Thank you for all of the amazing work you’re doing for the people of Ireland.

While you’re looking after us - you may be worrying about looking after your best friend at home.

Let us help you.

Sign up to our free Dogs Trust Frontline Foster Care service today and we’ll look after your beloved furry family member if for any reason you can’t.

While you’re fighting on the frontline for those who have fallen ill, or you’re working tirelessly to keep essential services open, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your dog is being lovingly looked after.

Register now

 

Our Dogs Trust Frontline Foster Care programme is specifically for frontline workers providing essential services during the coronavirus outbreak who are unable to look after their dog for a period of time.

Register now

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Dogs Trust offering this service?

We understand that frontline workers like you may be concerned about your own capacity to look after your dogs if your hours and workloads increase due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We want to extend our current Canine Care Card scheme to be able to help people like you on the frontline, especially those who are worried about looking after their dogs while they carry out their essential and in some cases life-saving roles.

The last thing we want is for people carrying out essential work to be worrying that their dog is not receiving their usual levels of exercise and human interaction, so we are offering essential workers the “Dogs Trust Frontline Foster Care“ service which will allow you to sign up to a special temporary fostering programme that you can avail of at any time during this unprecedented pandemic.

Although dogs are a fantastic emotional support to their owners, lots of frontline workers are working extra days and longer shifts now. You may be worried about your dog on top of everything else and that’s where our team can help. As with all dogs in our foster programme, we take great time and care to ensure they are matched with the perfect temporary home for them and their needs and we are delighted that we can now extend this to frontline staff so you can rest assured that your dog will be loved and cared for while you are caring for others or keeping essential services going.

It’s so important at a time like this, that we all pull together and although we are a charity with limited staffing resources, we are very aware of the pressure some people are under right now and we really want to help.

Who do you consider an essential worker?

If you are listed on the government’s website as an essential worker you can avail of this service.

How does it work?

If you are an essential worker, all you need to do is visit our website www.DogsTrust.ie/Frontline and complete the online form to obtain your card.

We are keen to highlight that this can simply be one less thing to worry about. We can help care for your dog, while you carry out essential or in some cases life-saving work.

So, we would suggest to any essential workers who have dogs to sign up to this free service, just in case you may need to avail of it.

In line with government guidelines, wearing appropriate PPE and adhering to social distancing, Dogs Trust staff would collect your dog, transport the dog to our Rehoming Centre, following specific hygiene protocols, and then later deliver them to their suitable foster family.

How do you decide who will mind my dog?

We will use our existing fostering program as the model and match your description of your dog and his/her needs and usual lifestyle to those people we already have on our foster family list.

Under normal circumstances families are required to attend a talk here at the Centre as part of the fostering recruitment process but given the centre is closed to the public, we are conducting the talks online.

The first stage of the process for potential fosters is to complete our application form, which gives us a bit more information about the person’s home environment. We then match their criteria to the dogs who need foster placements. 

At this time, to reduce the number of visitors to our Rehoming Centre and our team’s requirement to carry out home visits, we are asking people to send in photos of their secure gardens, balcony areas and the room indoors where the dog will sleep.

How do I get my dog to you?

Our team (wearing PPE) will collect your dog from you and they will come to our Rehoming Centre to have their belongings washed (just as a precaution) before our team bring them to their foster home, wearing PPE and practising social distancing.

Will I be able to visit my dog on my day off?

The service is for those who need their dogs to be fostered for a period of two weeks or more. Given the current government guidelines, dog owners would be unable to visit their dogs while they are being fostered but we will be asking fosterers to check in with us once a week and we will pass on the updates to you to keep you reassured about how your dog is getting on in their foster family’s home.

Can I contact the fosterers myself so I can keep in contact or is the only contact once a week updates from Dogs Trust?

Unfortunately, due to GDPR restrictions, you will be unable to contact the people who are fostering your dog(s) directly but we will be asking fosterers to check in with us once a week and we will pass on the updates to you so you can see how your dogs are getting on.

Can I get in touch to thank my dog’s fosterer when the foster period is over?

While we can’t give out our fosterer’s contact details, we most certainly can pass on messages of thanks!

Is there a risk to the foster family if they are minding a healthcare worker’s dog?

While it is unknown whether or not coronavirus (COVID-19) can be transmitted between humans and dogs, we would recommend washing your hands before and after interacting with your pet, but we will continue to monitor this and take guidance from the World Health Organisation.

Your dog’s belongings will be washed and disinfected in our Rehoming Centre before your dog travels to a suitable foster home with trained staff, who will be wearing appropriate PPE and practising social distancing.

Is there a minimum fostering period?

As you can imagine, a dog moving in with a new family will require some adjustment for everyone and moving backwards and forwards regularly could be stressful for the dog involved. So, to cause as little disruption to the dog being fostered, we have a minimum period of two weeks in place.

Is there a maximum fostering period?

