Donate • Shop • Volunteer
There are several ways to support ABRA Inc. Read below to learn about the different ways that you can help and select one that works for you today!
Want to volunteer with us? We need fosters, transporters, and help at events! If you’re interested, please click on the link below to fill out our foster/volunteer application.
Have questions about fostering an animal? See our FAQ section below!
FOSTER RELATED FAQs
If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. However, please remember that ABRA works solely with volunteers, and we all have our own full time jobs and families, just as you do. We will always do our best to get back to you within 24 hours. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of our pets typically come from shelters within the Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland locations and come with minimal information provided by the shelter and limited dog/cat testing at these facilities. Some pets are new coming into rescue and need a foster home to keep them until adopted. We will always provide all details we have on a foster, but please remember we may not simply have the answers to your questions.
We feed our fosters premium pet foods and will provide as many supplies as possible. If we have extra litter boxes, crates, cat trees, etc, we will provide one to you. For dogs, monthly flea and heartworm preventative will be provided.
Most pets are at least crate trained; however, house training is probably one of the biggest efforts with younger animals. This is when a crate is most useful. We cannot predict if a dog is house trained and will rely on the foster home to evaluate this. Most shelters state the dog is house trained and this is not always the case. Please be prepared to clean up accidents should they happen. Sometimes a dog in a new environment may not know your routine for getting to go outside, and you don’t know their signals yet.
Any medical concerns will be addressed by our veterinarians. If medication is needed, ABRA will pay for approved medication while the pet is in the foster program. If the pet requires medication long term, ABRA will disclose that prior to adopting. Almost all of our animals are fixed before being adopted, unless they are too young to be altered. Any dog/cat that meets our age and health standards are typically fixed within two weeks of intake. We heartworm test all dogs over 6 months.
With new fosters, we like to pass on a dog from a current foster home that has already been tested with as many circumstances as possible. Some fosters have cats and kids, some have neither. You can always bring your family to meet a potential dog and see how they react to you before committing to fostering. This is a volunteer experience like no other; this animal will stay with you and your family for weeks or even several months. We want every foster situation to be a success and for our foster families to find it a rewarding and meaningful experience.
We do expect fosters to keep their dogs for the duration of their time within the organization. There is no way to predict how fast a dog will be adopted. It can be anywhere from a few days, a few weeks to a few months. If you are no longer able to care for a particular dog, please keep in mind it can take up to two weeks to find a new foster home. You will be expected, per your fostering contract, to care for the animal until a new foster home is found or he/she can be moved into boarding.
As long as the vet visit has been approved by an authorized ABRA member, ABRA will pay for the foster pet’s medical needs. If one of your own pets catches an illness from a foster, we will discuss coverage on a case by cases basis depending on the situation.
If there are no other applications on your foster, yes you may pay the adoption fee and adopt your foster. If there are other applications pending, however, we ask that you allow potential adopters to meet your foster to see if it’s a good fit. The first foster is always the most difficult to see leave, however, please remember the countless animals in shelters awaiting a second chance.
The foster home will be responsible for caring for the basic needs of the foster dog/cat: feeding, love, playtime, exercise and ensuring monthly heartworm/flea meds are given. ABRA covers all supplies for toys, medical (included monthly flea and HW) and food. A foster provider also helps with training. As long as advanced communication is provided, we can almost always get you food and meds before you run out. If we have a spare cage available, one will be provided. The foster home will help in determining the right adoptive family. While all applications for adoption must be approved by one of the Co-Directors, every foster family has a say! ABRA asks that you help contact prospective families and give information pertaining to your foster pet. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, we certainly will help you out. The foster home will also help to coordinate separate meet and greets with prospective families if an adoption event is not able to be used for this. We do not require meet and greets to be done in the foster’s home; they can be done in a central location or in the prospective adopters home. All foster parents are expected to ensure their foster pet attends one adoption event a month (spring, summer, fall only). Adoption events are the best way to get your foster seen, evaluated and socialized. We ask that you yourself attend one as well, so you can get to know the others in the group and interact with the public with your foster dog/cat.
Unfortunately most dogs/cats don’t get along with other dogs/cats right away. Once a new dog/cat enters the formal territory of your already established pets, the dynamic will change. Please allow time for a proper introduction before jumping to any conclusions, but please also always keep us in the loop on how the intro is going. Some foster animals will not adjust and may need to be moved to a new foster home. A foster cat will take longer to acclimate to a new surrounding, especially if there are other cats in the household. Age and health of the new foster is also a factor. As several new foster dogs come in not feeling their best, as they heal they become more playful, etc and a new dynamic is born. By signing up as a foster, you understand that if a foster dog/cat is not adjusting well and needs to move from your household, it may take time to find a new household and you’ll be expected to keep the foster, in separation, if needed until we can find a new house. ABRA does not condone leaving dogs in boarding, as this is costly and no place for a dog or cat to live. We will consider boarding under special circumstances, but this is not always the option.
You know your foster best, so if you notice something odd, please contact us and we’ll help evaluate if the foster needs to be seen by one of our vets in the area. Permission must be granted ahead of time in order to ensure we have the proper funds available. Written communication is preferred (text or email).
Many of the animals we pull are ill, due to the conditions they were in at the shelter, or due to not ever having vaccines. We require all fosters with pets to have their pets current on vaccines prior to fostering to help minimize the possibility of your pet getting sick. If your foster is already ill or you suspect an illness, it is important to quarantine your foster until they are well, or we have received all tests from the vet – which are not always available the same day. Below are several common issues found in the animals that come into the rescue.
To quarantine: For dogs, it’s okay to keep them in the crate and let them outside by themselves only. If they have an illness that can be transmitted through the air, they should be isolated in their own room. For cats, they should be isolated in their own room. Limit playtime for your foster and let them get used to the environment slowly.
Heartworm: This is NOT contagious and is caused by a mosquito. Hence HW prevention each month should be given. If your foster tests positive for HW, ABRA will schedule treatment. Time of treatment depends on funds and severity of HW test. A foster may be adopted out while being HW positive on a case by case basis.
Fleas: This is contagious. If your pets are up to date on their monthly prevention, they shouldn’t get it. All initial vet checks for fleas and provide medication that quickly kills the fleas. If your foster has fleas, they should be kept isolated in a room without carpet for about 24-48 hours so the flea medication has time to do it’s job.
Kennel Cough/Upper Respiratory: This is contagious to your pets – especially if they are not up to date on their vaccines. This is the #1 common cause for pulling an animal from a shelter, as they are contagious to all the other pets sheltered there. Typically this will be treated with an antibiotic and other medications, and usually clears up within 10-14 days. Some cases are severe and require more attention.
Tapeworms: This is NOT contagious. Tapeworms are caused by ingesting fleas, eating dead rodents, etc. They appear as small grains of rice around the rear end/base of the tail. If you suspect your foster has tapeworms, contact us so we may obtain the medication necessary to eradicate the worm. Tapeworm treatment requires a specific type of dewormer.
Whipworms/Roundworms: These can be contagious if your pets eat, play in the foster’s stool, or share a litterbox. It is not usually noticed, but can be present if the foster has diarrhea or bloody stool. Please contact us and we will provide the necessary medicine to treat the worms. For dogs, it’s important to regularly remove fecal matter outside as the eggs for these worms can stay in the ground soil for up to 5 years. For cats, it’s important to scoop their litterbox daily and clean their litterbox on a regular basis.
There are other reasons a dog or cat may be sick i.e. mange (sarpotic or demodex), open wounds, eye issues, etc. Our vets will evaluate these on a case by case basis and provide care instructions for nursing your foster back to health.