Pet Foster Families
SafePet Ontario provides pet-safekeeping using a fostering model. That means that we rely on compassionate and loving families to take our SafePets into their homes for up to a year. Our fosters are our most vital, cherished resource.
Please read the FAQs below to see if you think this role would be a good fit for you and your household.
Before applying, please give these questions some thought:
Will your family be ok with saying goodbye to these pets, even if they have been with you for a year?
It will be difficult to say goodbye to a pet that has become an important part of your family. This is especially true for children. While it is wonderful to know that they are being reunited with their owners, it can still be a very challenging experience.
Can you take your foster pet to veterinary appointments?
We try our best to arrange appointments with veterinary clinics that are near your home. Depending on the needs of the pet, vet visits can be infrequent or can be often. Our pet fosters need to be able to get their foster pets to and from vet visits, particularly if there is an emergency.
Can you deal with separation anxiety or other behaviours?
Our SafePet animals come from high-stress environments, and they can be very bonded to the survivor and her / his / their children. Consequently, most of our pets experience separation anxiety in the first few weeks of their placement. Some animals are not trained and do not have great "manners", but we will set you up with our behaviourist to work through these challenges.
Are you able to provide supplies for your foster pet?
We rely entirely on donations and are not able to pay for food, supplies, and toys for all of our pets. We ask that, if you can afford it, you purchase these items for your SafePet animal. In certain cases, we can assist with the cost. You will not be responsible for veterinary costs.
How will your children adjust to their foster friend?
Are you confident your children can understand that our SafePet animals need quiet time to adjust to their foster homes, and may not want to be petted for the first few weeks? Will they understand that this is a loved pet that is going back to his / her owner when the time is right? Can they agree not to share pictures of the foster pet on social media? These are just some of the considerations we'd ask you to think about.
Can you commit to entire foster period with your pet?
Our pets have been through a great deal of stress, and we do not like to move them from foster home to foster home. We cannot predict how long the animals will stay in our program, though the average foster period is for 4 to 8 months. We ask that you keep your foster pet for that entire period, unless there is a serious reason why that cannot happen. We do arrange temporary fosters for your pet if you go on vacation.
Will you be ok with the level of veterinary care we provide?
Veterinary care is extremely expensive, and though our vet partners do offer us discounts, and though The Farley Foundation can also assist with some funding, we are not able to provide our SafePet animals with the level of care you would likely provide to your own pet. We make sure our pets are healthy, comfortable, and happy, but we cannot always go "above and beyond" in all the ways we would like to. We do try to spay and neuter our SafePet animals if at all possible, with the client's permission.
Are you prepared to care for an animal that has likely experienced abuse?
Most of our animals are sweethearts, but some take longer to warm up than others. This is because they are sometimes coming from high-stress, abusive environments. Though you may want a "lap dog" or a cuddly kitten, it may take time for our SafePet animals to adjust to their new foster home. In particular, many of our dogs have separation anxiety and take take a few weeks to settle in and trust that you are coming home each day.
Can you separate your foster pet from your own animals, if needed?
If there is a veterinary emergency, an infection, or other issues, we may need you to keep your SafePet animals separate from your own.
Will you refrain from sharing pictures of your foster pet online, or with others who may share them?
Our SafePet animals need to remain "anonymous", for reasons of safety and confidentiality. You and your family members cannot post pictures on social media, and we cannot pass on any information about the pet's owner, their personal history, or their current situation. We will pass on any information that is relevant to you caring for the pet.
What happens next?
Check your email.
We will be in touch to let you know we've received your Application, and we will let you know the timeline for next steps.
Complete a Level II Criminal Record and Judicial Matters check.
We will give you a letter to submit with your check, and we require this background check for every member of your family that is over the age of 18.
Participate in a virtual home visit.
One of our Foster Screeners will be in touch to schedule this meeting. It is a chance for us to see your lovely home, and for you to ask any questions you may have about the fostering process.
Wait for approval
The entire application process can take a month or more, so please be patient! Once we have everything we need, we will be in touch to let you know if you've been approved.
Take one of our pets into your home!
Once we have approved you, we will add you to our foster email list. We send out emails fairly regularly and they contain info about pets that are available. If you are available to take in one (or more) of the pets, let us know and we will arrange it as soon as possible.
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