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Fostering FAQs

These are our the most commonly asked questions. If there is something else you’d like to know, please contact us.

Does fostering really save lives?

REDCOLLAR RESCUE is not a shelter; we don’t have a physical location. All of the dogs that we save from shelters or from the streets are either fostered in homes like yours or kept in the very limited boarding spots that local kennels and vet clinics make available to us. These boarding spots are not free – REDCOLLAR RESCUE pays over $300 per month for each dog that stays at those facilities. When a dog is taken out of a kennel and placed in a foster home, we fill that kennel spot by saving another dog off the euthanasia list of a shelter. Opening your home to a foster dog will directly save the life of another dog.

Does fostering really save lives? (Yes, we meant to ask twice!)

When dogs are boarded at kennels and clinics, they don’t receive a significant amount of attention from humans or the opportunity for positive interactions with other dogs. Dogs are naturally social creatures and they need to be a part of partnerships or packs to be healthy and balanced. The longer a dog is in boarding, the harder it may be for them to get adopted because they can become fearful, shy, or nervous.

Fostering a dog increases their chance for finding a forever home because the foster home not only provides that important socialization but teaches them structure and trust. It also increases adoption because a foster family can test the foster dog in different social situations – cats, kids, car rides, etc. we have a better chance of placing the dog with the right family so the adoption will last forever.

Once the dog is adopted, we can place a new dog in the foster home and go save another life out of a shelter – thus starting the circle again!

Will I get to pick out which dog I foster?

If a certain REDCOLLAR RESCUE dog catches your eye to foster, by all means, let us know! If you don’t have a particular dog in mind, but have a preference about things like size, gender, or energy level, let us know that too and we can suggest a foster dog for you. Sometimes we have a particular dog that we may ask you to consider because the dog has been in boarding for longer than usual or is a little bit shy and would benefit from experiencing a home environment. We will happily arrange for you to meet potential foster dogs before committing to one.

Is fostering just a ploy to get me to adopt a dog?

No! While we are overjoyed whenever any dog finds his or her forever home, we need foster homes just as much as adoptive homes and maybe even more! The more foster homes that we have, the more dogs that REDCOLLAR RESCUE can save at any given time. It takes a special kind of commitment to open your home to a foster dog and so we really value families who are willing to do so again and again.

How long will it take my foster dog to get adopted?

The time for a dog to get adopted varies. Some dogs may get adopted within just a few weeks and some may take several months or even a year. We can’t make any guarantees, but we do know that increasing a foster dog’s “exposure” speeds up adoptions. This includes things like sharing pictures of your foster dog with us to post on the REDCOLLAR RESCUE Facebook page, helping us add personal details to your foster dog’s online Petfinder biography, and bringing your foster dog to adoption events.

What will fostering cost me?

Almost nothing! Most of our foster homes cover the cost of a good quality dry kibble diet for their foster dog. REDCOLLAR RESCUE covers the cost of vet appointments, monthly flea and heartworm prevention, and the cost of boarding your foster if you have to travel for work or vacation. Of course, some of our foster homes also decide to purchase monthly preventatives out of pocket or pay for their foster dog to board during travel, but this is totally at their discretion. Because REDCOLLAR RESCUE is a 501(c)(3) group, any expenses that a foster family chooses to cover (food, treats, toys, boarding, flea/heartworm prevention, mileage to adoption events, etc) are considered donations and are tax deductible as long as you keep proper records.

How much time does fostering take?

Outside of the time spent giving basic care, attention, and exercise to your foster dog, fostering requires almost no time at all. We ask our foster families to be responsible for transporting their foster dog to and from adoption events and the occasional vet appointment. Adoption events are held the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 12:30-4:30 pm at the Sawyer/Taylor Petsmart.

There is no ‘requirement’ for your dog to attend each/any REDCOLLAR RESCUE event but attending events does increase their chance of adoption. You are not required to stay at the event with your foster dog, although we certainly always welcome volunteers!

