Foster parents and the Pup Squad Mission
Pup Squad’s mission is to rescue orphaned and nursing litters from the streets and shelters of Houston and the surrounding area. In order for us to do this our number one requirement is foster homes. Puppies are extremely vulnerable to disease due to their underdeveloped immune systems. They are therefore poorly equipped to deal with life on the streets or in shelters where there is a high likelihood of exposure to contagious illnesses. Puppies need a safe, disease-free environment and placing them in foster homes is the most effective way to provide that for them. Pup Squad has no shelter facility and the number of puppies we can take into our program is therefore completely dependent on the number of foster homes available.
Considerations for Potential Fosters:
Location: This is an important consideration due to the location of our adoption centers, vet clinics, and foster coordinators. If your home is outside the Houston area you will most likely need to do some traveling. There may be times when you will need to transport you foster for shots, vet visits, and adoption events. We do also have need of fosters for puppies and adult dogs that are not yet ready for adoption. If you are located outside Houston you may be able to help us with puppies that are too young to go to their new homes or dogs that are undergoing procedures such as heartworm treatment.
Type of Residence: The type of residence you live in will not prevent you from becoming a Pup Squad foster but it may determine what type of dog or puppy would be best suited to you. If you are in an apartment there are several factors to consider. Are there breed or weight restrictions? Will barking/playing/whining be a potential noise problem for your neighbors? Puppies can be noisy and are usually not housebroken making them less easy to manage in an apartment. Is there a pet deposit that you will need to pay? Do you have enough time to provide sufficient exercise for your foster dog? Apartments tend to be better suited to small adult dogs. High energy dogs work better in a house with a yard where they can let off steam periodically. Even if you own your own home you will want to think about whether your space can accommodate a foster dog. Is your yard secure? Do you have a way to separate your foster from your own animals if necessary? Momma dogs with nursing litters need to have a quiet area where they can be separated from any other pets in the house. Do you have furniture or possessions that need to be protected from your foster dog? It is important that we match you up with a foster dog that will suit your residence so please let us know your living situation in advance.
Lifestyle: Depending on the age and breed of the dog, there are certain foster dogs that will be better matches for certain lifestyles. If you are lucky enough to be home during the day then puppies will be a good match for you. If you work during the day that doesn’t necessarily rule out puppy fostering, but you may need to make a trip home at lunch time to let puppies out, or have a set up that allows them indoor/outdoor access. You will also want to think about how much time you have available for your foster dog. Some need more socialization and training than others. Some enjoy busy households with a lot of coming and going but others prefer a quiet, low key environment.
Existing pets: If you have dogs of your own you will want to consider their needs if you are thinking about fostering. Many dogs adapt very well to having visitors in their home and some really enjoy the company. However, some dogs prefer males and some females, some are fine with puppies but don’t do so well with other adults, and some prefer a high energy playmate to one that doesn’t want to interact with them. In addition, if you have cats or other pets you will want to take age, size and breed into account when deciding which foster dog will work for you.
Children: One of the most important considerations when fostering a pet is of course your children. Are your children old enough to know how to interact with a dog, especially one that may be timid or uncertain? Will they understand that the dog is only with you temporarily? Do you have time for a foster dog? Many of our fosters find that their children enjoy the experience as much as or more than they do, but fostering is not for every family.
Resources: Although we try to provide for all the medical needs of our foster dogs and are sometimes able to provide fosters with donated food, there will inevitably be some out of pocket expenses involved with fostering. For the most part fosters are asked only to provide food for their dogs, but this in itself can be expensive. You may also find that you need to purchase equipment such as a crate or playpen for your foster dogs. Please take this into consideration when you are deciding whether fostering is the right thing for you.
To become an approved Pup Squad foster you must:
The following provides an overview of the routine care required when you take in a foster animal:
Feeding: Puppies need to be fed at least twice a day. Puppies under 8 weeks should be fed three times daily. We can provide a nutritional supplement for young pups or older dogs that are in poor condition.
Socializing: Some puppies and dogs needs socializing recommend that you provide opportunities for him or her to be around new people and other dogs whenever possible. We also have trainers who are willing to work with our fosters so please let us know if you need additional help or advice on this issue.
Exercise: The energy level of your foster will determine how much exercise he or she needs. We encourage you if possible to walk your fosters to provide them with exercise and accustom them to a leash.
Medical care: Pup Squad provides all routine medical care for foster dogs including vaccinations, deworming, heatworm prevention, spay/neuter surgery, and microchipping. Fosters are asked to transport their foster dog to vet appointments when necessary but Pup Squad pays for all pre-approved vet visits.
Can I foster a dog if I live in an apartment?
Yes, so long as your pet deposit has been paid and the dog you are fostering is suitable for apartment living.
Am I expected to bring my foster to adoption events every weekend?
The more events your foster attends, the better their chance of adoption. We don’t expect you to attend every weekend but we do expect fosters to bring their dogs to events on a regular basis.
Can Pup Squad provide me with food for my foster?
We cannot buy food for individual fosters but sometimes we receive food donations in which case we divide the donation up between our foster homes.
Can I take my foster to a dog park?
We ask that you exercise extreme caution in taking your foster to a dog park. If you have any reservations about his or her behavior around other dogs do not take that risk. Puppies should never go to dog parks because their immune systems are not fully developed.
What happens when I need to leave town on vacation or for business?
We have temporary fosters who can take care of your dog while you are gone. Just let your foster coordinator know and he/she can arrange a place for your dog to go during that time.
What happens if I’m no longer able to keep my foster?
We ask that you think very carefully when you agree to foster to make sure you can follow through with the commitment. Since we are an all-foster organization it is very difficult for us to find new foster homes for dogs in our program. However, we understand that sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise. If you absolutely cannot keep your foster any longer please contact your foster coordinator to discuss the situation.