• As a Foster Parent for Second Chance SPCA (SCSPCA) the undersigned agrees to follow all relevant procedures and guidelines regarding the foster animal as stated below.  If the animal cannot be kept by the Foster Family, the Foster Family shall notify SCSPCA immediately.  The animal shall not be sold, abandoned, relinquished to a pound or shelter or to a rescue group other than SCSPCA, transferred, or given to any individual, or to any retail or wholesale establishment.  We appreciate your desire to help Second Chance SPCA by fostering one of our adoptable pets, but in order to ensure the safety of your foster, we ask that you review and sign the following terms and conditions.

    1. In signing this foster agreement with SCSPCA, I declare that I am aware that animals are different from human beings in their responses to human actions; the actions of animals are often unpredictable; children and animals must be closely supervised when interacting; an animal’s behavior may change after it leaves the shelter and accustoms itself to its new environment.
    2. I am aware that the educated opinions of the shelter staff do not constitute a claim or guarantee as to the temperament, health or mental disposition of any animal available for foster or adoption.
    3. I agree that any dog or cat placed with me will reside in my home as a pet.  I agree to provide compassionate and loving care for whatever pet is taken into the home as long as necessary.  This care includes — but is not limited to — adequate food, water, shelter, and medication when required.
    4. I understand that SCSPCA must approve all adoptions.  All prospective adopters are subject to the standard adoption procedures and application process.  Fosters may encourage prospective adopters, but should not make promises or representations that a pet will be adopted to someone prior to the application and adoption approval process.
    5. I am aware that foster animals may need routine medical care such as immunizations or care for an illness.  If my foster pet requires medical care I will contact the Foster Coordinator who will set up an appointment.  In case of emergency, I may be instructed to seek immediate medical care, but will contact the Foster Coordinator first, and if not available, any SCSPCA board member for assistance.
    6. Foster parents may not authorize veterinary treatments, procedures or medications without the authorization of the Foster Coordinator or an SCSPCA board member.  From time to time foster parents seek medical care from their family veterinarians.  Medical expenses at a facility other than a pre-approved facility will not be reimbursed by SCSPCA.  Medical expenses are our greatest expense and it is imperative that we work with veterinarians that provide superior care at negotiated reduced rate.
    7. As a foster I will administer any medications as prescribed by the veterinarian.  
    8. I understand that as a foster, it is important to be patient and tolerant during the transition period and I am willing to work with the pet on basic training, such as housebreaking.  If fostering a dog, he/she will be kept primarily inside the home; the dog will not be outside without proper adult supervision.  Foster cats must remain as indoor cats at all times. 
    9. I agree to keep the dog leashed outside whenever he/she is not in a securely fenced area.  I will not tie or chain the dog in the yard, and will never leave the dog outside in a yard or elsewhere without adequate adult supervision.  Foster will not allow strange people or animals — people or animals unknown to the dog — to approach the dog without being in full control of the dog and the situation.
    10. I agree to immediately notify the Foster Coordinator or any Board member of any problems or difficulties resulting from caring for the dog.
    11. I understand that any animal I foster will be fully vaccinated, de-wormed and treated for fleas unless a medical situation prohibits such preventatives at that time.
    12. I understand that a crate will be provided to me for the animal and agree to crate the animal when unable to supervise it.  I will not hold SCSPCA responsible for any damages to my home or property by an animal that was not properly crated or supervised.

    The Foster and Foster family agree to indemnify and hold harmless SCSPCA from any direct or consequential damages arising from this Foster Care Agreement.  This includes any and all manner of actions and causes of actions, suits, debts, dues, accounts, bonds, covenants, agreements, judgments, claims, and demands whatsoever arising from or relating to the adoption, placement, and /or possession of the dog.

    Foster Signature: _____________________________________ Date:______________

    Guidelines for Illness of SCSPCA Animals

    You must have your own animal current on all vaccinations.  This will lessen the likelihood of them contracting any contagious diseases.  We recommend you speaking with your vet and informing them of your foster work so that your animal receives all vaccinations and preventatives necessary to stay healthy and protected.


    With any animal that has spent anytime in a shelter, it is unknown what they may have been exposed to.  Some have parasites, such as fleas, roundworms, tapeworms, etc.  During their stay with SCSPCA, they will be examined by a veterinarian and tested for these parasites.


    At the shelter we keep a supply of Flea Preventative and Capstar to handle flea infestations.  Your foster animal will have been treated for fleas before going to your home.


    We administer a heartworm preventative, given the age of the animal, and a standard de-wormer.  When the worms began to die they may pass in the stool.  Occasionally, if the infestation is severe, the animal may even vomit.


