Fostering Information

If you are interested in fostering, please fill out our Foster Application.

EMERGENCY CONTACT (password protected, please write down when you start fostering)

What will be expected of me as a foster home?

Everything you need to care for your foster dog (crate, food, bowl, etc.) will be provided by Secondhand Hounds. The most important part of your job will be to help reintroduce your foster dog to a home environment by giving him/her some basic training, socialization and lots of love.

When a potential adopter contacts Secondhand Hounds, we will review the application to meet our standards. The approved applicants will be emailed to you and we expect you contact them to arrange a meeting. These meetings can be performed at your house, their house, or a neutral location (whatever you feel comfortable with). We give our volunteers a say in who they place their dog with. So, if you feel as though someone is not the best match, let us know, and we will find a different home for your foster.

It is a good idea to socialize your foster dog as much as possible to eliminate fear of new situations/people/dogs. A great way to do this is to go to Petco or Petsmart on a weekly basis and let people approach your foster dog. Always be careful to read signs of a fearful dog. If the dog cowers or shakes or growls, ask the person to step back. As soon as the dog seems more trusting (tail wagging, approaching the person on their own), let the person pet your pup. Another way to help a scared dog become more trusting is to carry treats with you and have strangers feed your dog. Other tips are available; just ask!

Where do the dogs come from?

Our dogs are rescued from high kill shelters all around the Midwest. We have contacts that regularly visit these facilities and look for dogs that need our help. We have developed great relationships with shelter workers who contact us when they have dogs in danger of being euthanized. If you are interested in more information about your specific foster, we will do our best to let you know where he/she comes from, and his/her background story if possible. We also get some of our dogs from owner surrenders—owners that can no longer provide care for their dogs, but want to make sure the best possible home is found for them.

How do I integrate the foster into my household?

It depends on your personal situation. Sometimes this will take place at your home, the home of the temporary foster, or the SHH office. In the case of kids, I will either come to your house and let the kids know how to approach a dog, or your kids can come with you to pick up their new foster. If you have fostered in the past, or are very familiar with dog behavior, you are welcome to introduce them in a way you see fit.

Younger children should be introduced slowly to determine the compatibility with the new foster animal. It is recommended that an adult supervise all interactions between foster animals and young children. Children need to be taught the right way to treat an animal and what it means to respect an animal’s cues and need for space.

Here is an article from the ASPCA on introducing your dog to a new dog.

What if the foster dog does not work with my children/dogs/cats?

We ask that you give us one week notice for us to find a new foster. If you want tips on ways to make transitions more smooth, etc., feel free to email us. We are always available to help with questions! If your kids or pets are in immediate danger, we will get your foster dog out of your house as soon as possible.

Who pays the medical expenses of the foster dogs?

All approved medical expenses for the foster dogs are paid by Secondhand Hounds. Please get verbal approval of any medical appointments, etc. from Sara before action is taken. In the case of an emergency, call Sara on the way to the emergency vet to update her on what is going on. In many cases, Sara can get the dog seen at our participating vet for a fraction of the cost of a non-affiliated emergency vet.

Am I putting my personal pets in danger by agreeing to foster?

Because our dogs come from shelter situations, they have unknown histories and it’s quite possible they haven’t had their medical needs properly met. They sometimes have kennel cough (the equivalent of a human cold) and worms, among other possibilities. Before we bring the dogs/puppies into a foster situation, we de-worm them, vaccinate them, and Frontline them. It is always a good idea to have your dogs up to date on vaccines and Frontline before you begin to foster. If your dog(s) do get fleas or worms due to the foster dog, we will treat your dog at no expense.

What kinds of behavior problems might I expect?

We do our best to eliminate the possibility of taking human or dog aggressive dogs. Still, some issues may arise. Possibilities include separation anxiety (i.e. crying or barking when left alone), marking (with urine), chewing, house training, barking, and dog aggression. We have many ways of managing these problems until they are resolved and our experienced volunteers are happy to offer advice.

How do you say goodbye to your foster dogs?

The hardest one to let go is the first one, but we promise it does get easier. There are innumerable amounts of dogs in need, and those dogs all deserve a great foster homes like yours, too. Our foster volunteers have all been through “letting go”, and we can help prepare you before, during and after.

Fostering FAQs:

  1. How long does one typically foster a dog before it finds a forever home? Adult dogs are typically in foster homes anywhere from two weeks to three months. There are rare cases where a dog can be in a foster home for more than eight months. Puppies are usually in foster care for 1-4 weeks.
  2. What happens if I can no longer foster the dog I have? Secondhand Hounds asks that you allow us at least one week to find a new foster. We will do our best to find a foster home for your dog in a timely manner.
  3. What if I am planning on traveling in a month? Can I still foster? Of course! Just let us know your plans at least one week in advance (the more time the better!) and we will make arrangements for a temporary or new foster home for your foster dog.
  4. Can I choose what dog I want to foster? You can give us criteria for what type of dog you want to foster. After you let us know your criteria (i.e. age, size, gender) we will do our best to match you with a perfect foster dog. If we have several dogs needing rescue, we may send you pictures and descriptions of each. In this case, you can choose your exact foster dog. We also post on our Secondhand Hounds Foster Resources Facebook page, listing the animals needing a foster home.
  5. What does the rescue provide for foster parents? Each foster parent will receive the following: food, bowls, leash, collar, crate, toys, treats, and any needed medications. Please let us know when you get low on food so we can get more to you in a timely manner!
  6. If I spend money on my foster dog, will I be reimbursed? Yes, but only if the items you buy are approved by Rachel. Please do not email us and ask for $100 for a new dog bed! Chances are, we can get the same supplies for a lot cheaper! We also have a wide variety of supplies at our office in case your animal has special needs.