How to Be a Foster Parent for Dogs

Brighten a dog's life by opening your heart and home to him.
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If you have a loving and compassionate heart for animals with a little extra room and time to spare, fostering a dog could forever change his life as well as your own. Humane societies and rescue groups continuously need help taking care of dogs waiting for loving homes. Becoming a foster parent to a furry friend will often require experience taking care of dogs, extra space within your home and time for caring for your new foster buddy.

Step 1

Contact your local humane society or an animal rescue group in your area. Enquire about becoming a foster parent and express interest in helping furry friends in need. Most likely, the kind folks at these organizations will be very happy to hear from you, as they are often in search of people with kind hearts who want to make a difference for animals. Request an application to become a foster parent. This will most likely be emailed to you or the application can be found on the organization's website.

Step 2

Fill out the application to foster a dog. Specify on the application that you are interested in fostering dogs, as many organizations take in both dogs and cats. The application may ask about how much time you have available during the week to take a foster dog to veterinary appointments, work with him on learning basic commands and housebreaking and generally being there to play with him. Keep in mind that not all dogs in need of a foster home will come with a set of good manners or the ability to give you a head's-up when they need to do their "doggie business."

Step 3

Complete any required training or orientation through the rescue group or humane society. A training program will usually consist of a few hours in a group setting where you will learn about special needs of foster dogs, screening potential adopters and working with your foster dog on basic commands. You may be required to fill out more paperwork that will specify if you are willing to take in a dog with special needs or pay for out-of-pocket expenses. If you are not able to cover the cost of veterinary care for a foster dog, don't let this discourage you. Many rescue groups and humane societies will cover these costs.

Step 4

Buy supplies to care for your foster dog and get your house ready before bringing him home. A dog food bowl, water bowl, a comfy bed to sleep in and plenty of dog toys will be necessary for the new furry angel who will be gracing you with his presence. If you will be crate-training, a crate will also be necessary. Puppy pads will be needed for dogs that need housebreaking. The rescue group may provide this for you as well as dog food and treats. A dog leash and collar will oftentimes be provided by the rescue group as well. Set up the dog bed in a comfortable area away from any other animals within the home for your foster dog's first night. While he's getting adjusted to his new temporary home, it's best for him to be away from other animals until you know for sure that everyone gets along.

Step 5

Meet your foster dog and bring him home! This is a very exciting time, but keep in mind that some foster dogs may come from situations where they faced abuse. Your foster dog may be extremely fearful and distrusting. Other foster dogs may not be used to being in a home environment, so potty-training may be necessary. It may take time for Max to warm up to you, but with time and patience, many dogs come around. It's not uncommon for people who foster to say their foster dogs intuitively know they were rescued.

Step 6

Provide the daily food, water, love and playtime required for your furry foster buddy. Take him to veterinary appointments and meet with potential adopters. When meeting with potential adopters, the rescue organization will have an application and a list of questions they require them to answer. As a dog foster parent, it's important you get to know potential adopters to see if they would be a good fit for providing a loving, forever home for the foster dog you have come to know and love.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog water bowl
  • Dog food bowl
  • Dog bed
  • Crate
  • Dog toys
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Dog food
  • Treats
  • Puppy pads (if necessary)