What Does Wags & Whiskers do?.
Wags & Whiskers will place the beloved pets of hospital patients or those in medical crises in need with loving and safe foster homes who offer temporary, free boarding until the owner can be reunited with their companion animals. Our work will give peace of mind to, hospital patients and those families in medical crises and save beloved companion animals from being lost, abused, or euthanized.
How does Wags & Whiskers work?
Wags & Whiskers will require a detailed application to be filled out by all Foster Families and Pet Owners. After a Foster Family has applied to be a foster, an in-person home check is completed, where a Wags & Whiskers Home Visit Volunteer checks the home for animal appropriateness, safety, and discusses the Foster Family’s experience and expectations. Remote home checks will require a Wags & Whiskers Representative to speak with two animal-welfare references of the Foster, who the Foster has known for at least one year, and are carried out when the Foster lives over 90 minutes from a Home Visit Volunteer.
When a Foster Pet is submitted that fits the requirements for a certain Foster Family, Wags & Whiskers will contact the home, and if the Foster Family is able and willing to take the Pet for the entire term, Wags & Whiskers will facilitate the initial meeting, foster, and reunion. Wags & Whiskers goal is to always be in contact with the Foster Families and supports them where necessary with animal transport, training, pet supplies, or veterinary help, so that the Pet Owner knows they will return to find their pet has been cared for as they would have themselves. Wags & Whiskers relies on volunteers and donations to fulfill its mission of caring for the beloved pets of our families with medical issues.
What are the requirements to be a Foster Family with Wags & Whiskers?
All Foster Families must submit a Foster Home Application. Foster Families need to have some previous experience with the animals they are applying to foster, and all people in the household must want to foster an animal. Homes need to be safe and appropriate for the type of animal to be fostered, and pets should be kept inside most of the time. All Foster Homes must complete the 3-step Foster Home Approval Process which includes the Application, Veterinarian Check, and the Home Check and/or Photo+Reference Check.
How do I prepare my home to be an Animal Foster Home?
Pet-proofing a home is important for new Foster Families. Check that your house plants are not poisonous to animals, or move them out of reach. Keep medications and chemicals on high shelves or in latched cabinets. Cover trash cans. Block any small spaces, nooks, or holes in walls, cabinets, or behind your washer/dryer. Put shoes, laundry, string/craft items, and children’s toys behind cabinet doors. Make sure all cords are out of the pet’s reach, or have a cord cover. If you have stairs, consider a pet gate to prevent falls or unwanted excursions. Finally, if you are fostering a dog with a large tail or a cat, consider putting fragile knick-knacks away so they are not knocked over.
Can I foster more than one animal at a time for Wags & Whiskers?
YES. At Wags & Whiskers discretion Foster Families will be able to foster more than one animal at a time, if space in your home allows for another animal.
Can I choose the type of animal and breed I would like to foster?
YES. We will work with all Foster Family’s preferences of animals, breeds, sizes, temperaments, activity level, even colors!
What are the requirements to have an animal placed in The Wags & Whiskers program?
1- Reason: Wags & Whiskers will only offer foster care to pets of people who love their pets but are unable to care for them due to a temporary medical reason. Owners must check with all friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors first, and use Wags & Whiskers only as the last resort before surrendering their pets to a shelter.
2- Dates: Owners must provide a solid date they agree to retrieve their pets by, and proof that they can provide care (housing and food) when they return. The pet must be transported to and from the foster home by the owner or someone who knows the pet well.
3- Pet Health: The Foster Pet must up-to-date on all required shots. Dogs and cats must be spay/neutered and current on flea-tick preventative before entering the Foster Home.
4- Care: Owners agree to cover all costs for their pets’ food, medical care, and damages to Foster’s property, as set forth in the Foster Agreement. Owners have the ability to cap unexpected medical costs at a predetermined amount. A state-side Point of Contact must be provided who can make emergency decisions regarding the pet if the owner is unavailable.
5- Behavior: Wags & Whiskers will not allow aggressive or destructive animals into it’s program, and should a pet bite, scratch, snap at, be destructive or excessively disruptive while in the foster program for any reason, they must be immediately removed.
