FOSTER INFO & APPLICATION
FOSTERING SAVES LIVES
Thank you for considering fostering to directly save the life of a homeless animal.
As a foster-based rescue, we could not continue to rescue any animals without people opening their heart & home. We try our best to pair you with a sustainable match; whether you work full time, use your free time training for half-marathons, live in a small apartment, or have never owned dogs before, we can help find a foster-dog for you.
Please review FAQs before completing foster form below:
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FOSTER FOR?
Ideally we hope you can foster the dog until it is adopted (average time is 4-8 weeks). We do appreciate a minimum 1-month commitment & if your dog is adopted in a few days or a week, we may ask you to foster another dog until this 30 day minimum is met. Interested in Short-term fostering only? We could still use your help for 3-21 days! Please make note of your availability when completing foster form.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME AS A FOSTER?
As a foster parent, you are asked to help make the dog it’s “most adoptable-self.”
This might mean working on: house-training, leash-pulling, basic manners, commands, and providing controlled and positive exposure to new places and people. Please keep in mind, these animals are coming from highly stressful situations and have been in multiple homes that each have their different rules and schedules. We expect fosters to be patient and understanding, using positive reinforcement only and never excessive force or physical punishment.
We ask our fosters take lots of pictures and videos of their dog to help us promote them for their ideal home. Open, consistent, and clear communication from fosters to HFP is vital to successful permanent placement and your foster experience. We may also ask you meet potential pre-screened adopters at your home, adopter’s home, a neutral location, or at the rescue. There may be 2 or 3 meets over the course of your time fostering before a dog is adopted.
DO YOU COVER VET CARE?
We're responsible for all necessary vet expenses. Please review our policies listed below.
DO YOU PROVIDE SUPPLIES?
We provide food, leashes, collars/harness, bed, medicine, toys, treats, monthly preventatives, and crates for our foster pups to borrow (or anything else that is necessary for the dog). If you have these supplies on hand, that’s wonderful and appreciated! We ask all supplies please be returned to HFP when your fostering period is over.
DO I GET TO PICK MY FOSTER DOG?
We do our best to match you with a dog that fits your household, experience, and lifestyle. Sometimes the nature of Rescue and securing of an animal can be critically urgent, so your most “ideal” foster dog is not currently available, but another one whose life depends on it may need help more.
We post daily pleas for dogs on our radar, through facebook.com/heartsforpawsrescue and instagram @heartsforpawsrescue. Once your foster form is submitted, we will also add you to our Foster List. Keep an eye out for 1-2 x weekly emails of “HFP Foster Needs” as they change day by day.
WHAT IF I WORK FULL TIME?
No problem! We have lots of fosters who work full time. We'll help you find an adult or senior dog that's a good match. A dog would much rather be left alone in your home while you're at work than left in the cold and scary shelter.
WHAT IF I LIVE IN AN APARTMENT?
“Yards don't exercise dogs, people do!” Many of our fosters live in apartments and have discovered that fostering a dog has “forced” them outside more, increased their steps/activity, and provided a wonderful excuse to adventure, hike, and hit the trails! Honestly, a foster dog doesn’t need a huge farm to thrive; he or she is simply happy for a warm bed & a caring person.
WHAT IF I WANT TO ADOPT?
If you fall in love, adoption is a possibility! Foster parents have to go through the same basic steps as any prospective adopter and will need to pay the required adoption donation. If you'd like to consider foster-to-adopt from the get-go, please complete an adoption application here.
WHAT IS FOSTER-TO-ADOPT?
Foster-to-Adopt is a great option to get priority on a dog that piques your interest, but is still at the shelter and so has limited background info available. This provides you with a trial of sorts in your home environment (priority period of 3-10 days), and allows HFP to save a dog. If you decide it’s not a forever match (unless it’s an emergency), you do commit to fostering the dog until we can find adopters or more permanent placement. If you change your mind about adopting and no one else has a application on file, you do still get priority to adopt. We kindly request supplies back should you choose to adopt.
ANY OTHER TIPS OR INFO?
Fostering is one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences you will be a part of, but expect some speed bumps along the way: a chewed shoe, a few nights of waking up at midnight, potty accidents, and a lot of time and patience, especially in the beginning as your new dog learns the ropes.
The dogs are often coming directly from a very stressful shelter stay where they have spent weeks, months or even years. They have had no stability, structure, or a person to call their own for a long time. They will need time to decompress, and adjust; it is the fosters responsibility to provide a caring, patient, positive environment for the dog to return to a calm state of mind.
We strongly recommend keeping the dog’s world small for the first few weeks by keeping environments controlled. This might mean not introducing the animal to new people/dogs outside of the home for a while. As a foster, you will help your dog become its most adoptable-self (which can include: learning leash manners, master house training, practicing basic commands, acclimatizing with strangers/animals, and more). We rely on you to take pictures, videos, and stay in touch to help promote your dog for adoption. What you put in is what you get back. Fostering has the potential to not only change the life of an animal, but change yours as well.
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO REVIEW HFP FOSTER POLICIES:
Veterinary Care Policy: As a donation-based 501c3 rescue, we provide veterinary care for conditions that appear to be serious or life threatening that we deem is ethically necessary. To determine whether treatment is ethically necessary, HFP reserves the right to make all decisions regarding whether a condition is considered life threatening and/ or ethically necessary. Foster families who disagree with the decisions of our directors always have the option of paying medical expenses themselves. For minor conditions that are not life threatening, we may allow the dog to recover on their own before seeking veterinary care. Please keep in mind that many shelter animals come to us with kennel cough or skin irritations and are already on medication. All dogs will be vaccinated, dewormed, flea treated, microchipped, and all dogs over 5 months will be spayed/neutered at HFP’s expense.
Off-Leash Policy: HFP has a strict policy that rescue dogs may not be let off-leash in an unfenced area during the duration of the foster arrangement, or brought to dog parks when other dogs are present.
Animal Return Policy: If you feel the need to return your foster dog, HFP will immediately try to make arrangements to transfer your dog to a different foster! However, we cannot guarantee that this transfer will take place within a certain amount of time – it may take a few days, up to a few weeks. If adopters return your foster dog within the first six days, we kindly ask you receive the dog back into your care. However, if you have informed us ahead of time that you must stop fostering on a particular date, we will absolutely accommodate.
Release of Liability: HFP makes every effort to communicate breed, age, health and behavior information about each rescue animal accurately. We often rely on the health and behavior evaluations of the shelter before receiving an animal; As a result, we require foster families to release us of all liability resulting from any wrong or incomplete information they may receive about a particular animal. Dogs may also act unpredictably in new environments, new situations, with new people, and when scared/stressed. This is why we suggest the first week or so to not introduce the animal to new people or new animals in the home. When incorporating a dog successfully into your home with other pets, keeping the animals separate in the home, always monitored when together, and going for on-leash pack walks is the best way to integrate animals with one another. Foster families must release HFP of all liability for any injuries or accidents that result from their rescue dog and also accept liability for any incidents that arise out of introductions of rescue animals to third parties. HFP does not require foster families to socialize dogs with people outside of their immediate family, and any decision to do so must be taken solely at the risk of the foster family.
By completing the form below, you are agreeing to the terms and policies stated above.
After submitting this form, please email a picture of your backyard & current pets (if applicable), to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited to welcome you to the HFP Family. On behalf of the dogs still waiting for a chance at life, thank you!