    We do vaccinate, but if exposure occurred prior to vaccination the animal may still become sick.  Any animal with symptoms should be isolated in a separate area away from your animals.  Keep them in an area that can be easily cleaned with bleach.  You must use caution on your exposure to the animal and then exposing any of the illness that you may carry on you or your clothes.  Be sure to change any clothes and wash your hands before handling your own animal.  Ideally, the sick animal should be cared for last in your daily routine.  This prevents exposure to the healthy pets.

    It is imperative that you note all symptoms to inform the vet of, if needed.  This will allow them to properly prepare themselves at the clinic when you bring the animal in for treatment.  This includes temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal drainage, coughing, sneezing, involuntary spasms or movements, activity level and appetite.  A form will be provided to you which requires daily checking of the animal’s overall condition.  Note any and all abnormalities as thoroughly as possible.  Do not assume anything.  That is the veterinarian’s job.

    Below we have outlined what symptoms you may see that requires a call to the vet.  All symptoms need to be communicated with the vet’s office prior to bringing the animal in.

    Canine Distemper

    Canine distemper is a highly contagious disease caused by canine distemper virus (CDV). It may affect the respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological systems in the body.  It is generally transmitted through contact with mucous and watery secretions discharged from the eyes and noses of infected dogs.  However, it can also be transmitted by contact with urine and other bodily fluids of infected dogs, so your dog may become infected without coming into contact with an infected dog.  Air currents and inanimate objects can also carry the virus.

    Distemper was a common infection in dogs many years ago, but the incidence has been significantly decreased through widespread vaccination of dogs.  Canine distemper is now most commonly seen in young, unvaccinated or immune-compromised dogs.  More than 50 percent of dogs that contract the disease die from it.

    What to Watch For

    While some affected individuals have only a few mild clinical signs, others may exhibit more severe signs.  The first noticeable signs might be discharge from the eyes and nose, mild cough, and mild lethargy.  Other common signs are:

    • Depression, malaise
    • Anorexia, dehydration
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Seizures
    • Lack of coordination
    • Involuntary muscle tremors or tics
    • Paralysis or weakness
    • Blindness
    • Hardening of the footpads
    • Discoloration and pitting of the teeth of growing dogs

    Parvoviral Enteritis (Parvo)

    Parvovirus (Parvoviral Enteritis or “Parvo,” for short) is a virus causing severe infection in puppies and dogs.  It invades and destroys rapidly growing cells in the intestine, bone marrow and lymphoid tissue resulting in nausea, vomiting and severe hemorrhagic (bloody) diarrhea.  The invasion of the bone marrow cells causes a decrease in the white blood cell count leading to increased susceptibility to bacterial infections and sometimes to a shock-like condition called endotoxemia.  The disease can vary from mild to fatal if not properly treated.

    Parvovirus is extremely contagious to other dogs.  Infection is generally attributed to ingestion of material contaminated by dog feces and can occur when a dog smells or licks the ground.  Direct contact with another dog is not necessary for infection.  Parvovirus is shed in the feces of infected dogs for approximately two weeks after initial ingestion and can live in the environment for years.

    Dogs at highest risk for infection are unvaccinated puppies or those who have not yet completed their vaccine series.  It is most common in dogs less than 8 months old.  Dogs of all ages can be infected, but puppies and younger dogs are most susceptible.  Intact male dogs may also be susceptible for unknown reasons.

    What to Watch For

    Clinical signs generally are seen 3 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.  Signs may include:

    • Depression
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea (often containing foul-smelling blood)

    Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough, Bordetella)

    You might think your dog has something stuck in his throat.  The cough associated with acute infectious tracheobronchitis, (ITB) or kennel cough, is a high-pitched, honk-like cough, sometimes followed by retching.

    Kennel cough is a highly contagious inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and bronchial tree caused by a contagious virus (adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, canine distemper virus) or bacterium (Bordetella bronchiseptica).  The disease is associated most often with dogs housed in a high-density population or boarding kennel.  The infectious agents can be transmitted through the air or by contact with contaminated surfaces.  Puppies and younger dogs are at greatest risk, but even old dogs can acquire kennel cough.

    The incubation period from the time the dog first contracts the infection to the time that symptoms develop is typically between 3 to 10 days, and the symptoms can last for days to weeks.

    What to Watch For

    Kennel cough causes a variety of symptoms that can vary in severity.

