Fostering FAQ

1. What supplies are provided?

We are able to provide most of the supplies.

For Dogs: crates, bowls, leashes, collars, kongs, toys, blankets, beds, food, some treats as well as a training binder.

For Cats: bowls, toys, litter pans, scoops, blankets or a bed, carrier, some food (fosters provide their own litter and may need to pitch in with the food between donations)

For Small Animals: this varies depending on the type of animal, we do have some pens and cages as well as accessories (fosters usually provide their own food but receive food donations for small animals periodically)

2. What vetting is provided?

All animals are fully vetted which means they are vaccinated, dewormed, de-flead, spayed/neutered upon the right age and microchipped. All medical issues are treated. We have vets in Guelph, Cambridge and Kitchener. Fosters are required to go to our vets and make appointments through the rescue. Drivers can be provided if fosters do not drive. Once in your care we ask that you advise us if your dog needs further medical care. Please do not contact the vet yourself. They are authorized to only perform treatments that we request. In the case of an emergency you will be provided with phone numbers for immediate contact. Please monitor your foster animal and advise us of any concerns you may have regarding his/her health. We ask you to follow our care instructions.

3. How long will a foster animal live with me?

This varies and we have no way of knowing how long it will take an animal to get adopted. We can assist choosing an animal that is most likely to get adopted quickly but again there are no guarantees. Temperment, health and breed play a big role in an animal getting adopted. We ask if you have time constraints to let us know ahead of time so we can place the animal appropriately or have a back up plan. We ask fosters to commit to the animal that they take in until adopted. We do not have a shelter or a back up foster in waiting. We will support you with issues and if absolutely necessary move the animal when an appropriate foster opens up but this can take months sometimes. It is very stressful to the foster animal to have to be moved and can create separation anxiety in dogs so we work very hard to avoid this at all costs.

4. What do I do when I go on vacation?

This varies in each situation. If you have your own pet sitter that is also willing to care for the foster animal great. We just ask you to give them our contact info and for us to have theirs in case of an emergency, adoption etc. If not give the rescue as much notice as possible to arrange a pet sitter for that time.

5. Do I need to have training experience to foster dogs?

We don’t expect you to be a professional trainer but we will show you how to teach the foster basic commands. We will also help choose a foster dog that suits your experience and home and lifestyle. We use positive reinforcement training and you will receive a training binder to refer to with each foster dog. We also have professional trainers that can help with issues you are struggling with. Every dog will have training needs and we won’t always know what they are until they arrive in the foster home. We expect fosters to work on making the dog more adoptable and working with the dog daily but we do not expect you to “fix” the dog or make them perfect. We also would appreciate the dog to be taught proper leash manners and we have a variety of training aids (gentle leaders, haltis, harnesses) to assist with that if the dog is too strong to control with a flat collar. We ask that you walk the dog daily at least 30 minutes. The more you can teach your dog, the more attractive the dog is to potential adopters. We also ask with your assistance in crate training the dog. Many dogs come already accepting a crate, but some were crated overly long, or as punishment in their previous homes and may have an aversion to it. A crate trained dog makes them easier to place in another home. If your dog is not accepting of the crate at all, we can offer suggestions for keeping them in a dog-proof room while you are out. We also ask that you expose the dog to car rides and get him to behave calmly in the car. We suggest a crate for travelling but if that is not feasible we recommend restraining the dog with a leash or seatbelt to keep it from jumping all over the car as you drive. We also ask for care to be used upon exiting a car. Some dogs like to charge out of a car. Training the dog to ”wait” and keeping a leash attached to them to grab if needed is recommended.

6. Who finds a home for the foster animal?

We do not expect fosters to find homes for their fosters; that is our job. But, we love our fosters to promote their animals and get the word out about the animals in their care. You can share their info on facebooks and twitter etc. but all interested potential adoptors are to contact the rescue. Please keep in mind though that we receive applications on the animals on a regular basis. We may already have an application(s) in on your foster animal that we are processing. We do our best to keep you advised of the situation but there will be times where you are unaware that there is an application for your foster. Do not make any promises to people interested in your foster. And even if that foster is available, your potential adopter will have to apply and undergo the background check like everyone else. We will, of course, take your recommendation seriously and do our best to accommodate but sometimes things come up in a background check that you are unaware of. We just ask that you tell us as soon as possible if you have someone in mind for your foster, and explain the process to them. We also assume that all animals in our care are for adoption so if an application comes in we want to process it as soon as possible. If you are considering adopting your foster animal you should make that known to the rescue as soon as possible and not wait until an application comes in whenever possible.

7. Are fosters allowed to adopt the foster animal in their care?

This is known as “foster failure” and it does happen often. Fosters are allowed to adopt the foster animal if the rescue agrees it is a good fit for the foster animal and you let them know before another application is being processed. Fosters pay the same adoption fees and sign the same contract as everyone else. We know how hard it is to give up a foster you have become attached to. We are all animal lovers; we wouldn’t be doing this if we weren’t. You will toy with the idea of keeping a particular foster, and the first foster is the hardest! Make sure someone in your home is the voice of reason (thinking of costs, time, energy, training needs, longterm commitment) and reminds you of this…if you keep your foster in most cases you won’t have the space to take on another, and unfortunately then you can’t save the life of any more animals. There are many animals right now sitting in dire need of rescue and they need you! It gets easier with each foster. Making it past the first foster is half the battle. There will always be some that touch your heart more than others, that never changes, but the pay off of seeing these animals go off to loving homes makes the sadness of letting them go worth it. And the updates you receive from the adoptive family will make your day!

