Fostering 101 (Dogs and Cats)

Posted on May 10th, 2015 by Anna Nirva

Definition of “fostering”

Providing a temporary home for a shelter or rescue animal, while they are on their path to permanent adoption, as a volunteer for a shelter or a rescue. Foster-to-adopt situations, also known as trial adoptions, are not addressed here. There is a difference between fostering homeless animals and pet-sitting family pets for family, friends and neighbors. Homeless animals usually don’t know their names nor the people helping them along the rescue road. They don’t know anything about where they are at first. And they are typically grateful for your role in saving their lives and getting them out of the shelter. They know.

Typical foster responsibilities may include:

Provide food and shelter

  • In-home living 24/7 usually required for cats and pocket pets; foster dogs might enjoy some outdoor time such as walks and backyard play time
  • Crate sleeping and feeding often recommended
  • Meals twice daily
  • Fresh water availability at all times
  • Dogs are provided appropriate pottying time outdoors
  • Dogs are always leashed outdoors, unless the yard is securely fenced (no free-roaming allowed)
  • Cats are provided litter boxes, cleaned daily
  • Socializing time with family members and other family pets AFTER the foster dog or cat has had appropriate time to settle in and relax

Provide some additional services (these will vary depending on foster type and shelter/rescue organization)

  • Attend training classes with the foster pet, to help the pet become more adoptable and better socialized
  • Attend adoption marketing events with the foster pet, to help the pet meet potential adopters
  • Drive foster pets to and from vet appointments
  • Answer email inquiries, speak with potential adopters on the phone, meet with potential adopters, all to provide essential information about the temperament and health of the foster pet


Types of foster homes needed

  1. Kitten/cat
  2. Large-medium dog/puppy
  3. Small dog/puppy
  4. Behavioral needs
  5. Medical needs
  6. Seniors
  7. Undersocialized cats
  8. Respite care
  9. Momma & litter of cats
  10. Momma & litter of dogs
  11. Transport overnights
  12. Service dog
  13. Military family dog
  14. Animals that may be awaiting a court disposition

Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip Classic – Watch for Strays

Posted on August 29th, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoThis Watch Tip was originally written by Anna Nirva.

With the upcoming holiday three-day weekend almost upon us, this classic watch tip bears repeating – many families will be traveling with pets to strange areas, and many pets will be either boarded or watched over in their homes by either professionals or friends and family.

Watch and listen for stray dogs and cats that could go missing while traveling with their families, or be frightened by holiday fireworks. Take action to save them. Read the rest of this entry »

Volunteers rescue dog from top of Mount Bierstadt – The Denver Post

Posted on August 22nd, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

This is such a hot-button topic right now, it seemed only appropriate to share this on our blog, and get feedback from our readers.  There are several issues rolled into this event – safety of pets on rigorous mountain hikes/outdoor recreational activities, the need for emergency plans for pets in these types of situations, definitions of abuse and abandonment, and laws governing those acts.

Volunteers rescue dog from top of Mount Bierstadt – The Denver Post.

The owner of Missy abandoned her to save his own life, and that of a younger hiker that was with him.  But instead of going back, he spent eight days trying to discern Missy’s fate (and although he contacted authorities for assistance in retrieving her, he did not attempt to return for her himself).

Missy’s rescuers (the couple that found her, then recruited their hiking group to go back with them and assist in getting her off the mountain) want to adopt Missy, and feel her owner should not have her back.  Her owner claims that he loves Missy, and that she belongs to him, even though he made the mistake of assuming she had died on the mountain.

What do you think?

Watch Tip: What to do if you find a dog

Posted on July 2nd, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoWe’ve all been there – a dog is running loose in the neighborhood, or you see a dog sitting on the side of road, all alone. Most of us are inclined to help in those situations, and this week’s Watch Tip focuses on how to do so safely, thoroughly, and conscientiously, increasing the chances of your found dog being reunited with their owner.

Play it safe

Assuming the found dog is not aggressive or injured, and you can safely get the dog into your car or home, you will want to collar and leash them, so that they will not be able to escape you as well; it is very helpful to have extra leashes that can quickly be looped into a slip-leash.  If you have an appropriately-sized crate for transporting them, even better!  A special trick I learned from a long-time dog rescuer, is to close your car door on the leash, after putting the pup in the car – leaving only the handle portion of the leash extending from the car.  That way, you can grasp the end of the leash in your hand before opening the door, and the dog does not have an opportunity to escape. Read the rest of this entry »

Diamond Pet Foods Recalls Some Bags of Dog Food

Posted on April 10th, 2012 by admin

Here we go again… Diamond is involved in another recall.


Here is the report I just got from the FDA:


04/10/2012 12:30 PM EDT
Diamond Pet Foods is voluntarily recalling Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice. This is being done as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. No illnesses have been reported and no other Diamond manufactured products are affected.
Here is the complete information from the FDA site:

Are you looking for a great present for a new pet parent? Pick up a copy of Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right. Dr. Sophia Yin has written a book with lots of excellent advice for first time pet parents as well as those of us who have spent more time with puppies than we can remember.

Yin has done a top notch job of taking us through the pups’ developmental stages and showing the best way to move them through their socialization to become the best possible companions. The directions are very thorough with many helpful pictures.

What I really appreciate about Perfect Puppy in 7 Days is Yin’s attitude towards puppies as individuals. These are not “one-size-fits-all” directions. Instead, Yin explains how dogs develop and learn. This info helps us to tailor the training for the behavior, not the age,

There is something for everyone to learn from Yin’s book. Even the most experienced dog lover can pick up tips but Perfect Puppy in 7 Days should be in every puppy starter kit.

