Fostering is a very important part of our program to help rabbits. To best serve all the rabbits needing our help, we have two Fostering Programs designed to supplement our shelter care.
Many rabbits come to us in their mid-to-senior years when they are more likely to need costly medical care. Some come to us with chronic conditions requiring on-going medical care. Such rabbits are much less likely to be adopted because of their higher medical expenses. Often these rabbits have been house rabbits most of their lives and are quite well-behaved, affectionate companions, but through no fault of their own, have been abandoned by their previous caretakers.
Our Permanent Fostering program meets the needs of these rabbits, providing a permanent home for them just as an adoption would. The difference between adopting and permanently fostering is that HRS pays for the medical care, as long as the Fosterer takes the rabbits to one of the veterinarians we specify.
Permanent Fosterers must meet the same standards as our adopters. See links to the special Foster Applications below. If accepted, Permanent Fosterers must be or become members, go through our “Rabbit Packet” with an HRS Adoption Counselor and take the Bunny Tune-Up Class.
The Ongoing Foster Program (OFP) at the Colorado House Rabbit Society was established in July 2009 to help save a few more rabbits. That is our No. 1 goal. Our shelter is always full to capacity and beyond that at times. Emergencies abound and we have a long list of rabbits waiting to be rescued.
Being an Ongoing Fosterer requires strong dedication and true long-term commitment. Pairs of rabbits are placed into approved foster homes for a two-week period, returned to the shelter, and another pair taken home in their place. This cycle continues as long as the fosterer participates in the program. The Ongoing Fosterer incurs all expenses for care and feeding of the rabbits while in their home. Should a medical emergency arise while rabbits are in your care, CO-HRS will pay for approved medical expenses. The procedures for handling a medical emergency will be detailed for you once you are accepted into the program.
Once a fosterer takes a pair of rabbits home, the space in the shelter is immediately filled by a new rescue. Because of our space limitations, it is essential that the Fosterer informs the Foster Program Manager well in advance – at least two weeks and preferably more – when they will be unable to have foster rabbits in their care, i.e., vacations, holidays, etc. This allows the Shelter Managers to make space adjustments to accommodate the Fosterer while ensuring all rabbits are cared for.
All prospective Ongoing Fosterers must complete an application. Once the application is approved, you will be asked to come to the shelter and meet with the Foster Program Manager to discuss in detail your responsibilities as an Ongoing Fosterer, do a run-through of an exchange, and answer all your questions as they arise. All Ongoing Fosterers must either be current members of the Colorado House Rabbit Society or become members before rabbits can be placed. An Ongoing Foster Contract must be signed. Each requirement on the contract will be fully explained so you have full understanding of your commitment.
Once approved and prior to fostering your first pair of rabbits, you will be required to read the articles on our website under the Care, Diet, and Health category and go through our “Rabbit Packet” with an HRS Educator, and then complete our 4-hour free Bunny Tune-Up Class which touches on everything from proper bunny handling to recognizing signs of illness.
To meet Colorado state guidelines, each foster home must be visited and the area where the rabbits will be housed inspected and approved. Home inspections are required on a yearly basis for as long as you remain in the program. During inspection it will be determined according to your space and setup whether you take “multiples” (we have some threesomes), larger pairs, smaller pairs, or a single rabbit in the rare instance we need a single fostered.
Fosterers do not choose which rabbits they will foster. The Foster Program Manager chooses which rabbits go into foster care according to several factors which will be explained during your first meeting at the shelter. Fosterers are asked to complete comment cards on rabbits in their care. This information is then made available to prospective adopters to aid them in getting to know the rabbits prior to adoption.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT FOSTERING
- We provide pens, crates, litter boxes, etc. if you need us to do so; however, people who don’t need these will be selected for these programs over those who do need for us to provide them.
- The Fosterer provides food, toys, litter, general care, love, and attention.
- We cover all medical costs as long as the Fosterer takes the rabbits to the veterinarians we specify.