To become a dog foster carer in the UK it is the same application process as when you adopt a rescue dog, you first have to fill out an application form, answering questions about family members, if you have experience of dogs, any other pets, if you have a garden, is it secure etc. This application form can usually be found on the rescues website or details of how to get it.
Next you will receive a phone call to arrange a time when a homecheck can be carried out. This is nothing to worry about, they aren’t going to look in your cupboards! They really just want to meet you, have a chat, see where the dog will be sleeping, that your outside area is secure, let you know what is expected from foster carers and answer any questions you may have, as well as meet any pets that you own.
You are then notified whether or not you passed the homecheck. If you didn’t you may be advised on why so that you have the opportunity to rectify any problems, like a hole in the garden fence for instance, but this will depend on the individual rescue. If you did pass the homecheck, you then wait on the next suitable dog to become available. I didn’t have to wait too long either of the times I have fostered, I think it was a week until I got Tess and with Harley it was a day. If you own pets then introductions are made first to ensure they are all happy to live together, as it is the same with humans, you don’t like every one you meet, let alone having to live with them! This meeting is usually done outside with all dogs on a lead, neutral territory is best and try to avoid face to face but allow them to sniff each other’s behind. Once they gave had a smell at each other and are ok then they can be allowed off lead in a secured area. It’s best to leave the lead on, but trailing, so it can be grabbed quickly, if needed, to stop any arguments erupting further. If everything goes well then it is time to invite the dog into the house again best if leads are left trailing at this point.
The foster dog will want to investigate the house and any pets further so let them do this whilst the rescue people are still there, keeping an eye on the situation. If everyone is still happy for the fostering to go ahead, including the dogs, then you will usually be given a print off sheet reinforcing what is expected of you as a foster carer, normally things like don’t let them off lead, walk them twice a day for at least 20 minutes, establish set feeding times to list a few but it gives you an idea. You will then be told about any vet appointments and any medication and how/when to administer and asked to sign a form stating that you are looking after the dog on a temporary/foster basis for the rescues records. Then if you happy with everything and have asked all the questions you had and the dog is ok then the rescue people leave you to it. By this I don’t mean they leave you hanging, they are there to support you throughout the fostering with any help you need with training and advice. The rescue usually pays for vet fees, food, medication, bedding and bowls if you need them, along with a collar and lead. All you are required to do is put a roof over the dogs head, feed, walk and love it until the time that it’s furever home becomes available.
Fostering is not a lifetime commitment, it is a commitment to save a life xx