Please help Naoto Matsumura, a 52-year-old former Japanese farmer, feed the farm animals and pets left behind in Tomioka in the wake of the tsunami and nuclear disasters in Japan in March  2011. He lives and works alone in the “mandatory exclusion zone” near one of the destroyed nuclear reactors, feeding and watering the animals who would perish without him. His body is completely contaminated by radiation but he ignores that. He declares he will never leave except for short excursions to purchase food and maintain contacts with supporters. This photo was taken from a presentation he made about his work that is posted on YouTube. The “animal army” is becoming aware of this selfless hero and I ask you to share in supporting his work. Please share.

Chip-in site to help him buy food for the animals he cares for

A web site to share news of his activities

YouTube video captured from a presentation he made in Japan about the needs of the animals in the mandatory exclusion zone where he lives

Huffington Post article (Aug. 2011)

Watch Tip Classic: Secondhand Smoke Harms Pets

Posted on February 20th, 2012 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip Logo
Secondhand smoke is a threat to pets—did you know? It is even more toxic for pets than for humans because not only do they breathe the fumes, they lick the cancer-causing residue from their fur while grooming! Cats and short-nosed dogs are most affected, but all pets in smoking households are more likely to develop lung/nasal/mouth cancers and lymphoma.

If you smoke, be aware of the increased risk of cancer for your pets

Have you ever noticed the smoke residue that coats the walls and windows inside the home of a smoker? In addition to coating lung tissues, that toxic airborne residue infiltrates porous materials, such as clothing and pet fur. Secondhand smoke causes cancer in cats and dogs just like it does in non-smokers who are forced to breathe the same air. The smoke can also cause breathing difficulties and eye/skin irritations. Plus, with their sensitive noses, just imagine how dogs and cats must dislike the strong acrid odors. Read the rest of this entry »

Last Walk — A Love Story

Posted on February 5th, 2012 by admin

As we come up on Valentine’s Day its time to talk abut love. And what better love than that between rescuer and rescued?

This story is dedicated to all the brave, marvelous people who adopt old dogs.


Last Walk

This story is about love, love that carries through death. Oh, it’s not a story about romantic love. There are plenty of those. This is a story about an unselfish love. This is a story about love that accepts unconditionally and asks for nothing. This is a story about the love between a rescuer and the last dogs she saves.

Margaret was an old woman who loved dogs. She loved big dogs and small dogs, short-haired dogs and long-haired dogs, quiet dogs and not-so-quiet dogs. She loved puppies, too. But what Margaret loved the most were old dogs. You know, the ones who sleep a lot and maybe can’t see so well any more. They’re the ones who hang back when the treats and pets are being given out because they have a little arthritis or aren’t so sure on their legs. They don’t want the other dogs to bump them or even knock them over. They’re the dogs who might have trouble eating hard food but try anyway. You know those dogs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip Classic: Identification is Essential

Posted on January 29th, 2012 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip Logo

Watch for collars that are too loose or too tight, and that don’t have ID tags. Pets deserve better from their families. A roaming pet without identification is at high risk for being picked up as a stray and might even be euthanized. Roaming pets can travel long distances. Reasonably-priced ID tags are available nearly everywhere. Speak with the owners or just do it anonymously. You may save a life.

Why Not Provide Tags for Adoptions?

Shelters and rescues often provide microchips for adopted pets, but they are not visible to human eyes; scanners are needed. The specific microchip technology used can be a factor in linking pets to owners as well. And even if a microchip is identified, the owner information can be out of date, causing a whole new set of hoops for the current owner. Collar tags have some important advantages: they are immediately visible by neighbors, assuming the pet allows their approach. A roaming pet can be returned home without aid of animal control. Responsible pet owners provide BOTH microchips and tags.

Could the animal welfare community provide tags at the point of adoption? Remember the most likely time for newly adopted pets to escape is right after adoption. A common refrain is “I was going to get my tags on Monday” but the dog or cat escaped on Saturday soon after arriving at the new home. Think about the pets: they don’t know they have been adopted! They believe that they are in the wrong place and must get back to where they were.

War Hero Dog Died for Lack of a Collar and Tags

Target’s family didn’t put a collar and tag on her or get a microchip implanted. They didn’t prevent her from escaping from her yard. And the neighbor who found Target without wearing any identification of course had no idea who she was, so called the pound. She was picked up by animal control and her photo was posted on the internet.

Her family found her photo but did not check the web site to learn the weekend hours that the pound was open. They came on Monday to pick her up. At the pound earlier that morning, a careless employee was performing her routine euthanasia duties and picked Target by mistake, not following the organization’s process. “Oops.”

Who was Target? Ask Oprah Winfrey, whose show Target appeared on. In Afghanistan, three stray dogs prevented a suicide bomber from detonating a bomb in the middle of a military barracks, and the bomb went off harmlessly near the perimeter. One of the dogs died from injuries suffered from the blast. The other two dogs, later named Target and Rufus, were brought to America by a charity to live out their lives in the land of plenty, where they have been widely celebrated for their roles in preventing a tragedy. Read more here.

Do you see one mindless assumption after another here? These are shameful mistakes that manifest a careless, uninformed regard for animal life by Target’s family and the pound. If she had been wearing a collar with a phone number, the neighbor who found her running loose would have had her back home quickly. Target should be alive today—no excuses.