Dog Fostering


Fostering is one of the many ways volunteers keep IDR+ working!

Because many of the same guidelines for adopting a dog apply to fostering, volunteers interested in becoming a foster home are asked to complete our standard Adoption Application. A home visit will also be conducted before the volunteer is approved as a foster home, and an experienced foster parent will help guide you.

What is fostering?

Since IDR+ does not have a central facility, we rely on foster homes to care for the majority of our dogs. Foster care givers are volunteers who take IDR+ dogs into their homes and nurture them until they are ready for adoption. It’s a great way to volunteer from home and enjoy the company of a dog temporarily.

While some volunteers end up adopting a foster pet, please note that the foster program is not for people who want to “try out” a particular animal prior to adoption. It is intended to provide one-on-one attention in a home environment for animals in order to best evaluate them and prepare them for adoption.

How do you give them up when they are adopted? I’d want to keep them all.

We get this question a lot, and we also get requests to pull dogs from shelters and owner situations every day, but we cannot say “yes” to dogs in need unless we have a spot to put them. So being able to say “yes” to fostering and literally saving a life is better than being temporarily emotional when a dog you have cared for is adopted.

Go into fostering like you are babysitting–you wouldn’t expect to keep a dog or kid you are watching for someone. Many adopters are happy to send updates and keep in touch, and knowing the dog you cared for is in a loving home is the best feeling in the world! Some fosters are so happy to see a dog adopted that they ask for another one right away. Fostering is addicting (in a good way), and once you see your first successful adoption, you will want to take in another orphan in need.

What would I be expected to do as a foster parent?

  • Provide a clean, nurturing, indoor home for the dog.
  • Give medication as needed. We teach the inexperienced!
  • Update the dog’s bio periodically, including pictures by emailing the info to us.
  • Work with the dog on basic skills, including training, leash walking, and housebreaking.
  • Bring the dog to IDR+’s meet and greets if you/the dog are able to attend.
  • Communicate (usually by email) with approved adopters.
  • Complete the adoption paperwork once an adoption is to take place. We will walk you through this the first time.

Would I be responsible for finding the dog a permanent home?

No – all dogs available for adoption are posted on Petfinder, our website, and social media with photos, videos, and a detailed bio. We receive applications for the dogs through our website. Our screening process includes an application, vet check, and usually a home visit. If approved, adopters are given the foster home’s contact information. However, it is the discretion of the foster home parent to approve an adoption for your foster dog. You know the dog best, and we want to make sure the approved adopter is a good match for the dog.

What if I already have pets of my own?

If you are fostering a dog, we ask that they be introduced very slowly to your pets. Some dogs may never be able to be mingled with your own pets, and that’s okay. We will walk you through slow introductions and provide you with a crate. The top priority of fostering is to have a safe place for the dog, so the foster is not expected to be BFFs with your existing dogs on day one.

How long would I foster the dog?

There are many variables when fostering: a dog could be in your home for one week, two months, or possibly longer. Updating the bio and photos as you learn about the dog will help find the best match sooner. You are never stuck fostering a dog, but we need some reasonable notice to find alternate placement if there is a need for relocation. Board members and other experienced foster homes are here to help and talk to you through issues.

Would I be responsible for my foster’s expenses?

No. IDR+ will provide and pay for the animal’s veterinary care, medications, food, and supplies. IDR+ can loan you crates, ex-pens, food/water bowls, bedding, toys, bones, and more. Thanks to our generous supporters, we have everything the fosters need at your reach.

Can my foster dog sleep in bed with me? On the furniture?

It is not recommended that you allow foster dogs to sleep with you. Not only can this lead to dominance/control issues, but we need to think about their forever family (who may not want them on the bed). In regards to the furniture, it is up to the individual foster home. As long as the foster dog will get off the furniture when you want them to, then you should be okay. If you have a dog with ANY dominance issues (with people or dogs), they should not be allowed on the furniture. Either way, you should not allow this immediately after getting the dog.

Are the dogs needing fosters healthy, housebroken, and trained?

For your first foster, we will do our best to give you an easy one with a known background and complete vetting. Usually, older dogs from an owner surrender situation are pretty move-in ready, but many of the younger ones need to work on basic skills, which is where the foster home comes in. Foster dogs will appreciate learning the ropes with training, leash walking, and housebreaking.

Our biggest need is “isolation” or medical foster homes for dogs coming from shelters with the potential of kennel cough or other respiratory infections. If you have no other dogs or the ability to segregate a foster dog from yours inside and outside, please consider isolation fostering. It is okay if the dog is separated from everyone during the quarantine period, and once the one- to three-week isolation period is over, the dog can be mingled with your dogs like a normal foster.

For regular foster dogs, the majority of them go through our partner kennel for initial intake vetting and processing, so some of our foster dogs just need a place to recover from a spay/neuter surgery. More complicated medical needs, like surgeries or heartworm treatment, will get all the support you need from experienced foster volunteers.

Okay! How do I become a foster parent?

You can apply to be a foster home by filling out an adoption application online and email

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