Dog Fostering Procedures
Purpose of Foster Care
The intention is to use foster homes where dogs require intensive care for health or behavioural reasons or where there is an emergency intake.
Becoming a Foster Carer
In order to become a foster carer you need to meet the following criteria:
- Be/have been an experienced dog owner
- Have your own dogs vaccinated
- Be within 30 miles or minutes’ drive of the sanctuary or our current vets
- Be able to take dogs to the SAA and to/from the vets for routine and emergency appointments
- Be able to give foster dogs at least 1 hours daily
- Not leave the foster dog alone for extended periods
If you meet the above criteria and wish to discuss fostering more please contact our animal care coordinator providing your full contact detail (address and contact number). You will need to fill out a cat fostering application form. Once we receive this application form you will be contacted to discuss in further detail, if you are successful a member of animal care will arrange to conduct a home visit. This is to have discussion in greater depth answering any questions you may have and to assess your facilities and experience.
Allocation of Dogs to Foster Homes
Dogs are put into foster homes for a variety of reasons including lack of space at the SAA, long stay shelter dogs, puppies under 6 months or dogs with behavioural problems. The decision of placing a dog in a foster home is made by the animal care staff and is based on the fosterers experience and individual dog’s needs. When a dog needs to be placed into foster care the SAA will contact the fosterer, most likely by telephone, and ask them if they are able to take on a dog at this time. If they can assist they will be given, if possible, an indication of the planned duration of the foster placement and an appointment made for them to collect the dog.
Equipment and Supplies
The SAA will provide all basic equipment, including a bed, bedding, food bowls, toys, food (diet to be decided by animal care), lead, collar, harness, muzzle and a puppy crate. We are also responsible for all veterinary costs. Fosterers may provide their own equipment if they wish. The equipment provided by the SAA is to be used for SAA dog’s only. Fosterers are responsible for traveling to and from the sanctuary to obtain additional supplies if necessary, with prior notice by telephone to ensure the items are available. If the foster carer cannot travel to the sanctuary they should give sufficient notice for the items to be delivered.
A SAA tag will be supplied and the dog must wear this on its collar at all times. If it is lost the fosterer must inform the SAA immediately and replace tag found. We advise all foster dogs are crate trained, using the crate supplied by the SAA, and dogs are put in the crate when left alone. This is to reduce any damage the dog may cause to the fosterers home. Damage caused to your home by the dog will not be covered by the SAA.
Quarantine and Mixing with Other Dogs
All dogs that enter the SAA have a 7 day quarantine period. If the dog goes straight into a foster home the dog will have to do its quarantine period in the foster home. During this time the dog should be muzzled at all times when walking outside of the fosterer’s home and when greeting new people. Although dogs are temperament tested upon admittance this is a precautionary measure to protect both members of the public, the fosterer and the dog. After 7 days of being in foster care the fosterer should arrange to bring the dog down to the sanctuary for a temperament test. The temperament testers will take into account the fosterers assessment of the dog. The result of this temperament test is used to find out the dogs ideal home and devise a training plan which the fosterer is responsible for implementing.
If a dog has already been with the SAA for its quarantine period will have already been temperament tested. In this case staff will tell you the guidelines for walking and meeting new people. Other dogs in the home must be neutered, vaccinated and up to date with fleaing and worming treatments, evidence of this will be asked for at the home visit.
Foster dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and only let off in a secure garden or on site at the SAA in secure space. When out walking interactions with other dogs should be limited to avoid aggression from either party.
Foster dogs may not be neutered or vaccinated when entering foster care dependant on the situation. Where possible they will have been defleaed and dewormed. After the quarantine period the fosterer will be responsible for vet visits to our current vet. If they cannot visit the vets themselves they are responsible for arranging with a member of animal care for the dog to be collected and taken. All dogs in SAA are neutered and vaccinated before being available for rehoming. Before an appointment is made the fosterer must inform a member of animal care who will then inform the vets. If a dog is on medication it is the fosterer’s responsibility to do this.
If the fosterer is concerned about the dog the first step is to contact a member of animal care. They will advise you on the situation. Foster animals may only be taken to our current vets or their appointed out of hours service.
If it is an emergency outside of SAA hours (8:30 to 5:30) and if a member of the animal care team cannot be contacted you may make direct contact with our current vets, but only if you are unable to contact a member of animal care and you feel the situation can’t wait.
Full contact details of both animal care and vets will be given upon satisfactory home assessment
Reporting of Notifiable Incidents in the Home
It is very important that you advise the Society for Abandoned Animals (SAA) of any incidents involving physical injury, to yourself/the dog or others that occur whilst our dog is in your care. Please remember that the dog’s stay in your home provides valuable, essential information, detail of which is incorporated in to their temperament assessment. In order to secure the right home we need to be aware of any factors that may affect or trigger an unwanted behaviour.
- Any signs of aggression towards other animals or people, such as growling, lunging.
- Any guarding of resources (food/toys/even foster carer – jealousy?) overzealous/inappropriate play.
- If a dog bites/injures anyone (family member/visitor/member of the public) even if believed to be accidentally (as in jumping for or playing with a toy and catching a hand holding the toy) we need to be notified as soon as possible (ideally within 24 hours of the incident).
When reporting you may either telephone, email or come down to the sanctuary, either yourself or a member of staff at the SAA will fill in a fostering incident report sheet and you, the fosterer, will be required to sign it.
Dogs placed in foster care may either be returned to the SAA when there is a pen available or brought down to the SAA for appointments with potential adopters.
If a family or friend expresses an interest into adopting a dog the fosterer must contact the SAA to discuss this and to provide full contact details. The normal adoption procedure will then be followed.
What if things go wrong?
If you have any worries or concerns you are urged to contact a member of animal care to discuss them. If the dog in foster care needs to come back to the SAA the fosterer must understand that this is not always possible immediately and the dog may have to remain in their care until other accommodation can be found. In the case of dog aggression this is treated as a priory and the foster will not be asked to continue fostering if they feel the dog is a threat.
Please bear in mind that going into a new home can be distressing for an animal so they will be unsettled at first. It is an extremely rewarding experience but fosterers must be prepared for an imperfect dog therefore tolerance and understanding is needed.
Use of contact Numbers
The mobile phones numbers provided are for your use only, in relation to fostering. Please do not give these numbers to anyone else (other than the vets) and think before calling during evenings, the use of these numbers at evening should be limited to emergencies only.