“They don’t need us to keep them. They need us to keep them alive.” – Kitten Lady
MHS is always in need of volunteers who can open their heart and home to foster our shelter animals. By agreeing to foster you provide temporary care in your home for companion animals who are not yet ready for adoption or when the shelter is full.
By offering your time, energy, love and home to an animal in need, you help prepare them for adoption into a permanent home, as well as creating valuable space in the shelter to accommodate other homeless animals. Fostering may be needed anywhere from a few days to a few months – just let us know what works for you!
MHS provides the food, veterinary care and other supplies!
All materials needed for your furry foster will be provided for you by MHS. This includes carriers, beds, blankets, towels, kennels, toys, collars, leashes, bowls, food/formula, litter, medicines, veterinary care, as well as any other items the animal may require!
What does the Foster Parent provide?
As a foster parent you are responsible for feeding, cleaning, socializing and cuddling your furry guests. In some cases, animals may need bottle feeding or medications. In terms of space, you don’t need much for cats or kittens… a laundry room, bathroom or extra bedroom is helpful, but a cage set up in the corner of your room can work just fine. For puppies usually a bathroom or crate will do. As for the larger dogs, we recommend keeping them in a crate when you are away or asleep until you learn the behavior and training level of the dog.
Who can be a Foster parent?
Almost everyone! Whether you own or rent; if you have pets or not; if you’re a part time resident, retired, work full time, work part time, or if you are a student. You choose what kind of foster animal works for you! The Foster Coordinator is happy to discuss what each animal needs in terms of foster care so you can make the best decision for you and your home!!
How does the Foster Care end?
Unless you adopt your Foster friend, you must be prepared to let them move on to their Fur-ever Homes. It can be sad to say goodbye, but remember, you have given them a great start toward a new life. Thanks to you, they will have a loving, permanent home with some very lucky adopters.
What kinds of animals need foster care?
Dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are selected as Foster Candidates when they are:
- Babies – MHS often takes in animals who are simply too young. This could be a mama with babies or just the orphans that have come in alone.
- Ill or Injured – MHS is an open admission shelter, meaning we do not turn away any animal in need. We often take in animals who are not healthy enough to go up for adoption immediately. Some need a quiet place to recover as well as some additional care or TLC.
- Under-socialized – An animal may be too timid to thrive in the shelter environment and needs a couple of weeks with a foster to learn that being with people can be a good thing.
- Stressed Animals – Sometimes an animal just needs a break from shelter life, and could really benefit from having a place to decompress. We also get a chance to learn more about them and match them with the perfect home.
- S.O.S. – Sometimes our pet population can grow faster than we can adopt out. Our current residents may need a place to stay for a week or so to allow for incoming animals.
I'm unable to foster at this time, but would love to support the program with donated items. How can I help?
We greatly appreciate donated items we receive for our foster families, as they are crucial for our animals’ wellbeing. See our Amazon Wish List for items you can contribute to our foster program! Mahalo for your support.
Most importantly, always remember that every pet you foster saves a life.
How can I get started saving lives?
Please sign up for an online foster orientation which will walk you through the process and let you know what to look out for and expect along the way. Once you have completed the orientation you will be added to an email list so that you can see all the wonderful animals in need of Foster Care. It’s up to you when you want to start and with what kind of animal that will best fit your home, your family and your lifestyle.
Want to read what it’s like to foster an MHS shelter dog?
Volunteer foster parent Jody Reale chronicled her experience fostering Sunny, a shelter dog who came in with severe non-contagious mange in her blog, Adopt a Shelter Dog on Maui!