How You Can Make a Difference
Here are some areas where we can use your expertise:
- Adoption Events
- Adoption Counselors
- Pet Photography
- Community Outreach
- Graphics (Creating Posters and Flyers)
- Cat Sitting/Dog Walking
- Fostering (read below for more info)
Please complete the volunteer application if you'd like to volunteer.
NOTE: We are a Chicago-based pet rescue.
What's so great about fostering a pet? EVERYTHING! It is an extremely rewarding experience. Fostering gives a dog or cat a second chance at life. It can mean the difference between life in a caring home or death by euthanasia. It allows care for animals that would be difficult to care for in a shelter environment – pregnant sweeties or mommas with puppies or kittens, those recovering from major surgery, cats or kittens that are shy and need a nurturing home environment, dogs needing one-on-one behavior rehabilitation and those that would not do well in a shelter environment. Additionally, we will be starting a program to help animals that come directly from abuse / neglect cases. These special sweeties will need patience, understanding, and LOVE - something they have never felt before.
What is Involved in Fostering an Animal?
Foster caregiver responsibilities typically involve providing a home, feeding and socializing the animal – helping him or her learn appropriate behavior, a first-time opportunity for many pets whose original owners didn't spend much time or effort on the animal. Foster care providers give valuable insight into the animals' temperament and needs. They help us make a better adoption for those animals. Fostering provides the priceless service of nurturing and preparing homeless animals for their Forever Families.
Foster animals that fit your lifestyle:
- If you are more of a "couch potato", we will match you with an older animal, one who has a lower energy level, or a dog / cat in medical recovery who needs to be kept in a quiet environment.
- If you are an active family, we will match you with a dog who needs lots of walks and plenty of exercise or with a litter of playful kittens. You can help your foster dog by reinforcing some basic obedience commands or teaching him some fun tricks. We work with wonderful trainers and offer willing foster homes the chance to take their foster dog through training classes or agility classes.
In most cases, it's fine if you already have a dog or cat, as long as your companion and the foster dog or cat are both healthy and get along with each other.
The animals you foster may not be perfect. Some may need to be housetrained. Some dogs may be un-schooled in other ways. For example, they may be rambunctious or shy, or they may be inclined to jump up on people or on furniture. To some degree, these things will depend on the dog's age and breed or the cat's level of human socialization, but problem behaviors may be what landed them in the shelter in the first place. Fostering will require patience, love and TLC. Another important factor in fostering is commitment. We cannot stress this enough! Taking on a foster dog or cat is a commitment that you are making to this living, breathing life. They have already been abandoned or dumped. Through no fault of their own they feel unwanted. Fostering is not always easy - don't give up! It might take 2 weeks to housetrain your new foster dog. That might seem like an eternity while you are going through it, but it is ultimately ONLY 2 weeks of your entire life. If you give up on your foster dog for whatever reason, the poor baby will be bounced to another foster home and your lack of commitment will aggravate your foster dog's issues making them worse and possibly creating more. They need stability and structure. Please be serious about your commitment. It will be worth it for you and for the precious life you are helping to save.
The Rewards of Fostering are Plentiful
The addition of a dog or cat brings immeasurable richness and joy to the household. Foster animals will repay you for your patience and love by giving back ten times more love of their own. And when your foster dog or cat goes off to a loving new home for life, your heart will swell with joy. And, your eyes will probably fill with tears, but they will be wonderful tears of happiness! What could possibly be more gratifying than to save a life and create a "happily ever after" ending? Because of YOU, a life was saved and a difference was made in the lives of a Forever Family.
The qualifications to be a foster parent are the same as the qualifications necessary to be an adopter. Therefore, the process for fostering is the same as applying to adopt. If you'd like to foster an animal, please fill out the adoption/foster application. If you'd like further information about fostering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: LLR will provide medical care, food, collars & leashes, and toys. You provide a home and love. P.S. We do appreciate when Foster Families acquire recommended food and other necessary items. It allows us to direct those funds to saving more homeless animals.
History and Background
The idea of fostering was born in response to a problem: overcrowded animal shelters. Puppies and kittens entering animal shelters under eight weeks of age used to be (and in some communities, still are) routinely killed because they were too young to be adopted. Shelters lacked the staff or adequate space to give these fragile infants the time and care they needed to get them to an adoptable age. The solution: a short term foster home to provide a healthy, germ free environment and lots of tender, loving care. When the animal reached eight weeks, it could be returned to the shelter for placement.
Many shelters have expanded this idea to include fostering for animals in other situations. They may foster cats and dogs recovering from medical conditions (e.g., a broken leg) who just need a few weeks in a loving home to mend. A cat may have stopped eating due to the stress of a shelter environment and need the security of a home situation to get back on her feet. A dog may have a minor behavior problem (jumping up, mouthiness) that a foster family can work on to make the animal more appealing to adopters. Or the shelter may simply have a space crunch and want to find a short-term housing alternative for some of their charges.
In many communities today, foster networks actually take the place of animal shelters. Such networks are generally led by no-kill rescue groups who take cats and dogs out of animal control facilities, place them in foster homes, and then find the pets permanent homes through their own adoption events, publicity, word of mouth, or advertising.