Guide for dog fosters

Thank you so much for choosing to be a life-saving foster! Because you’re taking a foster dog in, not only have you saved your foster’s life but you have opened a shelter kennel for another dog in need!

Below are some key tips and info for fosters, whether you’re new to this or not!

1. Top tips

  • Follow the 3-3-3 rule to set them up for success. This is vital to any dog’s adjustment to a new environment.
  • Give your new pet time and space to decompress. Don’t try to introduce them to everything and everyone, let them get comfy in a room if needed and let them come to you when ready.
  • Establish routine. A set routine creates safety and establishes expectations as a dog is trying to understand its new environment.
  • Create balance. Training doesn’t need to be harsh, serious and intense. So much fun, positivity and play can take place during training and it truly helps grow your bond if done well!
  • Ensure safety and respect. Separate dogs – and other pets – when no one is home to monitor (different rooms work great!). Use baby gates and crates to respect space when children or adults can’t make the best decisions. Allow a dog to escape and be respected and honored for making good choices.
  • Preventing your foster dog from escaping. Don’t leave your foster dog in the yard without supervision, particularly in the first few weeks to ensure they don’t get spooked and run off. Close all doors and accessible windows in your house to prevent escape. And double check for escape routes.
  • DO NOT bring your foster dog to dog parks or let them off leash in public.

2. Getting your foster dog adopted

  • Dog bio: Once you start getting more of a feel for your foster dog’s personality and preferences, please fill out this form so we can update your foster dog’s webpage.
  • Note: Keep it positive for their webpage! No dog is perfect, but we want to highlight their positive qualities on the website.
  • Media: Send photos and videos of your dog in the home and being part of a family to! We use these to share them via social and update their webpage to keep it eye-catching.
    • Ensure your photos and videos are clear (not blurry) and really show the dog and its personality. Adorable photos and videos that will grab people’s attention are the best! Ones showing them with you and your family are especially helpful!
  • Personal social: Feel free to share your foster dog all over your own social media as well to get them exposure!
  • If someone’s interested: Have the family fill out SSPA’s adoption application to start the process of adoption.
  • If an adopter is approved by SSPA: Our team will notify you via email. Fosters should call the potential adopter within 24 hours to ask and answer any questions that would help them and you determine whether the dog would be a good fit for their family.
  • Meet-and-greet / adoption: If you think it would be a good fit after speaking with them, you can arrange a time for them to meet as follows. Please let us know what day you plan on meeting and note we don’t hold dogs for potential adopters.
    • Meet-and-greet spot: Foster and adopter can meet in a place that DOES NOT have loose dogs or many dogs, for example in the foster’s front yard or in a regular (not dog) park.

    • Rules: NO OTHER PETS are allowed at this meeting. Adopters are expected to follow the introduction protocol outlined in earlier emails and on our resources page.

    • If it’s a match: If all works out during the meet and greet and you’re satisfied that it’s a good match, the dog can go home immediately with its new family!

      • How to hand off the dog: If all works out during the meet and greet, the foster provider will keep the dog’s collar and leash to return to SSPA. If the family plans to adopt, they should bring a collar and leash to the appointment – martingale collars are recommended and retractable leashes are not recommended.

      • Immediately notify SSPA when you’ve handed off the dog to the adopter.
      • Reminders you can give adopters as the foster provider, if needed:

        • Adopters will receive a copy of the adoption paperwork and the dog’s medical record in the mail from the shelter within one week of adoption. If they do not, they can email SSPA.

        • HEADS UP that if this pet is not already altered, the adopter will become the new foster until after the pet is altered. At that point they will become the adopter and the pet will be theirs. The surgery will take place at no cost to them at the shelter.

        • Ask them to share updates via email with SSPA and let them know they can reach out to SSPA via email at any time over behavioral issues!

3. Don’t wait to reach out if you have any concerns

  • If you have any concerns about your dog (medical or behavioral … etc.), please email SSPA immediately when you notice anything.
  • The sooner you inform us, the sooner we can help you work through the issue and prevent it from becoming worse or ingrained.

4. All communication is done via email

  • Never hesitate to reach out at, which is almost constantly monitored.