The goal of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa's Temporary Love & Care (TLC) Program is to provide an interim in-home environment for pets with physical or behavioral challenges who need special one-on-one care to help prepare them for adoption into permanent homes.
TLC families provide at-home temporary care for kittens, puppies, dogs, cats, small caged pets, horses and occasionally donkeys, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas and other barn animals. Some pets may need a temporary home for a few days; others may need a few months. The ARL has a need for TLC homes year-round, with heaviest volume in the spring, summer and fall when most litters are born.
TLC program needs include:
- Caring for pregnant animals or those who have recently given birth, then continuing to care for the family until the litter is at least eight weeks old.
- Socialize animals who aren't completely comfortable with humans-typically puppies, kittens and small caged pets, but may also apply to adult animals. TLC volunteers who help to 'socialize' pets will do so under the guidance of ARL's Pet Behavior staff.
- Caring for "special cases" - Pets who need a calm and quiet home environment for recovery following surgery, neglect or injury.
- Caring for barn buddies (horses, goats, pigs, etc.) who need a special environment, medical care or socialization.
For "house" animals, the Animal Rescue League will provide crates and all veterinary care we deem necessary. Whenever possible, we ask that foster providers furnish food, formula, cat litter, etc. For Barn Buddies, the ARL relies on foster families to provide food, water, shelter, and also medical care in most instances. TLC volunteers provide time, their homes, barns, pastures and lots of love, all in order to prepare pets for the best adoption placement possible.
For more information about fostering "house pets", please call (515) 473-9108 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or for an application. For information about the TLC Foster Program for Barn Buddies, please contact ARL's Barn Coordinator Judy Hand, at email@example.com, or by phone at (515) 473-9112.
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“'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.' -Mahatma Gandhi. That is a quote that I have thought about many times and the message contained there is part of the reason we foster for the ARL. It's pretty simple. By fostering, I can help an animal.
We have a special interest in helping dogs and puppies and the ARL has been very accommodating in helping match us with the type of animal we want to foster and they make the process so easy. They also understand that I currently work fulltime and sometimes I can't help. I can't wait until I retire so I can help more!
Some of my "dog lover" friends say they don't understand how I can give up our fosters, but in my mind, I am just helping these dogs along their way to a new home. And we know the ARL will find them a good match.
This has also been an opportunity for those "teachable" moments with my sons. They have often asked,”Why doesn't that puppy have a home?" And I am always happy to educate them on the importance of spaying and neutering so we don't have lots of unwanted animals in this world!
It is really hard to put into words how much I personally get in return for the opportunity to foster an animal but I do know that I hope to be able to do it for many, many more years. :)
“My experience as a foster was the most truly rewarding experience I could have ever imagined! My first foster was an older dog named Oscar and his owner was in the hospital. Oscar was 14 years old, but during my time with him I can say he was 14 years young! After Oscar I had puppies and kittens and ALL of the experiences revealed clever personalities, new experiences for them that made me laugh so hard I cried most of the time.
I thought it would be hard to say good-bye to them when that time came but I looked at it like a teacher who has kids passing through each year. The experiences and memories are priceless!
Take care and THANK YOU for giving ME the opportunity to foster these precious precious gifts!!”
“The first cat I ever fostered was from the ARL this past summer. It was Picasso and he definitely had a personality. The first couple weeks of getting him adjusted was a little tough but once that was over it was fun watching him interact with my pets and becoming more accustomed to my dog. I was discouraged when I kept promoting him and he still hadn't found a forever home but I knew it would just take time. Once that special family came along and adopted him it was the best feeling in the world that I had helped this little guy find a new home. Of course I miss Picasso but it is great to see him with a forever home. I even became "face book friends" with his mom and so I can see him grow up and interact with his new family and what a wonderful life he has. It was the most rewarding experiences I have ever had and taught me that you have to be patient when it comes to fostering, because the right family is out there! I will definitely foster again from the ARL because they are so organized and really care about all their foster pets by asking for weekly updates and always willing to help you out with promoting your foster pet!”
“I'm glad that I signed up to be a foster with the ARL. I thought about fostering for a while, but never signed up because I was afraid I would never be able to let them go. I can't believe how wrong I was. Bringing them home is always the thrill - knowing that I was helping to change the outcome of their life. Some of them are scared, some of them are underweight, some of them are sick; but they all just want to be loved. Watching their personalities totally change and enjoy attention, gain weight, or get healthy again has been very rewarding.
I have a dog and two cats that allow me to live with them and it was a concern of mine that it would be impossible to bring other fur-friends into the mix. I was wrong (again!). With proper introductions (which the ARL will help/advise on), I have never had an issue. One of my cats even sits outside the bedroom door now when he knows there are cats in the bedroom and meows because he wants in to see what's going on. He used to be quite grumpy, but having fosters has really changed his personality for the better. The staff and volunteers that I have been in contact with are great. They are always very responsive, knowledgeable, and just want to help make everything a success for everyone involved. “