fostering with fetch & releash: faqs

Fostering is one the of most important and impactful jobs in rescue. Fetch & Releash does not have a physical shelter and so, without our network of incredible fosters, we wouldn't be able to save as many dogs as we do!

WHY FOSTER?

Even the best shelters can be loud, chaotic and frightening places for the dogs who live there. As a result, the dogs often become withdrawn, depressed or defensive — and many get overlooked by potential families because of this. Foster homes offer time to decompress for dogs that have been through a stressful, and often traumatizing, series of events.  

As a foster you get the chance to gain a dog’s trust, provide a stable environment for them to feel safe, and show them love – possibly for the first time. Through one-on-one attention, exercise and training, foster families have the power to transform their foster dog into a well adjusted and loyal companion for any family! It's so inspiring to witness the resilience of dogs and their desire to love humans despite their difficult pasts.  

By taking a dog into their home, fosters improve the chances of a dog finding their forever family. Some people say they could never foster a dog because it would be too sad to say goodbye when the dog is adopted. It’s important to remember that by opening your home as a foster parent, you are saving a life — and each dog you foster is another life saved. As some wise person once said “You cannot change a dog’s past, but YOU can rewrite their future!” 

SO, WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?

  • You will feel great! Fostering is one of the most rewarding jobs in rescue!
  • Knowing you gave your foster dog a second chance at life and made someone else's family complete.
  • The benefits  of pet companionship without the lifetime commitment and financial responsibilityof ownership.
  • A trial run if you're a commitment-phobe before you decide on your future forever friend. 
  • Being involved in the movement of rescue and raising awareness
  • The support of our amazing Fetch & Releash team throughout your entire foster experience.

WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?

We are based out of the GTA, right near you! If you’re interested in fostering but live outside of the GTA,you must be prepared to travel to vet appointments, adoption events and/or meet and greets within the GTA.

WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES AS A FOSTER PARENT?

  • Provide a clean, safe and nurturing environment until your foster pup has been adopted into their forever family.
  • Provide exercise, socialization and enrichment opportunities.
  • To have patience and understanding while your foster dog adjusts to a new home.
  • Take your foster dog to vet appointment if required.
  • Work with the adoption team to provide a bio and photos of your foster dog, and facilitate meet and greets with approved families.

WHAT DOES FETCH & RELEASH PROVIDE?

Fetch & Releash covers all expenses related to the care of the dog. You just provide the love! This includes collars, ID tag, leash, food, toys and crate. We also cover for all required medical procedures and expenses (vet visits, medications, etc. – see below for details).

We also provide emotional support! At the start of your fostering experience, you will be assigned a Foster Coordinator who will hold your hand throughout the entire process, providing advice, guidance or just a friendly ear.

WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT FOR FOSTERING

The average time a dog is in foster care is 4-6 weeks. The time period for fostering will vary depending on the dog. If you notify the foster team in advance of any dates that you are on vacation we will can make appropriate arrangements for your foster dog to go to a sitter.

I DON’T HAVE A FENCED YARD OR A YARD AT ALL - CAN I STILL FOSTER A DOG?

Absolutely! Our foster families live in the country, in suburban neighbourhoods, in houses and in condos/ apartments. Sure, some dogs do best with a fenced hard, or a quieter neighbourhood, however in general we are big believers that if a dog receives adequate physical exercise and mental stimulation, a backyard is not necessary.

WHAT IF I WORK ALL DAY?

Many work schedules can be accommodated however as a policy, we require fosters who are gone from the house for more than 8 hours to provide a mid day break. Puppies may require even more frequent potty breaks. The general rule of thumb is that a dog can go one hour for every month of age up to 8 hours.

We would encourage you to discuss your work schedule with a Foster Coordinator during in the interview process.

CAN I FOSTER IF I HAVE CHILDREN?

Yes! We have foster families with very young children and teenagers. The age of your child and their dog experience will be heavily considered when we are deciding on a potential foster dog for you.

We firmly believe that respect is a two way street though and so your Foster Coordinator will have an in depth discussion with you about how you plan to provide a safe environment for both the dog and the child(ren).

Fostering a dog can be a great project for families; one that teaches children and adults about the value of volunteering, responsibility, empathy and, yes, learning to deal with loss when their beloved foster dog is adopted.

Have a talk with your kids about the responsibilities of fostering, and safe dog-to-human interactions before you bring a foster dog home. Positive, loving relationships with animals at a young age promotes responsible, respectful, humane and caring adults.

CAN I FOSTER IF I HAVE A DOG, CAT, BIRD, BUNNY ETC.?

Yes! We will take your current family pets into consideration before placing a dog with you. If we’re not confident the dog is safe to be around these pets, we will not place him or her in your home. Speak to your Foster Coordinator for tips on how to introduce your new foster dog to your resident pets.

CAN I FOSTER IF MY PET IS NOT SPAYED/NEUTERED OR UP TO DATE ON VACCINATIONS?

Generally, no, however we will discuss on a case by case basis. Our goal is to ensure the safety and wellness of our foster dogs and your resident pets, and to prevent the spread of disease and unplanned puppies!

WHAT IF MY FOSTER DOG GETS SICK?

As a foster parent you have no financial responsibilities for the cost of vetting. If your foster dog requires  medical treatment, you MUST contact your Foster Coordinator immediately and they will book you an appointment at one of our partner vets. Unless it is a legitimate emergency, Fetch & Releash reserves the right to decline reimbursement for veterinary costs incurred without our knowledge and consent.

DO YOU GUARANTEE THE HEALTH OF THE DOG?

Although Fetch & Releash cannot guarantee a dog’s wellness, our policy is to disclose everything we know about the dog prior to placing him or her in your home.

All dogs will receive basic vet care before being placed in a foster home, including up-to-date vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery if applicable. That being said, just like humans, dogs can get sick. Intestinal worms and kennel cough are the most common ailments in our newly arrived dogs. Both are very treatable and do not pose long term health risks to humans or dogs.

DO YOU GUARANTEE THE TEMPERAMENT OF THE DOG?

No. Although Fetch & Releash cannot guarantee a dog’s temperament, our policy is to disclose everything we know about the dog prior to placing him or her in your home. You should however expect there to be a period of adjustment for you and your new foster dog. Remember - some of our dogs may not have had exposure to what we deem a ‘normal’ environment for a dog, and your home is a new environment. Imagine what it would feel like to have to live with a new family in a foreign country that does not speak your language and whose customs you don’t yet understand.

Go slow, be patient and keep it positive!

WHAT CAN I EXPECT WITH THE APPLICATION PROCESS?

The process of fostering includes an application, reference check and a home visit.

Step 1: Your application will undergo an initial review by a volunteer and if you meet the requirements,it will be assigned to a screener. Within a few days, a volunteer will be in touch with you to set up a telephone interview. This interview lasts 30-60 minutes.


Step 2: Your references - both veterinarian and personal - will be contacted.
 

Step 3: The home visit will be set up as soon as possible. If there are no volunteers locally, we can facilitate a virtual home tour.

Once approved, you will undergo an onboarding session with your assigned Foster Coordinator who will go over our policies and procedures and have you sign some standard paperwork. From there, you will  await your first assignment!