Volunteering as a foster parent by temporarily bringing pets into your home helps shelters save homeless animals. At Operation Kindness, our foster system helps a variety of animals, including dogs and puppies.
Foster care helps animals grow up healthy and get the love and care they need until they’re ready for adoption. Joining the foster program is a rewarding experience to save lives and give pets a chance to find an amazing family.
What does fostering for puppies entail?
Operation Kindness is here to support you and provide help every step of the way! We want our foster families to enjoy the work that they do for the pets they take in. If you are interested in fostering, start by filling out a foster application. Upon approval, foster parents will be matched with a foster animal that is right for them. We also provide one-on-one training. The length of time needed in foster depends on the age of the animal and will be shared with you up front.
In this case, puppies that are too young and vulnerable for a shelter environment stay with foster families to grow, socialize and thrive.
Here’s an idea of what fostering will look like:
- 0-2 Weeks: Puppies will feed every 2-3 hours and feeding habits vary depending whether a puppy is being bottle fed or nursing from their mom. Playtime is nonexistent due to them sleeping 90% of the time. The rest is for eating!
- 3-4 Weeks: As the eyes and ears are open, puppies begin their playful fun by biting ears, tails and paws before any teeth come in. Socialization, a very key component in upbringing a foster puppy. It is mainly influenced by their mother or through increased handling to get them familiar with human contact.
- 4-5 Weeks: While bottle feeding continues, weaning begins and puppies will learn to eat from shallow saucers. House training also begins at this stage.
- 5-6 Weeks: It’s vaccination time! Puppies will receive their first round of vaccines to make sure they’re protected against illnesses. They’re also extremely playful, full of energy and ready to learn the basics of house training.
- 6-8 Weeks: There’s a second round of vaccinations and the puppies should be eating roughly 3 to 4 times daily. This also is the beginning preparations for the puppies to return to Operation Kindness.
- Operation Kindness provides as smooth a transition as possible to ensure that puppies who are ready to return to the shelter are ready to go. Fosters can also share insights about their puppy’s personality, tricks they’ve learned and any important additional details.
How to prepare:
- Before any pet enters a foster’s home, it’s important that you are prepared. This is where Operation Kindness is here to help! Clean towels, food and water bowls, heating pads, hot water or infrared lamps should be set up prior to the puppies entering the home. We will advise you on what supplies are needed.
- Care for foster puppies is often dependent on how old they are in their developmental stages. Each stage is important for a puppy as they should receive proper nurturing and nutrition to continue growing healthy and strong.
- Operation Kindness will provide the food, supplies, and medical care needed for your foster puppies.
While fostering is more in-depth than this short guide, we hope you have a good idea of what to expect. We’re always happy to welcome new foster families to help vulnerable puppies have a great quality of life.
Check out our foster page for additional details about fostering. We hope you consider this incredible journey!