Fostering a dog means agreeing to take a homeless dog into your home and provide them with love, training, care, and attention as if they were your own; it is a commitment to the dog until the dog is adopted. By doing so, a foster family saves lives by making room in shelters. Learn more about the ASPCA. Adoption Ambassadors Foster Program


Why Rescues Need Them

Most rescues do not have shelter facilities, so foster homes must care for the dogs they take in. Many rescues pull dogs from local shelters, freeing up space for other dogs who may be in need of a home.

Shelters may request that rescue organizations with a foster network take dogs that are not doing well in the shelter environment, have an injury, or have undergone surgery and require additional care.

Mom with puppies who still require special attention until they are old enough to go to a forever home.

Should You Consider Fostering?

Being a foster family is one of the most generous and life-changing gifts you can give a dog in need, as well as one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. It not only changes the dog’s life, but you will also find that it changes you for the better as a result of the experience.

  • It’s completely free. In most cases, the rescue organization will cover all of the costs associated with housing a foster dog. Responsible rescues cover vet bills, flea and tick prevention, spay and neuter, and microchipping while the dog is in your care. If you choose to pay for these items yourself, you will save money for the rescue, and it is now a federal tax deduction.
  • You make room for another dog at the rescue or shelter.
  • It gives your foster dog the time he or she needs to be ready for adoption. Dogs prefer to be at home rather than in kennels. At home, you can boost their confidence, familiarize them with everyday life, and provide them with a history.
  • It allows the shelter or rescue to learn more about the dog and place him in the best home possible. Socializing the dog in a home environment and possibly acquainting him with other pets and different types of people. A dog’s personality, strengths and fears, and suitability for living with children, cats, or other dogs can all be more easily assessed. A dog with a “background” is easier to match with the perfect home.
  • For people whose circumstances do not permit permanent ownership, short-term ownership can be an excellent way to enjoy the companionship of a dog. Plus, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, it’s a great way to see if you want to commit to having a dog permanently.
Close-Up Shot of an American Staffordshire Terrier

Ready to Help?

Prepare yourself to make the time commitment that fostering a dog necessitates. You’ll most likely need to train your foster dog as well as work on socialization skills. You want to ensure that your foster puppy is well socialized and behaved as a result they have a better chance of being adopted.

There are numerous other reasons why you should consider fostering. We have only mentioned a few. If you want to foster, please contact your local rescue organizations or shelters. As most will have a foster care application ready for you.

In all 50 states there are rescues and shelters that can use assistance with good foster homes. A general search in your area will yield numerous potential foster opportunities.

Bringing the Foster Dog Home

You may have your own pet at home, and whether it’s a dog or a cat, you’ll want to make sure your resident pet gets along with your new visitor. If you have a cat, for example, inquire whether the shelter or rescue organization has a way to test how the foster dog reacts to cats. Even if the test goes well, you should keep the dog and cat in separate rooms until the dog is at ease in their new surroundings. For first introductions, keep the dog on a leash.  Or, if you have a resident dog, make sure you can take him or her to the shelter or a neutral location to meet the potential foster dog.

When you bring the foster dog home, keep both dogs on a leash and under your direct supervision until you’re certain they’ll get along.

Why Foster?

  • Helps the organization in learning about the dog’s personality.
  • You assist in socializing the dog in a loving home.
  • Fostering increases the likelihood of a dog being adopted.
  • Allows you to enjoy the company of a dog without making a long-term commitment.
  • Aids the dog in overcoming the stress of abandonment.
  • You save a life.

Gather Information

It is beneficial to the rescue or shelter if you can provide information about the personality and behavior of your foster dogs. Keep track of their activity levels, habits, and demeanor. This information will assist them in matching your foster dog with a forever family.

Things to Consider

Taking in a foster dog is a significant time commitment. Before making that commitment, make certain that both you and the organization are on the same page. For instance make a list of your top concerns and ask them before agreeing to foster.

  • What about prospective homes?
  • Who will be in charge of organizing visits?
  • Are you expected to attend adoption events with the dog?
  • Will adoptive parents come to your house?
  • Does the organization screen potential adopters? Is it possible for you to adopt the dog?

When a Forever Home is Found

‚ÄčThe hardest thing some foster care volunteers encounter is giving up the animal. When the time comes, it can be challenging to adopt away a foster dog, but keep in mind that you are just helping them on their journey to their forever home, and there are many more dogs just waiting for that opportunity.

And, sometimes fosters have a hard time saying goodbye. But if you simply can’t say goodbye and want to make your foster your new family member, that’s also fantastic. Typically this is referred to as a “foster failure.” While this may appear harsh, it is not! It simply means that they formed such a strong bond with the dog that they decided to adopt their foster dog. It’s wonderful when a foster decides that adopting a dog is best for both them and the dog.

Finally, when the dog is adopted to new parents, you’ve done your job and made your foster a success. But if you simply can’t say goodbye and want to make your foster your new family member, that’s also fantastic.