Fostering can be a very rewarding experience. We are in need of foster homes year round, but particularly in the spring, summer, and early fall when many kittens are born. Volunteer foster parents provide temporary care for kittens, puppies, dogs, and cats. Some may need to be fostered for only a week, while others may need several months of care. By offering your time, energy, and home to an animal in need, you prepare the animal for adoption into a permanent home and prevent overcrowding at the shelter.
We work hard to match the capabilities of the foster parent with the needs of the animal. There are often foster placements appropriate for those who work full time. It is essential that you be able to keep foster animals separated from your own pets. A separate room, such as a spare bathroom or laundry room, will work best. If you would like to foster, please read and complete the Foster Care Handbook. You may bring or mail the completed forms to the shelter.
You may also contact our Volunteer Coordinator below for more information.
Why does SRAS need fosters?
There are many reasons an animal might need foster care. Some of the most common include:
- A kitten or puppy is too young to be adopted and needs a safe place to stay until he or she is old enough to go to a forever home.
- An animal is recovering from surgery, illness or injury and needs a safe place to recuperate.
- An animal is showing signs of stress such as pacing or hiding.
- An animal has not lived in a home or has not had much contact with people and needs to be socialized.
- SRAS is running out of room for adoptable animals.
“Teddy was one of my first foster dogs. He came up on a Transport from KY and one can only imagine what kind of life this poor dog led before coming to SRAS! He wasn’t comfortable in his own skin. When we took him out of his crate he would practically climb the walls, once he was outside he just pulled to get back inside. I began bringing him to my house in April 2019 a day or two each week. He really became comfortable and settled in my house, which began to carry over to how he behaved in the shelter too. Because of his anxiety he was taking medicine and also staying in a crate in the office. Teddy was adopted in July of 2019. It was a chance meeting one day in September that I was at the shelter and Teddy’s owner stopped by to make a donation, my heart was warmed when my little buddy Teddy recognized me ” – Christine
“In January 2020 I was introduced to Arthur who was abandoned on Route 287. It was love at first sight. Arthur was a smart and quirky little old man with many health issues. When the lockdowns started I brought Arthur to work with me and let him have the run of the office. He hated being in the car but put all those fears aside when it was time to go to work!! Arthur passed away in May and while my time with him was short I would do it all over again. I miss my little buddy but take comfort in knowing that the last 5 months of his life he was a much loved part of my family. ❤️?❤️?” – Madelene
“To date we have fostered 25 dogs and 70 kittens through Somerset Regional Animal shelter. Here are things people have said to us (about fostering): “you are nuts”, “you must not love animals like I do, I could never let them go” and “ you must spend a lot of your own money to foster”; none of this is true (well, maybe we are a little nuts). Every animal we foster has a place in our hearts. We love each and every one of them. We are able to let them go, because in doing so we know we can help another animal; we also know they are getting a wonderful forever home! I will admit, many tears have been shed when we say goodbye and the dog/kitten moves on but they are mostly happy tears. As for money, we don’t need to spend any of our own money, the shelter pays for everything we need. With that said, I will admit to buying treats, and toys but only because I like to spoil them a bit!
Each dog/kitten that has come here has their own story, many of the stories start out pretty sad. The good news is fostering turns these sad stories into very happy stories and we get to be a part of it all. I will share just a few of these stories, because you don’t really want to hear all 95. The tricky part is picking just a few….
Dogs: we tend to foster dogs that have either medical or behavioral issues that are impacting their ability to be adopted. They come to us for some training, love and a quieter environment.
Gus Gus came to us because he was heart worm positive. Dogs going through Heart worm treatment need to have a stress-free environment and remain calm; if not it can be life threatening. Gus Gus was successfully treated and was adopted by a nice family; Gus Gus goes to work every day with the mother.” – Michelle (keep clicking through the tabs to read more of her foster stories!
“Shiloh was completely shut down. She was not eating; hair was falling out and she lived in fear of everything. Shiloh came and the first week was strictly time to decompress. Then the work began! Slowly working on her confidence, her socialization and potty training. She was a tough one to potty train as she was not food motivated and if you got too excited it scared her and she would shut down; initially she would not even stand all the way upright and we wondered if she spent most of her life in a small crate… Shiloh was with us for several months and the work continued. Finding the right balance, constantly exposing her to new things and building a routine allowed her to open up. She gained weight, her hair grew in beautiful, she finally got potty trained and she found the perfect family that cherishes her and thinks she is the sweetest girl on the planet.” – Michelle (keep clicking through the tabs to read more of her foster stories!
“Wilma was plucked from a shelter in Newark. She came in and shortly after started to show resource guarding behaviors. This is a tricky one, as dogs showing resource guarding are a risk to adopt out. In addition, she was limping…. And she was a pit bull. SO many strikes against her, but there was something in those eyes. Once at our home, she was allowed time to decompress and get to know us and build some trust. Then the work started on her resource guarding. This is slow and careful work, but Wilma wanted to please and her sweet gentle nature shined through. She also required a full ACL repair and rehab to strengthen her leg. This poor girl also had horrible allergies and needed medicine as well. Fostering Wilma was very rewarding and time intensive. She was with us almost 6 months. She is now the apple of her Daddy’s eye in her forever home. He thinks she was ‘meant to be mine.’ And they are inseparable.” – Michelle (keep clicking through the tabs to read more of her foster stories!
