Paw Scouts is a program which aims to educate and inspire youth, in their intrinsically curious and compassionate nature, to become active members of the rescue community.
Through various achievement opportunities, each Scout is invited to provide comfort and care directly to animals, learn about and reflect on the animal rescue and adoption processes, and connect with other like-minded, animal-loving youth. The program is excited to celebrate how each Paw Scout can truly change the lives of animals with their ideas, activities, and creations. As the Paw Scouts program grows, more achievement opportunities and events will be added.
The Paw Scouts program is intended for any and all curious, compassionate youth - having a resident and/or foster animal is not required to participate. There are several achievement opportunities that don’t require an animal in the home. Siblings, friends, neighbors, teams, and classmates are encouraged to work on achievement goals together - rescue work is rarely done alone, after all!
Check out the FAQs below to find more details about Paw Scouts, including how to register. Once the registration form is completed, each new Scout will receive an exclusive backpack. In addition to using the backpack to carry leashes, toys, or other rescue gear, it is also where Scouts can add each pin they earn for completed achievements! Welcome to the pack, future leaders of rescue!
How long does one typically foster a dog or cat before it finds a forever home?It is very hard to give an average time an animal is in foster care. Many puppies and kitties are adopted within a month or two, while some adult dogs have been in foster care for years! Most of the time, our animals are adopted relatively quickly, but we cannot make any guarantee as to how long they will be in your home. We ask that you commit to the animal you are fostering until a forever family is found.
Can I choose what dog/cat I want to foster?Yes! All of our animals needing a foster home are posted on our Secondhand Hounds Fosters Needed Facebook page. If you find a dog or cat who interests you, contact the Foster Coordinator and he/she will ensure the animal will be a good fit for your household. You can also give us criteria for the type of dog or cat you want to foster. After you let us know your criteria (i.e. age, size, gender), we will do our best to match you with the perfect foster animal.
What is the role of my Foster Coordinator?Foster Coordinators help find dogs and cats to come to rescue, and are responsible for placing them in foster homes that are a good fit. Foster Coordinators are also the main resource and support system for all of the fosters. If you have a question about your foster animal, you should talk to your FC. If it is a question that they can not answer, they will delegate that question to someone who has the answer. See them and all of our staff here!
Where do the dogs/cats come from?Our animals are rescued from high-kill shelters all around the Midwest. We have volunteers who regularly visit these facilities and look for animals that need our help. We have developed great relationships with shelter workers who contact us when they have animals in danger of being euthanized. If you are interested in more information about your specific foster, we will do our best to tell you where he/she comes from, and his/her background story, if possible. We also receive some of our animals from owner surrenders – owners who can no longer provide care for their animals, but who want to ensure the best possible new home is found for them.
Am I putting my personal pets in danger by agreeing to foster?Because our dogs and cats come from shelter situations, they have unknown histories and it’s quite possible they haven’t had their medical needs properly met. They sometimes have kennel cough (the equivalent of a human cold) and worms, among other possibilities. Before we bring the dogs/puppies and cats/kittens into a foster situation, we de-worm them, vaccinate them, and give them Frontline or other flea/tick preventatives. We highly recommend your resident animals are on Frontline or another flea/tick preventatives prior to fostering.
Ready to get started?
completable without access to an animal:
Read Rescue Tales
Read stories from the recommended list of Paw Scouts Rescue Tales. Earn a certificate for reading 5; earn a pin for reaching a total of 10 books.
Write Rescue Journal
Write and/or draw using the Paw Scouts Rescue Journal Writing Prompts and Worksheets. Earn a certificate for writing 5; earn a pin for reaching a total of 10 journal responses.
Option to send images of your favorite Rescue Journal entries to email@example.com to be shared on Secondhand Hounds social media!
Make toys for foster animals and donate to the rescue. Earn a certificate for making 5; earn a pin for reaching a total of 10 toys. Toy Ideas: Braided & Square Knot, Crinkle Bottle, 41 DIY Projects for Pets
Make blankets for foster animals and donate to the rescue. Earn a certificate for making 1; earn a pin for reaching a total of 3 blankets. Tie Blanket Instructions.
Bag Food & Treats
Volunteer to donate and/or bag food and treats at home for foster animals within the rescue. Earn a certificate for volunteering 1; earn a pin for volunteering a total of 3 times.
to be completed with a resident, foster, or friend's animal (with permission):
Feed a resident, foster, or a friend’s animal (with permission) for 7 days. Earn a certificate for completing 1; earn a pin for completing a total of 3 times.
Walk or exercise your resident, foster, or a friend’s animal (with permission) for 7 days. Earn a certificate for completing 1; earn a pin for completing a total of 3 times.
Pick up after and/or scoop the litter box for your resident, foster, or friend’s animal (with permission) for 7 days. Earn a certificate for completing 1; earn a pin for completing a total of 2 times.
Attend a SHH training class and/or reinforce positive training methods with your resident or foster animal in your daily routine or during a brief training session for 7 days. Earn a certificate for completing 1; earn a pin for completing a total of 2 times.
Attend an adoption event (virtual or in-person) with your foster animal. Earn a certificate for attending 1; earn a pin for attending a total of 3 events.
Foster a dog until adoption. Earn a pin for each dog you save!
Foster a cat until adoption. Earn a pin for each cat you save!
Whelp/Queen a Litter
Whelp or queen a momma animal and her litter. Earn a pin for each family you save!