Foster a dog
We have two different foster care schemes, which have different criteria because the fostering needs are quite different. Find out more about each of the schemes and how to apply below.
Home from Home Fostering
Some of the dogs that come into our rehoming centres just aren’t cut out for kennels – these may be puppies, older dogs, dogs with injuries/medical conditions, and sometimes we just run out of space. We're looking for foster carers that are happy to take dogs into their home until we can find a forever home for them.
We’re looking for new foster carers to open their houses and their hearts to dogs who find themselves without a permanent home. We’ll support you every step of way and provide food, bedding and any other practical things you need. We’ll also cover the costs of any veterinary treatment. You’ll help a dog get back on their paws and into a permanent home.
Who can become a Home from Home foster carer?
We're looking for foster carers who are over the age of 18 and are able to travel to their local rehoming centre regularly for vet visits or to meet potential adopters. It helps if you have your own car, but it's not essential. We're particularly in need of people who live in a household with no children and have no other dogs or cats in the home.
How to apply for the Home from Home Scheme
If you're interested in becoming a foster carer for your local rehoming centre search our volunteer vacancies where you'll find all of the fostering vacancies in your region and information about how to apply.
Search for dog fostering vacancies
Freedom Project Fostering
Our Freedom Project is a dog fostering service for people fleeing domestic abuse. As many refuges can’t accept pets, our specialist dog fostering service is a vital lifeline, that helps people to get to safety, knowing that their dog is safe, until they can be reunited.
The Freedom Project runs in Greater London & the Home Counties, East Anglia, Yorkshire, the North East, the North West, and Scotland, so we’re always looking for volunteers in those areas to foster dogs in their homes.
Benefits of foster caring
When you foster a dog for the Freedom Project you’re not only helping a dog, you're supporting a family too. We cover all the dog’s food and veterinary bills, and our team will be there for you every step of the way.
Who can become a foster carer?
We are looking for people who are at home during the day and have experience caring for dogs. Unlike fostering with our Home from Home scheme, you don’t need to drive, as long as you can get to your local vet.
Find out more and how to apply
What is fostering?
Most dogs we care for live in our state-of-the-art kennels while they wait to find their forever home. But some dogs don’t cope well in kennels, so we find them a temporary foster home instead.
Fostering helps our dogs get back on their paws. For those that need it, a temporary foster home offers dogs a chance to relax and recuperate while they wait for a permanent home.
Fostering is also really rewarding. As a foster carer you’ll have all the benefits of dog ownership without the long-term commitment. You’ll be helping a dog through a difficult time and hopefully seeing them blossom. Once you’ve waved a dog off to their new home, you can take a break to do other things and foster another dog when you’re ready.
All the information you gather about a foster dog during their time in your home is also invaluable for finding them their perfect home. We can use your observations to match them with a new family and to make the adjustment to their permanent home as easy as possible for them.
How long do dogs stay in foster homes?
The length of their stay depends on the individual dog. Some may only need a foster home for a few weeks, while others may need a few months. Once a dog is in a foster home, they will generally stay there until they’re adopted.
Our Home from Home Coordinators will place dogs based on the circumstances and availability of foster homes. We can sometimes accept fosterers who can only foster for a few months at a time, for instance during school holidays or between working contracts. But moving dogs between kennels and foster homes could be unsettling and stressful for them, so we try to move them as few times as possible.
Will it cost me anything?
We provide all the food and equipment you’ll need and cover the cost of veterinary bills while the dog is in your care. You will also be covered under our third-party insurance.
The only things we can’t cover are the cost of journeys to and from the centre or any damage to property such as carpets or furniture.
How often will I need to travel to the centre? Do I need to drive?
We’ll ask you to bring the dog to the centre for vet visits and to meet potential adopters. How often will depend on a dog’s vet needs and the requests to meet them. If the dog has pre-existing health issues, it’s possible that a vet may want to see the dog weekly so that they can be closely monitored. In most cases the dog will see the vet at the rehoming centre.
As the dogs will need to visit the rehoming centre regularly, we look for fosterers who live within an hour’s journey of the rehoming centre and have their own car. Sometimes it may be possible for fosterers to make use of public transport or taxis so having a car is not always essential.
