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Is Fostering For You?

  • Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.  We couldn’t save as many lives as we do without the dedication of our foster parents.  When you think of fostering, what are you interested in taking home? Will you want a nursing mom, orphans that are not old enough for the adoption floor, a pet who may have special medical needs, a seasoned senior, or one that just needs to feel loved?

Is fostering right for you and your family? Please go over this with your whole family.


  • Are you aware that there is a great deal of clean-up time and there is always a possibility of damage to your home as well as the items in it? 

  • Are you able to separate your foster(s) from your own pet(s)? Foster(s) must have their own room whether you have resident pets or not.  Even though we conduct intake examinations, foster pets can harbor illnesses that do not immediately present symptoms. Even after a quarantine period, there is never a guarantee. Therefore, it is important to keep your resident pet(s) separated from them.

  • Introductions can pose a risk to your resident pet(s). If your pet(s) get sick from your foster(s), the HAWC will not cover their medication or vet visits.

  • It is important to keep your foster room clutter-free – no special knickknacks. You must start your foster(s) in a non-carpeted room to ensure they are not harboring any illnesses. After a quarantine period, you can move them to another room that allows more space if you have it available. 

  • Are you and your family emotionally prepared for the death of an animal? As badly as we wish otherwise, death can occur. Not all animals are born to live. Unfortunately, some pets are born with congenital birth defects that we cannot see. Others are just too weak to survive. Because you will feed high-quality food to your foster(s), house them in a warm, safe place, and provide them with preventative care treatments, their chances of survival are high. The death of a foster can be emotionally difficult, but most of the time, this is not the result of your fostering skills or abilities. 

  • Will you and your family be able to give up your foster(s) at the end of the foster period? Foster families can become attached to their foster(s) and sometimes find it difficult to give them to their permanent families or return them to the shelter. Our adoption counselors are thorough in their screening process and will find good, loving homes for your foster(s). You can always pick up more pets in need of fostering - sometimes even the same day to help you get through the empty nest syndrome. 

  • You can adopt your foster(s), but you will need to go through the same process as anyone else. You will pay the adoption fee and participate in adoption counseling. 

  • Will you and your family be able to spend quality time with your foster(s)? Socialization and interaction are just as important as feeding and keeping them clean. We ask that you spend quality time with your foster(s). We want you to play with them, so they learn hands are not toys. We also want you to snuggle them. Socialization is a big part of fostering. You are training these pets to be well adjusted for their future furever home. We are hoping that your foster(s) will not fear humans. Sometimes this does not always work out, but pets that run to the front of the cage will get adopted first.

  • Are you prepared to work with our veterinarian system? Will you be able to bring your foster(s) to the shelter when they need to be seen? We specialize in shelter medicine and know what medications will treat illnesses we see in the shelter. Moreover, treatment at our shelter is free to you and cost-effective to the HAWC. As you do not legally own these pets, you cannot legally seek outside treatment for them. 

  • Do you feel comfortable telling people that these pets are not your pets and can only be adopted through HAWC’s adoption procedures? You may need to remind family, friends, and neighbors that you are a volunteer for the HAWC and cannot take your foster pet(s) out of your home for “playdates” or adopt them outside of the HAWC.

  • Are you aware there are some financial obligations?

  • We do not provide food, litter, crates, toys, scratchers, litterboxes, food/water bowls, cleaning supplies, etc. However, we will work with you should you need assistance with supplies. 

  • Foster pets are your responsibility. We ask that you check on them at least three times per day - once in the morning, again after work, and then before bed. You should also closely monitor their health and behavior. Close observation helps us better treat health issues and find appropriate permanent homes for them. Are they acting like themselves? Are they eating and drinking appropriately? Are they producing healthy-looking, regular output?

  • All cats and kittens must be kept strictly indoors. If your resident cat(s) go outside, your foster cat(s)/kitten(s) must be isolated from your cat(s) to avoid the transmission of disease. Your foster cat(s)/kitten(s) cannot go outdoors unless they are in a secure crate and going to the shelter or an outreach location. 

  • Supervise all interactions between your foster(s) and children under 10 years of age. This is not an exact requirement, as some children under 10 may be able to safely handle kittens or puppies and may not require supervision. Use your best judgment.

  • our own animals must be spayed/neutered and current on vaccinations and veterinary care. No exceptions. If you cannot meet these requirements, we can provide you with resources to help you provide the appropriate care for your animals before you take a pet home to foster. We do this to help stop the pet-overpopulation problems in our area.


Rewards of foster care – Saving lives!


  • You are saving animals. 


