Common Questions and Answers about Fostering

Can I choose my foster companion?

SDR works to ensure a good match of temperament, energy, and care needs between our rescue animals, the members of their new foster family, and the foster home setting. We may ask a foster caregiver whom we know has specialized skills to assist with a companion animal’s special needs to foster a particular companion, but the choice is always up to the foster caregiver which companion they agree to foster.


Most often, we learn of a companion animal just hours or perhaps a day in advance of their scheduled date to be killed at the shelter. As such, we frequently have a pressing need to find a foster caregiver to accept this companion animal. It is our goal to have foster caregivers on standby so that we can successfully remove these companions from the shelter and place them with a caregiver with relatively short notice.

What if I have other commitments and cannot take a foster at a particular time?

You can foster a companion animal in need as your time permits, coming in and out of our active foster program. We always have other volunteer opportunities when your schedule doesn’t allow you to foster, but you would still like to help Sea Dog Rescue.

How long will I have my foster?

This can be a difficult question to answer. We try our best to limit our foster caregivers to providing care for companion animals for less than a month, but there are situations when the time a companion animal will need in foster care is longer. While we want our companions to learn to reintegrate into a “family”, we want them to go to their forever home as quickly as possible.

What do I need to foster?

The most important qualities in a foster caregiver are love, patience, and consistency.

  • A willingness to treat your foster companion as part of your family.
  • The willingness to evaluate temperament and teach or reinforce basic commands (sit, stay, come).
  • A schedule that allows you to provide ample physical exercise on a regular basis as well as a safe place for him/her to stay while you are away from home.
  • We welcome your willingness to provide toys or other supplies for your foster companion.
  • The willingness to work in tandem with trainers or behaviorists if your foster companion presents a challenging behavior needing correction.
  • Again, love, patience, consistency and more love, patience, and consistency!

What responsibilities will I have during the time I foster a companion animal?

Rescued companion animals need love and attention more than anything else. They need to feel safe and secure and know they are part of a family, or “pack”. Our companion animals need regular feeding, fresh water, and a safe environment.

Foster families also give valuable insight into the animal’s behavior, temperament, and habits so we can provide more intensive rehabilitation when it is needed and so we can place him or her in a permanent home that best fits their energy level and needs.

We ask our foster caregivers to allow potential adopters to meet the companion they are interested in adopting in the animal’s most comforting environment – their foster home – and to give us their impressions on the “fit” of their foster animal with the animal’s potential new family.

What kinds of expenses will I incur if I foster a companion animal?

Sea Dog Rescue will cover the cost of all vaccinations and monthly preventative medications or treatments.

In some instances, you may need to take your foster companion animal to the vet for removal of sutures or for treatment for intestinal parasites or other conditions. We treat for typical maladies but it may be necessary to continue or give an additional treatment. At no time will we ask you to foster an animal who may endanger your existing companion’s health, unless you are fully equipped and willing to take on that responsibility. As an example, some rescued companions may be in treatment for intestinal parasites or mange; however, unless you are equipped to quarantine the animal from your own companions and are fully aware of the risks, we will not allow you to foster that companion animal.

If your foster companion animal needs to go to the vet, we ask that you inform us prior to taking the animal to the vet (except in an emergency). We also appreciate you speaking to your veterinarian before taking the companion animal for a visit to explain that you need to bring in a rescue animal and ask them if they will provide a discount on services for our rescue group.

Our foster caregivers always receive a copy of their foster companion animal’s shelter records (if any) and prior vetting information. These records will go along with the foster animal to their new home when they are adopted.

What other responsibilities can I expect?

Some of our rescue companion animals may have special needs. They may have had a very difficult life prior to being rescued and require extra patience, understanding, and love.


Many rescued companion animals will need to learn some basic obedience and may need to learn house manners such as potty training. We also provide basic training materials so that you can work with the dog to get him or her ready for their new forever home and will always be there for you as a resource to help you with any special behavior or training needs that are discovered in your foster companion animal.


If we have an adoption event in your area, or close enough that you are willing to drive to the event, we will invite you to bring your foster companion animal. These events are the best place to find your foster companion animal their permanent family home!


We will ask you to take updated pictures of your foster companion animal and send them to us so we can update their listing on and other sites or publications.

What is the best way to acclimate my new foster companion to my home?

Crate training is the safest way to acclimate your new foster companion to your home, and it gives him or her the highest sense of security. If you do not have a crate for your foster, we will provide you with one.


Introductions to other companions in your family should be done very gradually and on neutral ground. If you have additional questions regarding introducing your foster companion to your other companion animals, we are happy to discuss specifics on making this a successful experience for all involved. Our number one goal is to set up our foster families, as well as our foster companion animals, to SUCCEED!

What’s so great about fostering a companion animal and what’s not-so-great?

The biggest disadvantage to fostering a companion animal is the bond you will inevitably form with your foster companion; it can be difficult to let them go to their new home. We can tell you from experience that there will likely be tears when they leave your care, but they will be happy tears and you will look back on your experience and know that you have made all the difference in the world for that one rescued animal.


The advantages of fostering a rescued companion animal are far more impactful than any disadvantage. By fostering a rescued companion animal, you will know that you are helping save a life and give a companion a new lease on life.


You will meet many wonderful companion animals along the way and develop new friendships with others who share your passion for caring for these members of society who have been tossed aside due to no fault of their own.


You can enjoy the companionship of a wonderful animal without the lifelong commitment of being the permanent guardian of that companion animal…it’s the best of both worlds for everyone!


You will take pride in knowing that you may have accepted an animal with special needs into your care and given him or her the love and attention needed to overcome their special challenges.


We can tell you from personal experience that there is no better feeling in the world than to know that your love, patience, and personal attention is the reason your foster companion, who may have come to you sad, frightened, and downtrodden, has blossomed into the happy, confident, “whole” being they were meant to be. There is no better feeling in the world than to help heal a friend.

How can I become a foster caregiver for Sea Dog Rescue?


If you are interested in fostering an animal in our rescue program, please let us know by filling out our Foster Application.

Thank you for supporting Sea Dog Rescue. If you are unable to foster a companion animal there are numerous other ways you can contribute to our mission.