What does fostering mean?
Every year the Gulf Coast Humane Society takes in thousands of animals who have been displaced. Some of these animals need special care or a loving touch in order to become their best selves and find their forever home. This is why our foster families are so important! Becoming a part of our foster program means that you open up your home to a shelter pet in need while they wait to find their forever family. When permanent adoption isn’t an option, you would like to help a special needs pet, or you would simply like to invite an animal into your home for a short visit or long-term vacation, then becoming a foster for the Gulf Coast Humane Society is the answer! We provide anything that the foster animal may need, while you provide the love and attention.
Who can be a foster?
Anyone can be a part of our foster program! Whether you are interested in teaching a dog what it means to be loved, or nursing a sick pet back to health, everyone has something they can offer to an animal in need at the Gulf Coast Humane Society. How you contribute to the program is completely up to you.
Please note: All applications go through a background check. We cannot accept any application from a person having a felony record (current or previous) and absolutely no Domestic Violence, Battery, or Animal Cruelty charges (current or previous) or anyone with a history of disobeying county or state animal ordinances.
How do I become a foster?
That’s easy! Just fill out a foster application available online and mail or stop by the shelter. You can also email it to [email protected]. Upon review, you will have a one-on-one interview with our Foster Coordinator to ensure fostering is a right fit for you and your family.
What kind of animals are available for foster?
Typically we recruit fosters for animals that are showing signs of anxiety or stress in their kennel, or who are rehabilitating and need some quite rest and relaxation.
For dogs, this could be seniors, a special needs pet (any pet who needs a little extra care in one way or another), or those awaiting surgery. It could be moms who are nursing puppies or puppies that are weaned from mom and need socializing. It could be bottle fed puppies or a senior who needs some extra TLC. By fostering a senior dog, you’re giving them a second chance, a shot at love and care in their golden years.
For cats, this could be sweet seniors, those being treated for injury or illness, weaned kittens that need care until they are old enough to be adopted. It could be orphaned kittens (bottle babies) or a mamma still nursing kittens.
YOU help us decide what will work for you and your family!
How will I know when animals are available to foster?
Once you are an approved foster, you will be on our email list. When an animal is in need of a foster home that aligns with the situation you requested, we will contact you. You are also welcome to reach out to us when you are willing and able to foster to see what animals are available. Sometimes we have residents that just need a break from the shelter environment!
How long will I have my foster animal?
That depends on the situation, which you will most likely know ahead of time. Young animals usually stay in the foster home until they are able to be adopted (about 8 weeks old). In the case of seniors or special needs animals, the time may vary. We will do our best to pair you with a foster that fits your life situation.
What if someone wants to adopt my foster?
You will bring your foster to the shelter for meet and greets with potential adopters. Don’t worry, we will work with you to schedule times that work for you, however you must have your own transportation.
Then what happens?
The most wonderful thing in the world—you have helped your foster find it’s forever, loving home! Is it hard to let them go? Yep. But nothing is more satisfying, knowing you save this life and others by making room at the shelter. And then we help you find your next one to care for.
What else do I need to know?
All vet visits and medical care are the financial responsibility of GCHS and MUST be pre-authorized and performed at our clinic or our shelter. Appointments for your foster will be pre-scheduled, and if there is an emergency, you will be given multiple contact numbers for staff who will direct you on how to proceed.
We will provide food, bedding, and toys if you need them.
We may do a home visit and may check vet references. Your pets must be up-to-date on vaccines and have current licenses.
We recommend that dogs in the home that will be interacting with your foster come to the shelter with you for a meet and greet to be sure they will get along.
How do I get started?
Fill out an application and schedule a meeting! You’ll be so glad you did. Thank you for wanting to help the animals of Gulf Coast Humane Society. We truly appreciate your dedication!
Please send completed applications or any questions regarding our foster program to:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 239-332-0364 Ext 304
By Mail: 2010 Arcadia Street, Fort Myers FL 33916
Bonus: You can help animals in foster care at anytime, by ordering much needed supplies from our Foster Wish List!