Foster Care Resources

Foster care is the ideal place to house homeless pets: it’s a humane, cost-effective and safe alternative to the confinement and stress of kennel housing. We want to help you grow your foster program!

We’ve gathered some of the best foster program resources that will help you start and expand your foster program by recruiting more caregivers, increasing efficiency and ultimately, saving more lives.

Print them out, read them, edit them and make them your own.

#Foster Program Basics

Thinking of starting a foster program but not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered! From everything you wanted to know about starting a foster program, to a beginner’s course on Maddie’s® University - check out the resources below.

#Expanding a Foster Program

Ready to take your foster program to the next level? Look no further! Grow your program and increase efficiency with the resources below.

#Additional Types of Foster Programs

In addition to the more traditional types of fostering, short-term types like field trip and sleepover/weekend programs are becoming a huge hit, along with adult dog fostering. See the resources below for everything you need to know to start or enhance your current program.

Field Trips

It's amazing what a few hours outside of the shelter can do for a dog! Data from an ongoing study suggests foster field trips can help improve welfare in dogs, increase adoption chances and create other advantages for the organization caring for the dogs. To get started, check out the toolkit and research below.

  • Field Trip Pilot Program Toolkit
    Toolkit includes a program preview and checklist, best practices, a job description for a program assistant, marketing plan and press release.
  • Foster Field Trip Study Summary
    This project evaluated whether foster field trips at Louisville Metro Animal Services improve dog welfare.

Sleepover/Weekend Foster

Sleepover and weekend foster programs are a great way to get pets out of the shelter for a short break. Great for the pet and to gather additional information about that particular pet in an outside or home setting for marketing to prospective adopters.

Check out the toolkit for how-to’s on setting up a pilot program, a sleepover or a short-term foster program. Additionally, there is an insightful study from Arizona University on the benefits of temporary fostering on shelter dogs.

  • Sleepover/Weekend Foster Toolkit
    This toolkit includes a pilot program template, a program preview with steps to be taken, best practices, a checklist for starting new programs, a job description for a program assistant, a marketing plan and a press release
  • Sleepover Study Summary
    This Arizona State University project investigated the benefits of temporary fostering on shelter dog welfare at four animal shelters in the United States.

Adult Dog Foster

Expanding an existing adult dog foster program will increase your capacity and most importantly your lifesaving. The Maddie’s University course will show you how. The Adult Dog Foster Study will provide you with the summary of effects of foster care on medium to large dogs.

  • Maddie’s® University Course: Growing Your Adult Dog Foster Program
    This course will teach you how to increase the capacity of your existing program through effective communication and marketing, improved logistics and use of volunteers. The course is especially focused on fostering and finding homes for dogs who are harder to place.
  • Adult Dog Foster Study Summary
    The goals of this study were: to assess the effect of foster care on medium to large dogs at multiple shelter locations in the United States; to assess the impact of the foster program on shelter staff morale; and to compare CBARQ results of foster dogs in the project to the existing database of owned dogs meeting study criteria.