Foster parents open their homes and hearts to animals who need them now more than ever. These compassionate people play a vital role in the life of that animal and are a critical component to the success of Ventura County Animal Services mission as a whole. Foster parents provide a home environment for healing and growth that a shelter cannot duplicate. Simply put: FOSTER PARENTS SAVE LIVES.
All classes are held at:
Camarillo Animal Shelter
600 Aviation Drive
Camarillo, CA 93010
NO RSVP NEEDED
Simply check in at the front counter and follow the signs to the orientation room.
What do I need to know before I foster?
How long are the animals in foster homes?
This varies depending on the type of foster. Underage animals may need anywhere from a week up to 3 months in a home, a medical recovery foster may need just a few weeks. Animals needing training or working on a behavior modification program, may stay in foster as long as they are progressing. Dogs can even be taken out for day trips or weekend sleepovers as a nice rest from the stress of the shelter. An interested rescue or adopter may be found at any time - so be prepared to answer questions and be available for meet and greets.
How do we select animals to place with you?
We use evaluation tools to help match up the animals personality and needs with your lifestyle and home environment. Not all our animals are eligible for foster. Kitten fosters are contacted on an as needed basis. Dog fosters are encouraged to have a discussion with our foster coordinator to find the best fit.
What do I need to buy?
VCAS can provide food, litter, medicine, crates, bedding and adopt me gear. We often have supplies donated that are of great use to our foster program! Anything that you buy for fostering may be eligible for a tax deduction, but check in with your tax preparer.
What about veterinary care?
All vet care is handled at our Camarillo shelter location. You will be able to schedule appointments online, and you will also be provided with an emergency protocol for after hours concerns.
What is an Adoption Ambassador?
VCAS wants to make the adoption process as easy as possible for our community! We allow our foster parents to facilitate adoptions without requiring the animal and adopter to come back to the shelter. If your foster animal is available for adoption, you can request an adoption packet and provided with instructions for completion.
What are foster responsibilities?
Fosters provide care, exercise and socialization to the animals in their care. They are asked to transport the fosters to/from offsite adoption events. They are responsible to monitor any medical and/or behavioral problems and quickly bring a sick animal to VCAS (or authorized alternative) in case of an emergency. As a foster, you may host animals with special medical or behavioral needs, mother animals with nursing litters, larger dogs, bunnies, or kittens under six weeks of age who need special feeding and socialization. By fostering an animal you are providing rehabilitation in a nurturing home environment, directly preparing them for adoption into a forever home.
Can I adopt my foster animal?
YES! Foster parents have first choice to adopt their foster.
If I have my own animals, can I foster?
Absolutely! A lot of fosters are also pet owners. This will be a factor in determining which pets are placed into your home, but will not prevent you from fostering. Family dogs must have a meet-and-greet with the potential foster dog to see if it’s a suitable match. We require a 14 day separation period and ask that you initially have supervised interactions with the animals to allow your foster animal to settle in. Foster animals may transmit undiagnosed illnesses to your personal pets. Please follow VCAS guidelines provided during training to keep everyone healthy and safe.
What if the animal I am fostering doesn’t work out for me?
We will work with you to find the best match possible for your home and lifestyle. Although we ask all of our fosters to take their responsibility seriously and make a commitment to their foster animal, if at any point the foster situation isn’t working out, we will take the animal back into our care and find another that will work for you. Returning a foster animal is NEVER a bad mark against you or the animal.
How are foster animals promoted?
Photos and stories of all adoptable animals in foster homes are posted on our website, Facebook, Nextdoor, Instagram, Petfinder.com., etc. Fosters are also promoted at special events throughout the year. Foster parents may participate in various shelter programs and events to increase the visibility of their foster dog to potential adopters. Ultimately, the foster's imagination is the limit! If no one knows about your foster, or how wonderful it is, then it will be harder to find them a forever home. In addition to supplying great photos and a bio and updating these regularly, giving a foster additional exposure by telling friends and family about them will help create a “network effect” and will speed up the process of finding a forever home. Simple steps like taking a foster dog with an “Adopt Me” vest on walks in local parks, outdoor shopping areas and other high-traffic areas will help find potential adopters.
How can I help my foster become more adoptable?
By following directions provided by the foster coordinator, you assist the animal in meeting goals that will help it move towards becoming a well adjusted family member! These may include, but are not limited to, meeting health and age requirements, learning how to behave in a home, following basic commands, and increasing tolerances. Think of your perfect pet, and learn the pathway to getting your foster animal closer to that point.
I don’t think I could be a foster parent, I’d become too attached.
This is one of the most common phrases we hear at our adoption sites. We share the sentiment whole-heartedly. Because we take these needy animals from dire situations, nurse them back to health if they are sick, rehabilitate and train, and discover and love each of their individual personalities, we know how hard it is to separate from them when they go to new, permanent homes. Foster parenting is an integral part of the process, and we can only tell you that it is one of the most rewarding things around, and the reason we all work tirelessly to make it happen. Fostering is the bridge that connects an animal's previous life and it's happy ever after, and nothing can replace the feeling of knowing you helped an animal in need reach a point where it was able to say "I've got this, I'm good to go." There are few things more noble than being available for another animal that needs you!