Foster

Thousands of dogs and cats across the nation find themselves in shelters every year through no fault of their own. Wyoming’s pets are no exclusion to this phenomenon; the reasons they end up homeless are numerous, but you can help them get a second chance at finding a forever home. Foster parents are a critical part of our program at Happy Endings Animal Rescue. Through our pet fostering program, cats and dogs are cared for in a nurturing environment, avoiding the hardship and stress of living in a shelter environment so that they become more socialized and adoptable. Fostering is a wonderful experience for you and your family; you can feel good knowing you have helped save a life.  Even better, you’ve created space in the shelter to accommodate other homeless pets.

Foster pets provide companionship and purpose. Your act of kindness is repaid in rewards that are beyond words. With your help, fostering allows us to get to know the animal better so that they can be placed in a permanent loving, compatible family. You can feel good knowing you helped save an animal’s life and created space to accommodate other homeless pets that come into rescue.  As a H.E.A.R. Pet Foster, you are the guardian and friend of the animals. All of their needs are met by you. We support you and the expenses needed through our fostering program. Watching your foster dog blossom in your care and eventually go to their forever home is truly an amazing experience. We are fur-ever grateful to those who open their hearts and homes to our rescues!

Without our dedicated foster parents, we would not be able to offer pets a second chance at finding a forever family. Please read through the information below to learn more about fostering. If you are interested in being a Pet Foster for dogs or cats (or both!) we want to hear from you.

Please download and fill out one of our Foster Parent Applications. Mail it to H.E.A.R., P.O. Box 1835, Pinedale, WY 82941 or email it to happyendingar23@yahoo.com. You can always contact us with any questions or concerns at 307-360-6000, or send us a message on Facebook to get started. Once approved, we will work to match one of our animals with your living situation. Thank you for thinking about sharing your home with a foster pet!

What we need from you:

• Foster parents must be at least 18 years of age, living on their own. • Exceptions can be made for minors with appropriate parent permission.
• Foster Parent Application for screening by the H.E.A.R Board of Directors.
• Allow H.E.A.R to conduct an initial home visit to ensure proper conditions can be met to fit the individual pet (e.g., a fenced yard for a dog).
• Be responsible for transportation when needed (e.g., to veterinarian appointments or adoption events hosted by H.E.A.R.) unless other arrangements are made with the rescue in advance.
• Your pets must be current on vaccinations and kept separate if needed.
• Potential foster parents must be willing to provide love and attention to animals in their care including feeding, socializing, grooming, introducing basic training and medicating animals in their care.
• Ensure the safety of your foster animal and respond to the needs of the animal.
• Observe and report any problems with the animal to the H.E.A.R. Foster Coordinator.
• Comply with the rescue’s philosophies and policies and act as a H.E.A.R. representative.
• Notify H.E.A.R at 307-360-6000 immediately in the case of an emergency or if a foster pet is lost or if there is a problem you cannot handle. If the pet is lost, notify the Town of Pinedale Animal Control at 307-749-7778 or 749-6585 if you live within town limits; or Sublette County Animal Control at 307360-7939 if outside of town limits.

Pet Foster Parent Frequently Asked Questions

What is involved in providing a foster home for an animal?
A foster home is a temporary home for pets before they are adopted into a new home. Foster parents have the unique opportunity to personally help our rescued animals by giving them a stable, loving environment, saving lives, alleviating the strain on animal shelters and helping to set the stage for successful adoptions.

A foster caregiver provides for the general well-being of an animal, including feeding, playing and working on training if needed. Sometimes, pets may require special care such as sick animals needing medications or puppies/kittens needing bottle fed. The amount of personal attention needed will vary from pet to pet. We will work with your situation to match animals to your time and abilities. Caring for a pet is a responsibility that can be time-consuming, yet very rewarding.

What types of pets are placed in foster homes?
• Too young and/or immature to be adopted.
• Kittens, puppies and young cats that require more socialization than available at the shelter.
• Older or senior pets will be more comfortable in a home environment.
• Injured and/or those recovering from surgery.
• Neglected or abused animals that need tender loving care.
• Pets suffering from “shelter stress” in need of a calming home   environment.
• Pets with special medical needs.
• Abandoned mothers with litters.
• Any pet when the shelter becomes overcrowded.

