Fostering with HSNBA
Thank you for your interest in the HSNBA Foster Program! Our foster program enables us to save hundreds of animals each year that might not otherwise be given a second, or even a first, chance at adoption. We cannot tell you it will always be a warm and fuzzy experience. There will be messes… Very young kittens may not fully grasp the concept of the litter box at first; puppies have no understanding of housetraining yet; some adult dogs may never have been house trained or given appropriate things to chew on and play with. They will require lots of patience, praise, and assistance before they get it right. Foster animals can be fragile… Puppies, kittens, and even adult animals may get sick, sometimes quite seriously, and some animals just fail to thrive despite our best efforts. Diseases and parasites can be contagious…. HSNBA cannot guarantee that foster animals are free of diseases and parasites that may affect you, your family, or your pets. There can be disappointment…. Sometimes it is discovered that a foster animal has such severe behavior issues that they cannot be safely and responsibly re-homed in our community. However, most of these are rare occurrences, and for many people the benefits of fostering far outweigh the risks.
Please consider joining us. Together we can help end animal homelessness in Central Texas!
How does this work?
Once HSNBA has approved your Foster Application, we will add you to our database, Animal Shelter Manager. We will e-mail all approved fosters when we have animals in need of fostering, with a description of the animal(s) how long we predict the animal will need foster care and why and photos or videos of the animal(s). If you are able and interested in fostering, please reply to the e-mail as soon as possible. Time is of the essence, we need these most fragile of our guests OUT of the shelter as soon as possible. Once we receive your response we will solidify a pick up date and time.
- Kittens and cats in foster care should be kept indoors only.
- Puppies (under 5 months of age) in foster care should be kept primarily indoors, but can go outside for supervised potty breaks and play time/exercise. High traffic areas, such as the park, pet stores, public sidewalks/trails, etc… must be avoided, as puppies can be susceptible to deadly diseases that could be lurking there.
Dogs (over 5 months of age) in foster care should be kept primarily indoors, but can go outside for supervised potty breaks and play time/exercise. Short periods of unsupervised outside time are acceptable as long as you have ensured that your yard is secure. Some dogs can jump/climb over and dig under fences surprisingly fast, so please be cautious when leaving foster dogs unsupervised.
Unless contained in a securely fenced yard, or other appropriate enclosure, all puppies and dogs must be kept on leash while outside. In addition, a person must be holding the leash and in control of the animal at all times.
Since the history and behavior of foster dogs is not always well known, off leash dog parks are not recommended.
Picking up New Fosters
When picking up new foster animal(s), please come to the front lobby and let the Customer Care staff member know that you are a foster parent and that you are picking up a foster(s). You will need to have the animal(s)’ ID numbers or names (found in the original posting) with you. Please note, the shelter provides supplies only when they are available. We MAY have litter, food, beds, etc. but this is not always the case. Please be prepared to provide all supplies your foster(s) may need. After picking up your foster pet you will be emailed a schedule with additional details regarding their care and their future needs. Please be on the lookout for this email, it will be sent within 2 days from the day that you pick up.
The shelter is open from 10am to 7pm, Monday through Friday and from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. We are closed Sundays.
All foster pets under 5 months of age should have their weight checked and be given booster shots every 2-3 weeks. This means that kittens and puppies that are very young when they go to a foster home may receive as many as 4 boosters. Foster pets over 5 months of age when they go into foster care should return to the shelter for booster shots just once, 2-3 weeks after their initial shot. We can administer their shots here at the shelter, anytime we are open.
Flea/Tick and Heartworm Prevention
All foster pets over 8 weeks of age should be given flea/tick monthly. Since these medications are based on the weight of the pet, if your foster is still growing, you will need to follow the same protocol given above for booster shots. If you are fostering an adult animal whose weight has not changed, you can simply stop by the shelter with the pet’s ID#/name and request the medication as the due date approaches. We will do our best to remind you when your foster pet is due, but please help us by keeping track yourself as well.
Sick or Injured Fosters
HSNBA does not have a veterinarian on staff. If you notice that your foster pet has mild, cold-like symptoms (sneezing or coughing occasionally, clear ocular or nasal discharge) or they have diarrhea, but are alert, active, eating and drinking well, please email the foster coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can discuss the pet’s symptoms and determine if they need to be seen by a veterinarian. If your foster pet has more severe symptoms, such as vomiting, lethargy, yellow or green ocular or nasal discharge, refusal to eat, previously undocumented hair loss, straining to urinate or defecate, etc… please call the shelter at 830-629-5287 and ask to speak to a manager on duty to make arrangements for the pets to be seen by a veterinarian. If you are fostering a litter of kittens or puppies, even if only one pet is showing symptoms, the entire litter should be looked at. Please keep in mind, we do not have the funds to take extraordinary measures to save all animals in foster care. Some difficult decisions may need to be made when foster pets become ill or injured. If you would prefer and have the means, feel free to take the foster pet(s) to your own personal vet to be seen. However, HSNBA cannot reimburse you for unauthorized vet visits.