  • Children learn about the responsibility of caring for animals. It is a great way to help children understand what it takes to have a pet. How else can children learn about the wonder of birth, and the same time, be responsible animal guardians?


  • There is no greater joy than watching kittens at play, or nursing a sick kitty back to health! Having foster kittens in the home can also foster quality family time. 


  • Knowing that you are making a difference is a nice feeling inside.

*If you do not feel comfortable with our procedures and guidelines, we want you to know that we understand fostering is not for everyone. If at any time your situation changes, please feel free to contact us again in the future.

The Highs and Lows of Fostering

Foster Program FAQ’s

How do I become a foster parent?                                                        


First, you will need to fill out one of two forms found at
-    HAWC Foster Family Information Sheet for Cats
-    HAWC Foster Family Information Sheet for Dogs                                                   
And then send this to:                                                   
Once your form is received, and fosters become available, the foster coordinator will contact you.


What is required of me as a foster parent?


Provide a safe, loving environment within your home that contains the fosters’ necessities: food, water, bedding, toys, etc.  You are responsible for ensuring that your foster(s) receive any scheduled medical treatments on time, are healthy, and well-socialized.


I found a homeless pet. Can I foster them through your program?


Yes, with approval and appointment. We will try to work with you on scheduling an intake appointment if you are the foster parent. If you cannot foster this pet, it may take us some time to find a foster home. We will do our best to work with you.


If I’m fostering a cat or kitten, what are the requirements for a foster room?


The foster room needs to be a designated place for your foster cat/kittens to spend the bulk of their time.  HAWC recommends a spare bedroom, den, office, or a large bathroom.  This room will need to be ‘cat/kitten-proofed’ and have plenty of space for a litter box, food and water dishes, as well as sleep and play areas.  



What supplies do I need to provide myself?


The HAWC is a non-profit 501c3 organization and does not have the resources available to supply the needs of our pets in foster care. We will need you to supply all basic necessities for our fosters when in your care. 



  • Wet cat food, dry kibble, formula as needed, food and water bowls, litter and litter box(es), toys and scratching implement, bedding, and other small incidentals.


  • Wet dog food, dry kibble, formula as needed, food and water bowls, toys, bedding, and a crate. However, if you need help with some of these supplies, we will do our best to help you. 


How do I obtain my foster(s)?                                                                  


As fosters become available, the foster coordinator will contact you and will then send further information with specifics on arrival and pick-up information.


How much do I need to supervise my foster(s)?                                


You need to do welfare checks on your fosters at least three times per day.  This is to make sure everyone is healthy, eating, and using the litter box.  You need to spend about 1-2 hours per day interacting with your foster(s) so they become well-socialized.                                                                                                          


Can my foster(s) interact with my resident pet(s)?                              


You must keep your foster(s) separate from your resident pet(s). 


Can my children interact with the foster(s)?


We encourage your children to have supervised interaction with your foster(s).  Children should not be permitted to handle newborn fosters.  Caution and direct supervision is a must!


Do we bottle feed kittens or puppies?


HAWC may take in young kittens or puppies that will need to be bottle fed.  If this is the case, we will place those kittens or puppies with a foster parent who is experienced at bottle feeding. There are times, however, when you may need to provide supplemental bottle feeding to a nursing kitten or puppy who isn’t getting enough to eat.


If people come to my home and want to adopt a foster what do they do next?


You will need to direct the potential adopters to the HAWC’s shelter, located at:
230 Cook Rd Lebanon, Ohio 45036


There they will be able to complete the adoption process with a trained adoption counselor.


If my foster(s) become ill, do I take them to my own vet?


All veterinary care will be provided through the HAWC.  You are not permitted to seek veterinary care from outside clinics.  Any visits to outside veterinarians that are not pre-approved will be your financial responsibility! 


What do I do if my own pets become ill?


Your foster(s) should be housed separately from your resident pets.  However, we do recognize that cross-contamination can happen.  If your foster(s) become ill, it is your responsibility to seek veterinary treatment.


If in the event this circumstance should arise, arrangements should be made to return your foster(s) to the HAWC. Remember, there is always an inherent risk of disease when you bring new animals into your home. This is why we require all resident pets in the home to be current on vaccinations.


Do my resident pets have to be up to date on their vaccines?


For everyone’s protection and safety, your resident pet(s) are required to be current on their vaccines. You should contact your veterinarian to find out if your pet(s) are current on vaccines when fostering. It is best to check before you bring fosters home.


Do my resident pets have to be spayed or neutered before I foster?                                                                  


Yes, The HAWC can provide you with resources to aid you in achieving this goal.

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