How long are pets in foster homes?
It depends on the animal and the situation. Puppies and kittens often get adopted quickly, while certain breeds, senior pets, or timid pets that need training and more socialization may not get adopted as quickly.  We will work with your living situation and an individual animal’s needs to match you with an appropriate foster situation. We will promote the pet, through marketing and networking, for adoption into the perfect home.

Can I adopt my foster dog?
Yes! As long as foster parents meet the requirements necessary for adoption, they have first choice to adopt their foster dog. It’s one of the reasons we are always seeking new fosters! Providing a permanent family to pets in already loving, compatible families is welcomed, we just hope you will still consider fostering other rescue animals that come through the door if you are able to do so.

Can I foster if I already own pets?
Yes, many of our foster homes do have their own pets. Keep in mind that it can be a health risk to expose your animal to other animals whether it’s walking at parks, vet waiting rooms or other common animal areas. H.E.A. R. rescues will be vaccinated prior to going to foster homes.  In cases of puppies or kittens, if additional vaccinations are required, these will also be paid for by H.E.A.R.. The health risk is minimal if all the animals are current on their vaccinations, maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, and are not elderly or very young.

We will help you to make sure that your pets and the H.E.A.R fosters are introduced appropriately to avoid any problems. Remember when introducing pets to new environments, gradual is better. Pets are often stressed and frightened when in an unfamiliar situation sometimes causing them to bite, cower, run away, chew or have bathroom accidents. Often crate training is a great way to help them become comfortable in their own space and avoid behavioral problems.

What if I have children?
Children should always be monitored when around pets. We encourage you to teach your children the appropriate ways to interact with pets, which can be a very rewarding experience for everyone. We cannot guarantee any pet’s behavior, as they are occasionally extremely stressed and need a quiet environment. We will work to match you with the best foster fit for you and your family.

Can I still foster if I live in an immune-compromised household?
If you or someone in your household is immune-compromised, consult your doctor before fostering. Working or living with animals can expose humans to a group of diseases called zoonoses.  A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans and from humans to animals. To find out more about zoonoses, talk to your doctor and/or veterinarian.  Proper hygiene, preventative measures and an understanding of these illnesses can reduce the risk of disease.

What supplies are needed to foster?
oster parents provide space, basic training, exercise, socialization, and love for the animal. Transportation may be needed for veterinary appointment or adoption days, for example. The rescue will provide you with all the other supplies and equipment needed throughout your foster experience including food, litter box and litter for cats, etc., crates if needed, as well as veterinary care. Please contact H.E.A.R. at 307-360-6000 for approval prior to veterinary visits. We ask that you keep us up to date on any issues that may occur during their stay with you.

How can I help my foster dog become more adoptable?
Spread the word! Marketing is a great way to get an animal adopted and nothing spreads faster than word-of-mouth. Create a network by telling friends and family about your foster pet and the things that you love about them. We often rely on our pet fosters to help answer questions potential adopters may have. Have photos of them available to show people. Also, by taking a foster dog on walks to local parks and other high-traffic areas will help find potential adopters. Additionally, your help in providing basic training and manners for pets will increase their adoptability.

What if I can no longer foster or leave on a trip and the animal hasn’t been adopted?
Fostering is a volunteer choice, yet it is a responsibility. Happy Endings hopes that you enjoy the rewards that responsibility brings. We will work with you, our other foster parents, and the Town of Pinedale Animal Shelter to find another situation for the animal. If it’s only for a short amount of time, we can also help find volunteers or foster sitters to care for the animal.

Will I have difficulty letting go?
Many people believe they could never let go. And yes, it can be difficult and you might miss them. Conversely, you have completed one pet mission and take comfort in knowing you helped that pet to find a loving, permanent family. It’s nearly impossible not to get attached but now there is room in your home and your heart to help save the next animal that comes into rescue. Foster care is an important and needed job!