If travelling to a rehoming centre would be difficult but you would love to foster, you may want to consider volunteering for our Freedom Project >
What happens if I go on holiday?
Our Home from Home Coordinator will work with you to arrange fostering around your holiday dates. If we know you have a holiday coming, we may choose to wait to place a foster dog with you when you’re back. If you have a dog in your home and need to go away, we’ll do our best to make suitable arrangements. Foster dogs can’t be taken abroad but if appropriate, you may be able to take them on trips away within the UK.
Can I keep in contact with the new owners adopting my foster dog?
After adoption, if the dog’s new family send updates to the rehoming centre, we may be able to pass these on to you. But we can’t share contact details and don’t advise that foster carers and adopters exchange details. Based on our experience, it can be upsetting for both parties and the dog.
What types of dogs go into foster homes?
Dogs placed into foster come in all shapes, sizes and breeds. We place dogs in foster homes who don’t cope well with kennel life, these include elderly dogs, nervous dogs, those who need extra observation due to medical needs and young dogs needing help with socialisation and adjustment to home life.
Where do meets with potential owners take place?
Meetings between the dog and potential adopters take place at our rehoming centres and on rare occasions at their foster homes, with the fosterer’s consent. We take data protection seriously and you will never be asked to share details with potential adopters.
Can I foster and work full time?
This depends on your working hours and your flexibility. It may not be suitable as dogs usually require plenty of time to settle in and may not be able to cope with being left alone for long periods of time. You will need to be able to spend a good part of the day with your foster dog whilst building up their confidence in being left home alone. We’ll support you with a training plan to help the dog get used to being alone, but it could take weeks or months depending on the dog. Foster dogs will also often need to visit the centre on weekdays to see the vet or meet potential adopters.
Can I choose which dog I foster?
We prioritise placements based on the needs of a dog, so we’re looking for carers who can be flexible about the type of dog they foster. Our Home from Home Coordinators will always discuss a dog with you to ensure you are happy looking after them before placing them in your home.
I haven’t owned a dog before, will I get training and guidance?
Yes, we’ll provide training and support you every step of the way. Our Home from Home Coordinators can answer any questions you may have and ensure you’re comfortable with anything you need to do, such as administering medication.
What sort of help and support would I get?
Foster carers will receive regular contact from our Home from Home Coordinator throughout the dogs stay. In case of emergency, you’ll be able to contact the centre any time, including out of hours. Our training and behaviour team based within the centre will also support you to ensure you and the dog get the most benefit possible from the foster placement.
I have children, can I still foster?
This will depend on the needs of the individual dog. Some dogs will be able to live with families with young children, and some wont. Our Home from Home Coordinator will discuss this with you and decide on a case-by-case basis.
I have other animals, can I still foster?
In most cases you can foster if you have other dogs in the home, as long as they are fully vaccinated and used to dogs visiting the house. It isn’t always practical to place dogs in homes with other small animals as many of our dogs come to us without a home history, meaning we won’t always have an accurate picture of how they will interact with other animals. Our Home from Home Coordinator will discuss this with you and decide on a case-by-case basis.
If I fall in love with a dog, can I adopt them?
Ideally, we’re looking for fosterers who are happy to dedicate their time to help multiple dogs who need of time away from kennels. But foster carers can adopt a foster dog so long as they express this interest before another suitable adopter does.
Can you foster my dog?
We have to prioritise our limited kennel space and foster homes for dogs who find themselves without an owner and so are at an increased risk of euthanasia. So unfortunately, we’re not able to provide temporary care for dogs whose owners are looking for a boarding solution.
If you find yourself in difficulty, we recommend trying these alternatives:
- For the elderly and terminally ill, the Cinnamon Trust may be able to provide support.
- If you are a victim of domestic abuse, then the Freedom Project may be able to support you and your dog.
- If you are going through a health crisis, People and Pets Advocates may be able to help.
- A local private boarding establishment or dog sitter may be able to assist you.
Who should I contact for more information about the Home from Home scheme?