Fostering FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Fostering for The Nest

What is a dog foster parent?
A dog foster parent provides a safe and loving environment for dogs until they are adopted. In addition to affection, the foster parent provides basic care for the animals such as food, water, and shelter. When fostering a dog, the dog foster parent may teach him basic house manners. The dog foster parent may have to transport their foster animal to adoption events or have potential adopters visit the foster animal in their home. In the event that the foster animal needs veterinary care, or becomes ill or injured, the foster parent may be required to transport the animal to a designated veterinary hospital.

Why are dog foster homes needed?
We can only rescue as many animals as we have room and staffing for. Local animal shelters euthanize dozens of healthy and friendly animals each day to make space for the new ones coming in due to limited holding space. Local animal rescue groups have to turn away dozens of adoptable animals each week because they lack foster parents. Not only do foster parents maximize the number of animals rescued, they also help to care for animals that would be difficult to care for in a shelter or kennel environment. A foster home simply provides a loving and safe environment for the dog until it is adopted.

Who should foster a dog?

  • Someone who cannot, at the moment, adopt a dog for its entire lifetime.
  • Someone who never had the chance to have a dog but would really like to have one now.
  • Someone who loves dogs and has some room to welcome them while they wait for an adoptive home.

What happens if the dog doesn’t get adopted? Do you end up having to keep it? How long do you keep it for?
Dogs in foster homes are always adopted into a permanent home. The foster family will usually foster the dog until he is adopted. The length of time varies according to the breed and age of the dog. For example, puppies are often adopted quicker than adult dogs. In some cases, the foster parents decide to adopt the dog themselves. We find that most foster families want to continue fostering the dog (even if it past their original commitment) because they have come to have an established routine with the dog and it is fitting smoothly into their life-style…plus, they want to be consulted with the choice of permanent adopters. If a foster family runs into personal situations where they can not foster the dog until he is adopted, the rescue group will search for another foster home to relieve that family. Do remember that, in these cases, we will need time to do this.

Are there requirements people should be aware of before becoming dog foster parents?
Generally, foster dogs are required to live inside (not to be chained or left unattended outside) and fenced in yards are preferred for dogs. Because each animal’s personality is different, we match them to the best possible foster home to suit the animal and the family, so, if a foster family has young children, then only animals that do well with young children are placed there. The main requirements of people who want to foster is that they be willing to provide a loving, safe environment.

What does it cost to foster a dog?
This varies based on the circumstance. Some foster families are generous with their time, care, and finances. Generally speaking, however, all veterinary care is paid by the fostering organization. In some cases, the organization also provides food and litter.

What kind of support will I get?
We value our dog foster parents and therefore make every effort to be available for questions and tips, especially for the first time foster parent. That means that we will make sure you have a phone number and other contact information for questions, often times this will be with the Foster Coordinator within that organization. We can hook up a new foster parent with a more experienced foster parent that can be available to come by or you can call with questions. We also have a preferred veterinarian and will tell you what to do in case of a medical emergency.

Will I get too attached to my foster dog?
Ironically known as “foster failures” in the animal rescue biz, these are animals that started out as fosters and ended up being adopted by their foster family. Adopting your foster can be a hazard of the job, and getting too attached to a foster dog is probably the most cited reason for not wanting to foster. Some people do keep the first animals they foster. However, after a while foster families recognize the pleasure in being part of a wonderful cycle that includes their temporary involvement. Letting go allows for additional opportunities to foster and most foster families recognize this in time.

I already own a pet. Can I still foster?
Absolutely. We will make a special effort in such a placement to find a suitable match. A dog that gets along well with other dogs or cats, for example. Before you bring a foster animal home, consult with your veterinarian to make sure your own pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations. You may wish to ask your veterinarian if your pets need any additional vaccinations.

Will I get an animal with behavior issues?
While we do have many dogs who initially have behavior issues, we will not knowingly hand over a dog with severe behavior issues and leave you to fend for yourself. If you choose to take on a challenge then typically one of our staff will have one or two sessions with you to provide tips to correct problems. Many foster families enjoy being involved in the part of the process. The Nest takes in dogs that are less likely to be easily adopted and we work with them as a form of rehab. There is something special about being involved in helping a dog go from having very little chance of being adopted to finding a perfectly matched permanent home.

If I foster a dog, will I be able to take a vacation?
Absolutely. Some potential fosters are afraid that the time commitment to a new animal will complicate already jammed family agendas, including the ability to schedule vacation time. We can work with you to find a temporary alternative home for your foster animal while you are away.

If you are interested in taking the next step please take the time to fill out our Foster Home application. One of our staff will contact you to discuss your interests further.