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June 4, 2024

A Bridge to Forever: What to Expect Fostering Dogs

  • Fostering
  • Rescue Dogs
  • Tips & Tricks
Boxer and French Bulldog on front porch

Have you been pondering the thought of opening your home to a furry friend but aren’t ready for a long-term commitment? Fostering dogs might be the perfect way to dip your toes into the waters of pet parenthood. This guide is designed to walk you through the essentials of fostering dogs, answering common questions like "How does fostering a dog work?" and "Should I foster a dog?"

How Does Fostering a Dog Work?

Fostering dogs involves providing a temporary home for a dog until a permanent, loving family adopts them. It's a generous, selfless act of kindness that doesn't just help the dog but also provides invaluable support to local shelters and rescue organizations by freeing up space and resources. By welcoming a dog into your home, you're not just giving them shelter; you're providing love, training, and sometimes rehabilitation, making them more adaptable when their forever family comes along.

How to Get Started Fostering

Initiating the fostering process typically involves a few key steps. Most organizations require potential foster parents to complete an application process, which includes interviews and home checks, to ensure a safe and suitable environment. After approval, you'll be matched with a dog that fits your lifestyle and home environment.

Organizations like the BC SPCA provide foster parents with the necessary supplies, from food to veterinary care3, ensuring that the process is as simple and worry-free as possible.

1. Find a Local Pet Rescue

Begin your journey by exploring well-respected pet rescue organizations in your area. Understand their mission and the meaningful role of fostering.

2. Submit an Application to Foster

Complete a fostering application through your chosen organization. This form helps the rescue learn about you — your experiences with pets, your home environment, and most importantly, your desire to make a difference.

3. Attend an Orientation or Workshop

Engage in training sessions or workshops designed to equip you with essential skills and knowledge to foster pets. These sessions are pivotal in preparing you for a joyful fostering experience.

4. Have Your Home Inspected

A respectful home inspection may follow, ensuring your space is a haven for a foster dog. This step helps the rescue ensure the wellbeing of your foster dog.

5. Wait for Your Perfect Match

The rescue will thoughtfully match you with a foster dog that complements your lifestyle and experience. This is designed to find the perfect fit for both you and the dog, setting the stage for a successful fostering journey.

6. Love Your Foster

By providing love, training, and care, you’ll be preparing your foster dog for their forever home.

7. Reflecting on the Journey

After adoption, take a moment to reflect on the incredible impact you've made. Consider staying involved with the rescue, whether through further fostering or other opportunities to contribute.

For the most accurate and comprehensive guidelines, we encourage interested foster parents to consult directly with the pet rescue organization of their choosing.

Woman holding French Bulldog

Should I Foster a Dog?

Fostering a dog is an incredibly rewarding experience that comes with its set of challenges and joys. It’s a commitment to care for a dog temporarily while also preparing them for a future with a loving family.

This experience can be highly beneficial for families considering adopting a dog, as it provides insight into what life with a pet entails.
Now Fresh Team
Now Fresh TeamA Team of Dedicated Pet Parents & Nutrition Experts

However, fostering is not for everyone. Before deciding, consider your ability to handle emotional goodbyes and to provide the care these animals need.

To ensure that the dedication you're considering aligns with your lifestyle and capacity, ponder these factors closely:

Personal Commitment

Reflect on your daily routine and personal commitments. Fostering requires time, attention, and a level of flexibility. Are you equipped to offer that kind of purposeful dedication.


During your fostering journey, you’ll be required to transport your foster to and from appointments, treatments, and weigh-ins^1. Make sure you have access to a reliable vehicle.

Space Considerations

Evaluate your living space. Do you have enough room for a foster dog to feel comfortable and secure? A simple, safe, and welcoming environment is crucial for their well-being.

Make sure you have a space that you can dedicate to your foster, with doors and windows that close to provide them some peace and quiet if needed1. If you’re renting, make sure you have permission from your landlord to house a dog1.

Learning Opportunities

Be ready to learn — from pet care basics to behavior management. Do you embrace growth and acquiring new knowledge to better care for a foster dog? Are you committed to dedicating time towards training?

Emotional Strength

Consider your emotional resilience. Fostering will challenge you to forge strong bonds and then let go, as your foster dog moves on to a permanent home. It's a passionate journey filled with both affection and goodbye.

Current Pets

If you have other pets, think about how a new addition might affect them. Are they sociable and adaptive to newcomers? The goal is to foster harmony within your pet family.

Long-Term Intentions

Consider your future plans. Fostering may kindle a desire for permanent adoption. Is this an option for you? It's important to be clear and honest about intentions upfront.

Woman on porch kissing French Bulldog

The Impact of Fostering

The impact of fostering on a dog cannot be overstated. It offers them a break from the stressful environment of a shelter, helps them to socialize and become more adapt to living in a home, and increases their chances of being adopted2. Your decision to foster can significantly change a dog’s life trajectory.

For more insights and to get involved, visit your local animal shelter’s fostering program page. Your journey towards making a tangible difference in a dog’s life can start today.

  1. "Foster Care Volunteer Program." BC SPCA. Accessed May 14, 2024.

  2. "The Influence of Brief Outing and Temporary Fostering Programs on Shelter Dog Welfare." By Lisa M. Gunter, Emily M. Blade, Rachel J. Gilchrist, Betsy J. Nixon, Jenifer L. Reed, Joanna M. Platzer, Ingrid C. Wurpts, Erica N. Feuerbacher, and Clive D. L. Wynne. National Library of Medicine. Accessed May 14, 2024.

  3. "What does it mean to foster an animal? How do I apply?" BC SPCA. Accessed May 14, 2024.


Now Fresh Team

Now Fresh Team

A Team of Dedicated Pet Parents & Nutrition Experts

We all want our cats and dogs to lead happy, healthy lives. We’re here to help you, with easy-to-understand information about your pet's daily care and feeding.