Fosters with Fleas, Ticks or Other Parasites
Despite the shelter’s best efforts at providing parasite prevention, there are times when foster animals will have parasites that may not have been fully addressed at the shelter. This will most commonly occur in very young kittens and puppies that are not able to safely receive flea/tick prevention. If you notice that your foster kittens or puppies have fleas on them, they can be bathed with plain Dawn dish soap and a small comb can be used to remove the dead and dying fleas. Kittens and puppies should be dried thoroughly after bathing and steps should be taken to ensure that they stay warm.
Scheduling Surgery and Microchipping
ALL pets MUST be fixed and micro-chipped BEFORE being made available for adoption or being transferred to new homes. No exceptions.
Kittens must weigh at least 2 pounds before surgery and puppies must be around 8 weeks of age and at least 3 pounds. The pets must also be healthy, no ocular or nasal discharge, a good weight for their age and no hair loss.
HSNBA does surgery clinics once a week, please coordinate with the foster coordinator about getting your fosters scheduled for their spay/neuter surgery when they old and heavy enough. You will be asked to bring them in the night before surgery to spend the night at the shelter, no exceptions.
Finding Forever Homes
HSNBA is almost always at or over capacity. While we will always take a foster pet back into the shelter to await adoption, having the foster home be an advocate for the foster pet while in foster care will make finding a forever home happen more quickly and easily. The best way to get your foster pet some attention is to take at least one clear, landscape-oriented (horizontal), 4×6 photo and send it to email@example.com. We will upload the pictures into the shelter database so they can be viewed by potential adopters on our website and Petfinder.com. If a potential adopter contacts the shelter’s customer care staff to inquire about your foster, they will be provided with your contact information (first name and email address) to follow up with you directly. You can expect a few emails to discuss the pet’s personality, behavior quirks, energy level, etc… Potential adopters may even inquire about visiting the animal in your home. If you are comfortable with this, feel free to proceed with the visit. If you are not comfortable with this, feel free to make arrangements to meet the potential adopter at a pre-appointed time at the shelter.
When trying to find adopters for the pets in your care, you can also promote your foster pets through your own networks. Social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are terrific ways to promote your foster animals. You can also create and post flyers, create an ad on Craigslist, etc… Please be aware that pets in our foster program are not on a first come, first served basis. As the foster parent, you may take several applications and/or meet with different potential adopters before deciding which would be the best fit for the animal(s) in your care. However, once you have confirmed with an adopter that they will be adopting one of the pets in your care, you must stand by that commitment. Any questions or concerns that you may have about a potential adopter should be addressed before you make a commitment to them — meet with them, get to know them, ask questions, even sleep on it if you need to BEFORE you make a commitment to them.
Adopters MUST complete the HSNBA Adoption Application and Adoption Contract. You can have them fill it out and give it to you OR you can direct them to the shelter to complete the process. Please see “From Foster to a Forever” for more information on the adoption process.
If all of this makes you uncomfortable, that is fine as well! Just let us know when you pick up your fosters and we will mark them “not for adoption” so they will not show up on our web page. Once they are fixed and ready to go, they can return to the shelter for adoption and we will make them viewable on the website.
Offsite Adoption Events
Another option for fosters searching for new homes are our offsite adoption events. These events are typically held on the weekends at various locations throughout New Braunfels and the surrounding area. You will be made aware of offsite events via e-mail. A staff member is always available at these events to help process adoption applications and answer any questions that foster parents or potential adopters may have.
Under no circumstances should a foster pet go to an adoptive home without first being spayed or neutered and microchipped!
Returning fosters to HSNBA
If you need to return a foster pet to the shelter for any reason, please contact the foster coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can make arrangements for you to do so.
Frequently asked questions
How long does an animal need to spend in foster care?
The average time spent in foster care is 2-6 weeks, but may differ depending on the foster animal’s specific needs.
What are some of the potential risks of fostering an animal?
- Owned pets and/or people could catch a disease or parasites from a foster animal
- Owned pets and/or people could be injured by a foster animal
- Sick animals could expire in foster care or have to return to the shelter for humane euthanasia due to severe illness, injury or behavior problems.
What happens if a foster parent’s owned pet catches a disease or parasites from a foster animal?
Any disease or parasites contracted by the foster parent’s owned pet is the responsibility of the foster parent and their personal veterinarian.
What do foster care providers need?
- Regular internet and email access
- Transportation to and from HSNBA
- If renting, permission from landlord
- Enough room in the foster home to isolate foster pets from owned pets if needed
- Up-to-date rabies vaccinations for all pets in the home
- We also strongly encourage interested foster care providers to discuss fostering with their veterinarian, as their veterinarian may suggest additional vaccinations to protect owned pets
Can fosters adopt their foster pets?
Yes! If you decide that you would like to adopt your foster pet, notify the foster coordinator as soon as possible. They will advise you how to proceed.
Do fosters provide adopters for their foster pets?
The program encourages and empowers foster parents to find adopters for the pets in their care. However, it is not required.
Important Contact Information
Shelter Phone Number: 830-629-5287
Foster Program Email: email@example.com
Adoption Program E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3353 Morningside Drive
New Braunfels, TX 78132