Fostering saves lives

March 13, 2016

Read about Yankee and how fostering is allowing him to become a therapy dog.

Our Foster Program is essential to the life-saving efforts at Louisville Metro Animal Services. We rely on people like you to help us save the too young, sick and injured animals who need our care. To become a Foster home through Louisville Metro Animal Services, you must reside in Jefferson County and all current animals (dogs, cats, ferrets) must be licensed.

Foster parents take into their homes dogs and cats that are:

  • Too Young or underweight: Kittens and puppies, in a litter or paired up with another orphaned kitten or puppy. They are fostered until they are eight weeks old and weigh two pounds. Most kittens and puppies are fostered for 2-6 weeks. These litters are not with a mother. In some circumstances, the kittens are not weaned and they may need bottle-feeding. 
  • Nursing Moms and babies: Litter of kittens and puppies with their moms are fostered until the babies are 8 weeks old and weigh two pounds. There are times when mom does push a kitten away or a kitten wanders off, so you may need to supplement these babies with some replacement formula. Generally, mom does all the work until the babies start to have teeth. The mom will feed, stimulate the babies to go to the bathroom and clean up after them. 
  • Ill or recovering from injuries: Dogs and cats suffering from a minor common ailment, such as an upper respiratory infection, eye infections, or ear issues will often be sent to foster to recover in a home environment. These are usually minor cases, but it is recommended these animals be kept from resident dogs and cats to avoid spreading any diseases. We also get dogs and cats that have had surgeries such as amputations that need some time to recover away from the shelter. Foster time will depend on the nature of the injury or illness.
  • Waiting Rescue Transport: Some dogs and cats are sent to smaller/breed specific rescue organizations. When an animal has a confirmed spot with a rescue, they will sometimes need a foster home until the rescue can arrange transportation. This would be a short term foster situation of 1-2 weeks. Animals waiting for rescue transport should be closely monitored for any signs of illness as many rescues will not transport sick animals.
  • Overcrowding: Some dogs and cats may be sent to foster homes to help alleviate overcrowding problems in the shelter. This would be a short term foster assignment of approximately 1-2 weeks or until there is space open and available for the animal.