“Jase had severe kennel aggression. In the kennel he looked a bit like Kujo, snarling, growling, lunging, barking but once out of the kennel he was a good boy who needed to be potty trained and learn some house manners but had a nice disposition. Clearly in a shelter a dog reacting as he did in the kennel was not getting adopted! Jase came to our home and flourished. He was potty and house trained and was adopted right from our backyard, never needing to go back into a kennel again. He is a very loved and spoiled boy now and is ‘just perfect’ says his mommy.” – Michelle (keep clicking through the tabs to read more of her foster stories!
“Mr. Snuggles- Originally named “Klondike” was found as a stray and brought to a near by shelter. That shelter was full and Klondike’s life was at risk. SRAS pulled him but he soon began displaying concerning behaviors and aggressive actions towards certain people; with others he was very sweet. He came to our house to assess his behaviors and try to work with him to see if he could become more ‘stable’. He very quickly earned himself a different name and was lovingly called Mr. Snuggles (or Snugs). He needed to decompress and a structured routine was established. He became a neighborhood favorite! Snugs is now living like a king, just the other day his Dad texted me to tell me he had stuffed lobster for dinner!” – Michelle (keep clicking through the tabs to read more of her foster stories!
“Jubilee was one of 8 kittens born to a feral mom. Jubilee was the only surviving kitten of the 8. She came as a ‘bottle baby’ meaning she could not eat or potty on her own, we became her mother. Jubilee came in with an upper respiratory infection, but she was a strong baby and survived and thrived.
Tilly was a kitten born with no eyes. She came with her sisters Ruthie and Greta. Tilly is amazing, it was hard to believe that she couldn’t see! She actively played with toys and was quickly litter box trained. Greta, her sister, became her seeing eye cat and they were adopted together.
Sylvester came with a broken leg and required rest, medicine and love. Due to his young age, he healed quickly and very well and was adopted very quickly.” – Michelle
“Bubbles, Blossom, Buttercup and mojo JoJo came to us as feral kittens. Feral kittens are not socialized and often hiss and shy away from any human contact. They require patience, time and LOTS of attention to get them social and loving. Often, we need to Purrito (like a burrito) a kitten in a soft blanket to give them warmth, pressure and to allow us to hold them and gently talk to them and teach them that people can be good! All 4 got loving wonderful homes.” – Michelle
“Last October I had the opportunity to foster a beautiful mamma and her 3 sweet puppies. Virginia or Mamma Ginny as we affectionately called her had given birth just 3 weeks prior to coming to SRAS through a transport. Her pups were still nursing and their eyes weren’t even open yet.
I had never fostered more than an overnight before this! What an experience! Mamma G did most of the work those 1st few weeks and it was wonderful watching her take care of those babies. We helped her ween them and watched them take their 1st steps!
About 8 weeks later shortly before Christmas we got to be part of their journey to their forever homes. As hard as it was to have them leave our home, many tears were shed, we knew we did exactly what we were meant to do and it was wonderful. It was also life changing for me and my family. We decided we wanted to do this again and in addition to my volunteer time at the shelter I also joined a local rescue. Since that time we have had the opportunity, actually privilege To foster 10 dogs/puppies and get them to their forever homes! Make no mistake this is hard work both emotional and physical (lots of poop and pee) but the benefits we get from loving, training and giving these wonderful creatures a new life is completely worth it. An unanticipated consequence of this work has been the bonding experience for my family, even my very jaded teenagers melt in the presence of every new foster!
We also have created a community of other fosters and adopters which has enriched our lives as well.” – Danielle
“I first met Kiko while dog walking at the shelter late in 2018. He was 2 1/2 but a pleasure to walk on the leash and an extremely happy dog. I’m unsure where his journey started but my understanding of his backstory was that he was adopted as a 6 month old puppy, surrendered, then adopted by another family, which lasted about 18 months, then returned.
I fostered him over the New Year’s weekend, when he got to meet my other rescue pup, Merlot. They immediately took to each other in a playful big brother/little brother way. Kiko had a great weekend but I was not ready for another dog at the time and my family was headed for vacation in May. I returned him to the shelter but I truly left with tears in my eyes and made it my mission to find him a home. Luckily, another family (third time is the charm) adopted him in mid-January but was once again returned in mid-May due to possessive and aggressive behavior. I couldn’t believe it but I couldn’t really blame him since he wasn’t even 3 years old at this point and had been abandoned 3 times.
So, Memorial weekend comes and I again fostered Kiko. When I picked him up from the shelter my heart broke because a sheet was draped over his kennel. He had become dog reactive. I immediately brought him home with me and he reconnected with Merlot and the rest of my family.
After a week, I knew I couldn’t bring him back. He needed a patient and understanding family to help him with his issues. He is still dog reactive and aggressive, food and treat possessive, barks at anyone who makes direct eye contact with him but is an affectionate and happy dog with his family. I’m sure, over time, he’ll understand what a forever family, love and belonging is all about.” – Lori