8. What do I need to consider?

  • Every animal takes time to adjust to a new home. For dogs: Regardless of the dog’s level of training, the first few days in a new home are stressful and even an impeccably trained dog can have accidents. We ask that you please be patient and understanding. Dogs need to learn the layout of your house, the rules of your house and the schedule. This is a lot to take in! We recommend keeping a leash on the dog for the first day or two and keeping him/her close by you. This will help take a lot of stress off of the dog, and this way you always know where he/she is. Crate training is also very important and offers the dog a quiet place to call their own and to de-stress. Of course some dogs come into a new home like they have been there forever, but we want you to be prepared for the typical behaviours. So expect your new dog to be out of sorts for a few days, but dogs are resilient, they adjust fast, and in no time you will be seeing the dog settle in and relax and show their true selves. For cats: We recommend you start all new cats in a room to themselves with their own food, water and litter box. Each cat is different but most need at least one day to recover from the car ride, vet office etc. Also if there are other animals in the home you should take the time to introduce and just let them smell each other through the door for a day or two, sometimes longer.
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks with the foster dog or other people. We do our best to assess each dog taken in to our rescue but in no way can we guarantee the temperament of the dog. Use caution when introducing the new dog to other people, especially children, and other dogs or other pets. We don’t know these dog’s past experiences. Do not make assumptions about your new dog. Ease the dog slowly into new situations and don’t push the dog or force them into situations that make them uncomfortable. We ask that you not take your new dog to a leash free park. We are a non-profit organization and cannot afford unnecessary costs in case of injury or costs occurred if he/she injures another dog. Be cautious around food until you are sure of the dog’s behaviour and never leave a new dog unattended with children or new people. Again, in most cases these issues won’t be a concern, but we ask for caution in all circumstances to ensure a smooth foster to adoption process.

  • The adjustment timeline. As a general rule, dogs will start showing their true selves by the end of the first week. They have now settled in and are feeling more confident and have formed a bond with you. Because of this we ask that you hold off on writing your dog’s bio until at least a week has passed. That way you can comment confidently on your dog’s specific behaviours and skill levels. This timeline may be longer for elderly dogs or dogs that experienced abuse or severe neglect. Another milestone is around the 3 month time. Should you still have your foster at this point you will observe that they are very comfortable in your home and may show different behaviours both positive and negative. A young dog may feel overly confident in his home now and decide to start pushing some of the rules to see if he can get away with it. Or a timid dog might now feel secure enough to let go of the worry and really settle in.

9. What are my responsibilities?

Fosters are required to follow the rescue’s instructions for the care of their foster animal, keep in touch by checking emails at least once a day and responding quickly. Fosters are required to work on basic training and exercise foster dogs daily and for cats to scoop the litter boxes daily. We ask fosters to take great pictures and also arrange with our photographer to come and take a picture of your foster animal for the website. Write true and detailed descriptions of your foster animal for the site and let us know if any of the details have changed. Allow adoptors to come meet the fosters as promptly as you can when notified. Keep a clean, ideally smoke free space for the foster animals to live in and for when visitors are coming to meet the fosters. Keep the rescue informed of all health and behaviours of the foster animal on a regular basis (no issue is too small). Our program prides itself on matching animals and people well and we rely on fosters to give us all the details so we can best figure out the best forever home for that animal.

10. What about my own animals as a foster? How can I protect them?

We require all dogs, cats and rabbits in the home be spayed/neutered and dogs and cats be up to date on vaccinations. We recommend your own dog be on heartworm preventative through the season also. We can never guarantee a foster animal will not be carrying something that can affect your own pets even when they have been to the vet but if your animal is healthy and all vetting up to date that is the best way to protect them from any concerns. Most of our animals will see a vet before going to a foster home to help prevent any issues of fleas or worms being passed on. We also ask that you introduce animals slowly and supervised and will give tips and information on how to do this on an individual basis.

11. Who chooses the foster animal I take in?

You will choose the foster animal you take in from our urgent request list. Some animals we will know more about than others. Bringing in a foster is always a risk so best to wait for the one that seems like it would be the best fit. Sometimes there is an opportunity to meet the foster animal before deciding but not always. We will guide you in the best choice also and do as much assessment as we can. There are many animals in need and sometimes you need to wait a little while for the best fit for you but that is okay that is what will help make the foster match a success. Fostering can be stressful at times, but those times pale in comparison to the joy and sense of pride you will have knowing that you saved an animal and brought happiness to his/her life. Fostering has huge rewards!! And you get to meet some fantastic people and animal lovers who share your passion for saving animals in need. We recommend all of our fosters to keep an album of the fosters they have saved and their stories.

If you think fostering is for you, we look forward to your application to discuss it further!