6- Transport: Owner is responsible for Pet’s transport to and from the Foster Home. If the pet is a dog going into a foster home with other dogs, or if Wags & Whiskers has any concerns about the pets behavior in a new home, the Owner or someone who knows the animal personally must travel with the pet to the foster home for the pet’s drop-off.
What if I need temporary care for my pet because I need to move out of my apartment or need a job before I can care for my animal?
Wags & Whiskers will not offer foster care for these emergencies due to the unreliable foster completion dates. In unusual circumstances Wags & Whiskers may be able to offer foster care. The mission of Wags & Whiskers is to provide peace of mind and temporary pet placement for people facing illness.
Will you adopt my pet to someone who will care for it if I cannot?
No. Wags & Whiskers will be connecting medical patients with temporary pet homes. We will promote life-time, responsible pet ownership and thus, we will not permanently re-home any foster pets. If you are interested in surrendering your pet, please contact your local rescue group or shelter.
How long does boarding usually last?
Boarding lasts between 1 month – 2 years. Pet Owners give a estimated date of foster completion, which sometimes varies by a few weeks. Foster Families can specify a maximum and minimum foster length they are comfortable with, which Wags & Whiskers will accommodate.
What if a pet is not spay/neutered, or current on shots?
Pets must be altered (spayed/neutered) and current on all required shots before they are fostered in Wags & Whisker’s Foster Program. Wags & Whiskers works with Emancipets whose mission is to make spay/neuter services and veterinary care affordable and accessible to all pet.
How soon can my pet be placed in a temporary foster home?
Every case is different and equally important to us. We will strive to work diligently with our foster homes and Wags & Whisker’s goal is to place an animal in the best foster home as quickly as possible in all our cases. We do appreciate having an advance date for animal fosters.
My pet has special needs (takes medication, separation anxiety, etc.) does Wags & Whiskers accommodate special needs animals?
Yes! We are happy to work with you and your animal to find the best foster home that can accommodate your pet’s needs.
Is there a fee for Wags & Whiskers services and emergency animal foster care assistance?
No! We take pride in offering no-cost services to people in need of emergency assistance. We do require the owner to reimburse the foster for their pet’s food, grooming, and medical expenses, to prevent undue pressure on the foster family. We will also encourage, but do not require, a donation to Wags & Whiskers to help offset the cost of finding, arranging, and supporting the Foster Home while the owner is away. Your generous donation to Wags & Whiskers is essential to keeping these emergency services available to the public at no cost.
Does Wags & Whiskers accept animals nationwide?
At this point as a new organization we are focused on the medical needs in Texas. However our future goals will allow us to focus on needs outside of Texas. We want to help and have relationships with partners who may be able to assist outside Texas. Please contact Info@WagsWhiskers.Org for more information and questions.
How often are you in touch with the foster family?
Wags & Whiskers will be available to all foster families 24/7, should an emergency or issue arise. After the initial foster meeting, Wags & Whiskers will be in regular contact with the Foster Family to ensure the foster pet is acclimatizing and everything is running smoothly. Unless there is reason to touch base more often, Wags & Whiskers will contact the Foster Families on a monthly basis, checking that the Foster Pet Owner and Foster Family are doing well and staying in regular communication.
How do the owner and foster family keep in touch?
Pet Owner and Foster Family will contact each other regularly, as listed on their Foster Agreement, through email, phone, Skype, postal mail, videos and occasional visits if Pet Owner is available. While the minimum amount of contact is monthly, many Fosters send weekly or even semi-weekly updates on the foster pets activities. Pet Owners have reported that these stories and pictures become a high point of their time away, that they look forward to and could rely on to bring good news and a smile to their faces. After completion of the foster period, Foster Families often visit the Foster Pets and Pet Owners in their home, forming a bond that will last a lifetime.
What if my family or friends want to check on the health of my pet while I’m away?
Wags & Whiskers cannot release non-public information about the foster animal to anyone who is not included in the Foster Agreement. This would be the Owner, the Foster, and the Owner’s Point-of-Contact. Similarly, Wags & Whiskers will not release non-public information about the Foster Family. Of course, you are free to share information about your pet with whomever you’d like! Coming soon! family and friends will be able to check Wags & Whisker’s website for photos and descriptions of the drop-off and reunion..
