Lend a Paw



Join the FOSTER4PAWS Program

Many AAPAW pet rescue members do not have physical shelters. The animals in their care are in foster homes until adopted by their fur-ever family. They can only help as many pets as they have space for in a foster home. When shelters and rescues are full, homeless pets have no place else to go but ACS. Municipal shelters do not have the option to be "no-kill" and while ACS is working toward achieving “no-kill” status, it will need the entire community’s support in order to accomplish this goal. There is simply not enough space or funding to care for all the homeless cats and dogs in San Antonio and its surrounding areas. Other pets live their short lives on the streets where they can die of starvation, get hit by passing cars or abused by passers-by. If you can't give a homeless pet a fur-ever home at this time, you can still help. Join the Foster4Paws Program! ?
What is the Foster4Paws Program?

The Foster4Paws Program is an AAPAW initiative to provide a database of pet foster parents who would be available to all member animal welfare organizations – shelters and rescues – to expand their capacity and networks so that they will be able to continue to save the lives of more homeless pets.

What do Foster4Paws have to do?

Foster4Paws are pet foster parents and very much like child foster parents. They care for a homeless pet as if s/he were their own until s/he gets adopted. Shelter environments can be extremely stressful for many dogs and cats and a foster home will provide them with more individualized care and attention. It also gives them better socialization skills, which will make them well-adjusted and therefore more adoptable. The pet foster is able to learn about the pet's personality, its likes and dislikes so that s/he can be better matched to the right fur-ever home. Most importantly, Foster4Paws save lives! ??

If you join the Foster4Paws Program, your application will be placed in a database for AAPAW member animal welfare organizations – shelters and rescue groups - in need of foster homes. Each member organization has its own criteria for fostering and you must meet their guidelines and undergo their training and orientation program when applicable. The requirements for every foster program will vary from one organization to another. You will be contacted and matched with a suitable pet to foster. For example, if you have cats, you will not be asked to foster a dog who does not get along with cats and the shelter or rescue will only ask you to foster dogs who have demonstrated an ability to get along with cats. If you work full-time and cannot care for young puppies or kittens, you will only be asked to foster adults.

Some member organizations may provide training for you to be able to screen potential adopters to determine if they are a suitable match for your foster pet or ask you to bring your foster to adoption events around San Antonio.? Veterinary care may be paid for by the shelter or rescue, but please make sure there is a clear understanding first. Any trip to the vet must first be approved. You would provide food (some shelters and rescues will provide food, so please ask first), water, shelter, training and transportation to and from vet appointments or to and from scheduled adoption events and of course, plenty of TLC!

Who can be a Foster4Paws candidate?

  • Someone who is not able to adopt a pet at the moment
  • Someone who is not able to make a lifetime commitment to a pet at the moment
  • Someone who is not sure how their pet would get along with a new cat or dog
  • Someone who never had the chance to have a pet but would really like to “test drive” pet ownership
  • Someone who loves pets and has the room and time to socialize and train a homeless pet while they wait for an adoptive home
  • Someone who already has pets and has room for one or more homeless pets on a temporary basis
  • Someone with special skills for special needs pets

Fostering Special Needs Pets

  • Ill or Injured Pets

Some pets are ill and need a quiet home to recover and receive special care. For example, a dog or a cat with a broken leg may need time for his/her leg to mend and to regain its strength before s/he is ready to be adopted. Taking care of sick or injured pets is probably more suitable for homes without young children or other energetic pets around. The Foster4Paws applicant should be experienced in caring for sick pets and be comfortable changing dressings or administering medications.
In some cases, the pets may not be ill, but may simply need time to recover their appearance. A dog that has had mange might scare away potential adopters, but once his/her fur has grown back, the dog will look more presentable and be easier to adopt.

  • Nursing moms or orphaned puppies and kittens

There are young pets or nursing moms that need a foster home until the litter is old enough to be adopted and the mom is healthy and strong enough to be placed in a new home. Fostering litters of orphaned puppies and kittens is very demanding as they need to be fed regularly in the beginning, usually every 2 hours, which requires getting up several times during the night to feed them – much like a newborn baby.

  • Pets in need of socializing 

Foster homes are also needed for pets that have been neglected or abused in the past, for pets who are fearful or timid and in need of socializing for whatever reason. Pets that haven't had a lot of contact with people (or only negative contact with people) sometimes don't trust people and need to learn that being with people can be a positive experience. A well-socialized and friendly pet is much more adoptable to the public when they're looking for a new companion.

Sometimes a pet just needs time to adjust after being in a shelter for a long period of time. Some pets that end up in shelters and rescue organizations are confused or stressed in the new environment. A foster home can give them the time to relax and enjoy themselves again before they're made available for adoption.