HoHH Foster Guidelines
Hearts of Horse Haven is engaged in the rescue and re-homing of equine that confiscated due to cruelty and neglect or the threat of being homeless. We accomplish this through a network of volunteer foster homes. Our mission is as follows:
Mission Statement: To advocate for, educate and give hope to equine across the Volunteer State
Our Foster homes and volunteers are our most valuable resource, without which we could not operate. We cannot ever thank you enough for the help that you so lovingly give to these animals in need. It is our hope that this guide will provide information to aid the valuable work you do.
Bringing a Foster Equine into Your Home
Animals coming into foster care are under some stress – from loss of their owner, neglect or abuse, or time running at large. They need stability and time to adjust to new people, animals, surroundings and routines. A first instinct may be to love on them and try to reassure them. Unfortunately, an animal that is in a new situation may at first be frightened, rather than reassured, by a touch or attempt to bond with it. Because horses have a fright and flight response built into them, and the fact we don’t know their background and what may trigger a dangerous response, we suggest taking things slowly because they will need time to “come around,” and it is best to let them do so at their own pace.
When an animal is anxious or fearful, let it come to you, even though it may take hours or days or even weeks. Talk to it, using a calm and gentle tone; avoid quick movements; encourage it with a treat, or coax it – but do not force an interaction initially unless it is necessary for the animal’s health or safety.
- Foster Volunteers should not place a new arrival (foster) with their own animal(s) until both have had time to adjust to the change, the personality of the foster has been observed, and the foster volunteer is certain that the foster animal does not have a contagious disease or parasites that could harm resident animals.
- Most foster animals will be current on vaccinations but just in case this is not the fact the animal must be seen by an HoHH approved licensed veterinarian as soon as possible. This will be at the expense of Hearts of Horse Haven. Foster animals should be isolated from the Foster Volunteer’s resident animals until it has been checked and evaluated by that veterinarian.
- Foster animals should not be left alone with resident animals for any length of time during the first days.
- Foster animals should be provided with a quiet space, food and water to allow them to settle into their new environment.
- Foster animals should be housed in a small, safe area to allow it to be caught if needed until it has settled into their new surroundings.
- If an animal must be stalled or left alone for a period of time, it should be checked on frequently to ensure for its well being.
- Foster Volunteers should supervise interactions of the foster animal with people and other animals, and especially with children. No one should force attention on an animal – and the animal should not be placed in a situation that is frightening to it. No animal should ever be left unsupervised with young children or with other animals.
- Foster animals must be fed a complete and healthy diet. Foster Volunteers will be given a feeding program on each animal placed into foster care. Because some animals may be a part of an ongoing court case following the feed program provided is very important.
- Some animals may require special feeding instructions that the foster volunteer must adhere to. Some animals may require limited pasture time, special feed requirements, special supplements, etc. Foster volunteers will be informed of any special requirements before being placed into their custody. We understand if those requirements may be too much for a foster volunteer to provide, which is completely understandable. We want all foster volunteers to be comfortable in their job duties.
- Some animals (especially those from cruelty cases) that have had to scrounge for food and fight to keep what they have found. This sometimes results in an animal that is very protective around food and must become very protect. Therefore, feeding animals in a herd environment is not suggested until you have had a chance to observe the animal’s behavior.
- A stall is not required in most situations as long as there is an area the animal can get into, if it so chooses, to get out of the weather or elements.
- If the animal is stalled, the foster volunteer must ensure it is cleaned and kept dry with adequate bedding for needs of the animal.
- Building must have proper ventilation and lighting.
- Animal must receive adequate time to exercise daily outside of the stall unless it is under veterinarian instruct to keep stalled. In such a case the animal might require hand walking on a lead.
- If no barn or stall is available some type of shelter must be made available. There should be room for each animal on the property to lay down comfortably in the dry.
Town/city ordinances often dictate the maximum number of allowable equine on the Foster Volunteers property. Hearts of Horse Haven advises all foster homes to know and adhere to the limitations of their city or county.
- If the Foster Volunteer is not the property owner they must get approval in writing before an animal can be housed there.
When an animal is placed in the care of the foster home, it is the Foster's responsibility to not only to ensure the proper feeding of the animal but to ensure it is receiving humane care and handling. Because we do not know the background of most animals that come to HoHH we have no idea of its training or vices. Fosters are our hands on the ground equine evaluators. That’s what makes this job so important. Anyone can stick a horse out in a pasture but that doesn’t help make our equine more adoptable. Listed below are a few of the items we like our fosters to do while caring for an animal.
- Lead – some horses have never been handled and others are very green. Teaching an animal to lead, respect their space and stand patiently is a very important process in ensuring a horse has good ground manners.
- Pick up feet – If a horse isn’t able to trust a human to pick up its feet, how will it be able to have a good experience when the farrier comes to trim their feet? Teaching a horse to allow you to do this is so important in their health training.
- Loading – If the foster has access to a trailer we encourage them to help make sure an animal loads calmly and easily. This can be a very time consuming training but means so much later down the road if an emergency arises and a horse must be transported quickly.
- Grooming – Having personal one-on-one contact is so important for our horses. Most have come from a less than desirable background and crave human attention. Spending time just brushing and talking to them can make a big difference in their life.
If the foster animal requires veterinary care you must obtain approval from HoHH beforehand.
- If an animal requires emergency health care, however, do not delay. Contact HoHH as soon as possible so they can advise to extended treatment.
- If possible, foster homes should arrange with their vet to bill Hearts of Horse Haven directly for treatment of foster animals. Hearts of Horse Haven can help set this up, if the vet is willing to bill directly.
It is our hope Foster Volunteers will not only help with the care of an animal while awaiting placement but also help lower the financial burden on HoHH by picking up some of the cost of care. This is not a requisite though to be approved as a Foster Volunteer.
Every effort will be made to reimburse expenses incurred for rescue animals as soon as possible when the following procedures are followed: A reimbursement form with copies of bills must be mailed to Hearts of Horse Haven. If you have access to a scanner, the form and bills may be scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONLY PRE-APPROVED expenses will be reimbursed.
Why Pre-Approval? Sometimes HoHH is able to provide the item because of donations or make them available at a greatly reduced rate.
Do: The following expenses fall into the pre-approved reimbursement category:
*Vaccines *Coggins *Farrier *Medication *De-Wormer
Do Not: but, may fall into the reimbursement category at the discretions of HoHH :
*Hay *Feed *Minerals
Please make all effort to submit the receipts within thirty days. Hearts of Horse cannot pay finance charges. Should finance charges be assessed they will be at the expense of the foster caregiver.
During Adoption Process
When an animal is considered ready for adoption, the foster home will need to provide a brief bio about the animal and pictures to the webmaster to be uploaded onto the website.
- Fosters have first option to adopt when an animal becomes available or if a potential adopter steps forward. For Foster Volunteers the adoption fee will be discounted (or free) depending on how long the Foster Volunteer has had the animals in their care. Fosters have 7 days to finalize an adoption contract before the animal is offered to another adopter.
- Once an animal is ready for adoption the Foster Volunteers may be required to show this animal to potential adopters and help in the matching process. Because Foster Volunteers are with these animals on a daily bases their input is very important in matching the right adopter with the right animal.
It is important to keep the confidentiality of the previous owner. You may have knowledge or access to documents that could have the previous owner's information on it. Because we do not adopt our to potential adopters that may have a connection with the previous owner it is very important that you contact HoHH if you think this might be the case with someone you feel has these relationships.