Who pays for the food and medical care of the Foster Animal?
The Pet Owner is held responsible for all food and medical care of the Foster Pet. This is arranged in the Foster Agreement, and is usually paid via Paypal, check, cash, or a debit/gift card.
Does a foster family get paid for fostering a pet?
NO. Wags & Whiskers is a primarily volunteer-run organization and Foster Families are not paid for boarding a pet. The only monetary exchange between Pet Owner and the Foster Family should be funds provided by Pet Owner to cover expenses directly relating to the pet’s care.
What happens if the foster family cannot fulfill the contract of care?
If the Foster Family cannot fulfill their Foster Agreement for any reason, Wags & Whiskers will seek out a replacement Foster Family and do it’s best to assist with training or food/veterinary support. Should Wags & Whiskers be unable to contact either Pet Owner or their Point Of Contact for greater than two weeks, ownership of the Foster Pet will change to Wags & Whiskers, who will try to adopt out the animal, but cannot guarantee placement within Wags & Whiskers network. If an Owner has not put in place a plan for their pet in case of Foster failure, pets may needlessly end up in shelters.
What if there is damage to the fosters’ property, pets, or humans while in foster care?
The Owner is required to notify Wags & Whiskers and the Foster Family of any behaviors that might endanger the Foster’s property, other animals, or humans such as: aggression, jumping, digging, chasing, chewing, marking, etc. Owners will remain financially responsible in case of such incidents, assuming the Foster acted reasonably to prevent such an accident and was providing reasonable, proper care to the pet.
What if there is an injury or accident involving the pet while in foster care?
If a pet is injured or involved in an accident during the owner’s hospitalization or medical separation while in a Wags & Whiskers Foster’s care, it is the Foster’s responsibility to immediately take the Pet to a veterinarian for evaluation. Owners will remain financially responsible in case of such incident, assuming the Foster took reasonable measures to prevent such an accident and was providing reasonable, proper care to the pet. A veterinary release form is included in our Foster Agreement, which allows the Owner to specify a veterinarian they prefer and maximum dollar amount they will pay, and protects the Foster Family. Wags & Whiskers recommends that all pets be microchipped with updated contact information, always wearing a collar with updated contact information, and insured against injury or illness to give Owners peace of mind in the event of an accident.
What happens if the Owner does not return from their hospitalization (deceased, or unable to resume care due to physical or mental injury)?
If the Owner does not return from their hospitalization or medical crises due to unfortunate circumstances, the Foster will contact Owner’s Point Of Contact to determine who will assume care of the Foster Pet. Ensure your pets’ care is covered in your will, and that you leave your Foster a Point Of Contact who will be able to provide guidance in accordance to your will, with what to do with the pet and who will assume care of the pet. Remember, if something happens to you, your Foster will not know unless you list them as a person to be contacted in case of your death or inability to care for your pet. Ensure the personal information on file with your hospital, doctor or close family includes your pet’s Foster Family. If owner is not able to resume care and has no one listed who can resume care, ownership of animal passes to Wags & Whiskers, which cannot guarantee adoptions within Wags & Whisker’s network. If an Owner has not put in place a plan for their pet in case of a tragedy, pets may needlessly end up in shelters.
Does Wags & Whiskers offer support with animal training, veterinary care, or kenneling of the foster pet?
Wags & Whiskers is working on developing a network and relationship with trainers, veterinarians, and kennels that offer partial or complete discounts to Wags & Whiskers Foster Pets.
How can I volunteer?
If you are interested in volunteering, THANK YOU! It is only due to the support of people like you that Wags & Whiskers is able to give peace of mind and hope to our critically ill members by giving loving, in-home foster care to their pets until the owners can return. We always need more Foster Families and volunteers for many roles. We are always looking for people to spread the word by distributing flyers and conducting outreach. We will focus on pet care providers that can donate their time, and more! Please contact Wags & Whiskers if you would like to volunteer. Info@WagsWhiskers.Org.
Wags & Whiskers