detrimental to the foster animals health, and will result in dismissal from our Foster Program.

When It's Time to Adopt / Return the Foster Animal to the Shelter:  Please keep in mind that you have temporary care of the foster animal. The animal remains the property of the Yakima Humane Society, and any decisions regarding care, adoption, transfer or euthanasia of your foster animal will be made by Yakima Humane Society staff.

Euthanasia:  We cannot predict the future health of many animals that go into foster care. If a foster animal becomes critically ill or displays inappropriate aggression, it may be necessary to euthanize the animal. We will make every effort to have a staff member discuss this with you if it becomes necessary to euthanize a foster animal due to health and / or behavior problems.

What Kind Of Animals Need Foster Care?

Animals needing foster care include cats, dogs and occasionally a small and furry animal. Foster homes are needed for adults, babies, moms with newborns, and orphaned newborns. Foster homes are also needed for animals who are ill and / or need medical care. Many foster homes choose to specialize in fostering a specific kind of animal, while others choose to foster whatever animal is in need. Dogs usually need help with basic training and sometimes need a refresher course in house-training. All foster animals will need plenty of love and reassurance that humans are not to be feared.

How Long Do Animals Spend In Foster Care?

The time an animal needs to spend in foster care ranges from a few nights to several weeks - on occasion several months. Any time commitment a foster home can make is desperately needed and appreciated. Foster animals, especially puppies and kittens, can be very time-consuming and demanding. "Socialization" not only includes feeding / watering, but also play, cuddle and grooming time. The time commitment varies depending upon each animal's situation.

How Do Foster Animals Find Permanent Adoptive Homes?

The Yakima Humane Society takes full responsibility for finding permanent adoptive homes for foster animals. Foster homes are encouraged to let people know that their foster animals are available for adoption, but any person interested in adopting an animal needs to contact the shelter to complete the adoption procedure. Foster homes are asked to complete the Personality Profile for each animal in their care. The Personality Profile provides the shelter with valuable information regarding your foster animal and will ultimately assist in finding a permanent adoptive home.