Outside of adoption events, we may ask you to help us transport your foster dog to a meet and greet at a local park or at a potential adoptive family’s house.

Many people think that they’re “too busy” to foster or “work too much,” but ALL of REDCOLLAR RESCUE’s foster families are very active. They may work full time jobs, have children with many extracurricular activities, participate in other volunteer activities, or have time-consuming hobbies. These families choose to foster anyway because they recognize that a dog in a kennel will get even less interaction and socialization than the few hours a day that a busy foster home may provide. Don’t underestimate the good that a soft bed to sleep on and even a short snuggle session will do a for a foster dog’s soul!

I have another dog or cat, how do I know that my foster and my current pets will get along?

Most of our dogs come to us as “blank slates” or having already lived in pack environments peacefully with other dogs. In addition to meet and greets with your current pets, REDCOLLAR RESCUE also provides thorough guidance on how to conduct appropriate introductions between your foster and your current pets to lay the groundwork for a successful and peaceful cohabitation. If needed, REDCOLLAR RESCUE will provide support in the form of training sessions for both fosters and current pets and family members with our behaviorist, baby gates to keep pups separated when they cannot be watched, and crates to provide safe spaces for all pack members to have quiet time. Remember, socialization is great for the health and overall balance of your family pets too!

What if I decide that I want to adopt my foster?

It is not uncommon for our foster families to eventually foster a dog who fits into their family so naturally that they just can’t bear the thought of having to say goodbye. When this happens, we fully support the adoption as long as the foster family agrees to the same provisions of our adoption contract as all other adoption applicants.

Many families ask us if they can foster to “try out” a certain dog; in this case we consider those families adoptive families and not foster families, so we follow our adoption procedures and stick with meet-and-greets and home visits. Instead of a “foster to adopt” program that allows foster families to rotate a number of dogs through their home on a short-term basis, we ask each foster family to commit to fostering their foster dog for the full length of time until it gets adopted; once the foster dog is adopted, we are happy to help to you to select a new dog to foster and potentially adopt, but again, we ask that you renew your long-term foster commitment to each new foster dog.

What if I'm not sure that I can commit to full-time fostering?

In some circumstances, REDCOLLAR RESCUE has volunteers who contribute by “weekend fostering” or conducting “kennel visits.” Even a weekend or just a few hours spent out of boarding provides valuable experiences to a foster dog and a much-needed break from the stresses of long periods of kennel life.

If you are interested in one of these options, please fill out a foster application and let us know about your availability. We do require that you commit to a certain number of foster weekends or kennel visits out of respect for the time that our volunteers invest in coordinating the weekend foster program and the time that they spend training kennel visitors on kennel rules and procedures and introducing them to kennel staff.

Consider volunteering in another way. We can always use volunteers at our Petsmart adoption events to give adoptable dogs potty breaks out of their crates, to take good photographs for our website, to help with fundraising or our newsletter, etc. If you have a special talent or interest that you would like to share, just ask how you can help!

What happens if I decide that I want to stop fostering before my foster dog is adopted?

REDCOLLAR RESCUE relies on our foster homes to follow through with their commitment to foster. Once a dog is placed in a foster home, we immediately take the opportunity to save another dog’s life. When a foster family decides to stop fostering before their foster dog is adopted, we often don’t have another place for that dog to go. We are an organization made of families just like yours who can’t easily or repeatedly drop everything to go pick up a returned foster dog or accept an additional foster dog into our own homes. And even if we are able to find an open kennel spot for the returned dog, it is heartbreaking to watch a foster dog go back into a kennel. A lot of progress is undone; the dog may be less likely to trust again in the future, which may make him or her harder to place in an adoptive home. We understand that “life happens” and sometimes there are extreme circumstances, but we ask our foster families to consider “What would I do with my own dog in this situation?” before deciding to return a foster dog.

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