    • Signs of upper respiratory problems such as conjunctivitis (irritated eyes), rhinitis (runny nose) or sneezing may be observed.
    • Cough.  The classic symptoms are bouts of a loud, honking cough that worsen with activity or excitement and can persist for minutes.  The dog will often act as if something is stuck in the throat and retch or vomit up fluid after coughing.  If secondary bacterial pneumonia develops, the dog often shows signs of illness such as loss of appetite, depression, or fever.
    • Loss of appetite
    • Depression
    • Fever
    • Difficult breathing

    Instructions for Rectal Temperatures

    A normal temperature for a cat or dog ranges from 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  We recommend using a digital thermometer.

    Some dogs will allow you to take their temperature, but others don’t like it at all.  It might be easier if you get another person to assist by holding your dog.  Then do the following:

    • Place a thermometer cover on the thermometer.  Then lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly, KY jelly or other water-based lubricant.
    • Have your helper hold the head and front part of the body by tightly hugging your dog.
    • Lift the tail and insert the thermometer slowly and carefully into the rectum located just below the base of the tail.  Insert the thermometer about 1 inch and hold in place until the digital thermometer beeps.
    • Remove the thermometer and read the temperature.

    Basic biosecurity and hygiene

    1. Wash after handling any ill animal.
    2. Always treat, feed, or clean ill animals last in the daily routine.
    3. Isolate any ill patient immediately and call the Foster Coordinator or SCSPCA Board member.
    4. If a pet becomes ill, take a rectal temperature, record it and note signs and symptoms on the care sheet.
    5. When taking an ill pet to the veterinarian, try to limit exposure to the other pets at the clinic.  This may mean waiting to bring ill pet into the building, not walking pet in but carrying it.  Also, when leaving either leave pet in the exam room, or take immediately to the vehicle and come back in for paperwork, receipts, etc.
    6. If you are making veterinary care runs, try to limit what you transport to minimize cross exposure risks.

    Basic Care Guidelines

    This set of guidelines is intended to give you a realistic perspective of fostering animals. It can be a very rewarding experience; it also represents an extraordinary commitment of time and can be very taxing emotionally.  Thank you for your gracious understanding and assistance.

    Puppies and Kittens

    Puppies and kittens are not always neat.  Their job is to run, play and grow.  Our job is to make sure they stay healthy and happy.  Very young animals require feedings several times a day and night just like human babies.  Your schedule must often be built around their needs.

    Disease and Illness

    Sometimes despite everything we do to care for them, animals, and particularly very young animals, may not survive to adulthood.  This is no one’s fault; it’s just one of those things we humans find especially painful.

    There are any number of reasons why a baby animal might not survive.  The young may lose their ability to suckle and/or move food through the gastrointestinal tract.  They may have contracted an illness from the mother before birth, or even have parasites from the mother, which later causes health problems.

    As a foster parent, all you can do is be as well informed as possible, keep your eyes open for potential problems, and alert SCSPCA whenever problems arise.  Be on the alert for runny eyes or nose, coughs, irregular breathing, lackluster behavior, etc.  If you notice these behaviors, write down the specifics and get a current temperature, then call the Foster coordinator.  It is imperative to identify illnesses as early as possible and get appropriate care.  If a cat’s 3rd eyelid shows in the inside corner of its eyes, be on the alert for further illness.   

    Food and Feeding

    SCSPCA will provide Science Diet food for the foster animals.  Very young animals that are being bottle fed may be fed every two hours, and should be fed when they cry for food.  If you are bottle feeding a puppy or kitten, it is important that they be given formula specifically designed for puppies or kittens.  We keep a supply of formula at the shelter and it is available at most pet stores.  These animals can generally be weaned onto solid food starting at 4-5 weeks of age.


    Stools should be firm in healthy animals. Runny stool may indicate a multitude of issues.  Please consult the Foster Coordinator should this arise.


    Young puppies and kittens cannot eliminate on their own; normally, the mother assists them with elimination by licking their bottoms, which stimulates the reflex to eliminate. Foster parents should mimic the parent role by wiping puppies and kittens with a warm, moist cloth after feeding to stimulate elimination.  This is especially important in kittens, as they can become sick or die from blocked intestinal tracts if not properly stimulated. Kittens should be placed in litter boxes at an early age when they can dig and scratch.  A litter box should be made available at all times.


    Keeping your own Pets Safe and Healthy

    Foster animals should always be kept away from personal pets at home to prevent the possible spread of illness and parasites.  This procedure protects both the foster animal and your pets.  Keep in mind that the foster animals are generally too young to be immunized.  If you have dogs or cats of your own, be certain that they are inoculated against all of the diseases that foster care animals are likely to have.  If possible, your personal animals should not be allowed to come into contact with the foster animals at all.  At the very least, do not allow them to eat out of the same bowls.