Fostering a pet is an extremely rewarding and fun experience for everyone. If you are looking to make a difference, but can’t make the commitment to adopt, fostering may be the answer.
The Loudoun County Animal Services (LCAS) foster program focuses on providing temporary housing for shelter animals in need! Foster volunteers open their homes and hearts to animals who require extra attention and care, including those who are too young for adoption, require socialization and/or need medical care.
Becoming a foster care provider is a big decision, but a very rewarding one. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are ready:
- Does fostering fit into my life and home? While in your home, foster animals become a part of your daily routine. You will spend time feeding, cleaning and socializing. You will also need to be able to make trips to and from the shelter and/or the shelter's contracted veterinarian's office. If an emergency should occur, you must be able to promptly transport the animal to a designated veterinarian for treatment.
- Am I able to separate foster animals from my own animals? For the health of all animals, it is best to keep your pets separate from shelter pets. An area with no carpet works best.
- Does my schedule allow for fostering? Consider your day-to-day routine and assess how much time you have to spend with foster animals. The fostering period can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the needs of the animal. During the foster period, you will need to pay close attention to your foster pets to monitor their health and normal behavior patterns (ie - eating habits, weight gain/loss, etc). By doing this, you can quickly spot signs of illness or any other concerns.
- Am I comfortable explaining to friends and family that these foster animals are not mine to adopt out and that they have to follow the LCAS adoption process? If you are interested in helping to find homes for your foster animals, please refer friends and family to shelter staff. LCAS staff will assist with the adoption process so you can focus on caring for your foster pet.
- Am I emotionally prepared to return animals to the shelter at the end of the foster period? It can be difficult to return a foster pet to the shelter once you have become emotionally attached. Many of our staff members have fostered shelter pets and understand the emotions involved with the return process. Remember that because of your love and attention, these pets-in-need have had time in a warm and nurturing home environment. The hard work of foster volunteers saves lives!
The staff of LCAS assesses the needs of shelter animals and determines who would benefit from time in a foster home.
Cats & Kittens
Care for pregnant cats, nursing feline mothers and their babies, young kittens who need to be bottle-fed (additional training required), and weaned kittens less than eight weeks old who are not yet ready for adoption. The program also helps cats and kittens needing to go into foster homes for medical reasons or socialization. The shelter receives many kittens during "kitten season" May to October.
Dogs & Puppies
Care for dogs with medical or behavior needs and occasionally nursing mothers with puppies or puppies without a mother that are too young to adopt. The LCAS Training and Behavior Specialist works with the foster care program to assist canines in need.
Such as rabbits and guinea pigs, benefit from time in a foster home where they are provided with one-on-one care and socialization to prepare them for adoption.
- Our foster program is full for the spring. Please check back next month as we will open the next round of foster signup! Please note that applicants must be 18 years of age to apply for the foster program.
- The application is received by the shelter and submitted for review. Applicants may be contacted for a follow-up conversation.
- LCAS provides training and reference materials for foster volunteers. An orientation is required for foster applicants within the first year. We also provide each new foster volunteer with a manual full of important information, including phone numbers for questions or emergencies.
- Those interested in bottle-fed kittens must attend a training class as these little ones require extensive care.
If you are not able to foster and would still like to help in some way, we have information about other volunteer opportunities on our Volunteer page. Please take a moment to review how you can help shelter animals in need.
One-Day Dog Field Trips
Join us for our one-day dog field trip program! Go for a hike, explore a local park, relax in your backyard! We provide the poop bags, treats, leashes, collars, harnesses and shelter dog - You provide the adventure!
You will be contacted a few days before your field trip date to confirm your trip and finalize details. Sign up here!
Thank you for your interest in our foster program! If you have any questions, please email us.