You may only need to have your dog fostered for the two-week period, but it may be that you need to avail of the service for longer than this. If a foster carer is unable to look after your dog after the initial period of two weeks, we will endeavour to match your dog(s) with a new foster family in order to continue to care for them.

What happens if I need to extend the foster period? Will my dog stay with the same family?

Ideally, yes but that really depends on the foster family, if it’s a case that for some reason the family can’t continue to foster your dog, we will do our upmost to find another suitable foster family as soon as possible.

Is there a cost for the service?

No, the service is complete free to essential workers. Dogs Trust receive no Government funding and rely on dog lovers to fund our work. If you would like to help, you can make a donation here.

Do I provide food/treats for my dog?

Yes please, as we want to keep things as normal as possible for the dog and changing their diet could cause an upset tummy.

If I have more than one dog, will they be fostered together?

If at all possible, we will try to keep dogs who share a household together.

What happens if a dog needs veterinary care during his foster stay?

Should your dog require veterinary care during his/her foster stay, we will endeavour to contact you, the dog’s owner but if we are unable to contact you and it is an emergency, we will be guided by the advice of the veterinary practitioner nearest to the foster home in the best interest of your dog.

If my dog isn’t settling or is upset by this, will I be told and is there a way of bringing my dog back to me before the two weeks if they are unhappy?

All of the dogs on our foster care programme are considered on a case by case basis. If your dog is not settling or the foster carer has concerns, we will be in touch with you to work out the best plan for your dog’s care.

My dog is used to routine, will the foster family follow instructions such as walking times or is this up to the foster family to decide?

If you are giving your dog to us to provide foster care for, we will take as many details as you would like to pass on to your dog’s foster family and we will match your dog’s needs with a foster family who best matches what your dog is used to so they are cared for as much as you care for your dog.

My dog is an indoor dog, can you guarantee that my dog will be allowed sleep inside?

If you are giving your dog to us to provide foster care for, we will take as many details as you would like to pass on to your dog’s foster family and we will match your dog’s needs with a foster family who best matches what your dog is used to so they are cared for as much as you care for your dog.

If there was an incident involving my dog who is liable during this period – i.e. dogs gets injured or bites someone?

We would hope this won’t happen as we will obtain detailed information from all essential workers prior to their dogs being fostered and ensure that dogs are matched to fosterers with suitable families.

In the unfortunate incident of a bite occurring, you, the dog’s owner would be legally responsible.

What is your procedure should an essential worker who is ill with confirmed or suspected COVID-19?

If you or a member of our family have a suspected or confirmed case it wouldn’t exclude you from the scheme. This will depend on our available resources, official guidance at the time the request is made, and the individual situation of each dog.

What about people who are not essential workers who may fall ill?

We would advise people who are self-isolating to please try to make alternative arrangements for someone to look after your dog until you feel better, so your dog can continue with their normal exercise routine. If that’s not possible, there are lots of ways to keep your dog happy and healthy within the comfort of your own home – please see our website.

Any dog owner, regardless of their age or occupation, can avail of our free Canine Care Card, should they be concerned now or at any time in the future about what might happen their dog should they pass away. Details of which can be found via: DogsTrust.ie/CanineCareCard

If you are feeling ill, we would advise people to put a note in their window advising they have a dog, just in case they need to avail of emergency services so anybody who may have to enter the house is aware of dog being present. It’s also a good idea to put a note on your fridge with emergency instructions, including who your local dog minder is; a local friend of relative who can mind your dog.

What about elderly people who are cocooning?

We would advise people who are cocooning to please try to make alternative arrangements for someone to exercise your dog until you feel better, so your dog can continue with their normal exercise routine. If that’s not possible, there are lots of ways to keep your dog happy and healthy within the comfort of your own home – please see our website.

How can cocooning or self-isolating people have their dog safely walked

Consider each individual situation and how to safeguard the person you are assisting.

  • Agree the process in advance including time and duration of walk.
  • Find a way to collect and return the dog securely, in a way which maintains a two-metre distance between you and negates you from having to enter the owner’s home.
  • Never walk dogs from different households at the same time.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water before leaving your home.
  • Wear gloves for the duration of any contact and dispose of them after use.
  • Use a different lead to the owners.
  • Don’t handle anything else, such as your phone, during any time of contact.
  • Where possible, minimise touching the dog.
  • Maintain your social distance while walking, keep to quiet areas and don’t allow other people or pets to come into contact with the dog.
  • Wash the lead with soap and water once the dog has been returned.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water as soon as you get home.
How is Dogs Trust coping with Covid-19?

We are urgently appealing to dog lovers like you for your help. Like many businesses and charities, we have had to make the difficult decision to close our Rehoming Centre to the public temporarily. So, now more than ever, we need the public’s support to keep caring for Irish dogs as usual behind the scenes.

As a charity that receives no Government funding, we are solely reliant on the generosity of the public to continue our life-saving work across Ireland.

In these challenging times, people’s generosity will save lives, and ensure unwanted dogs and puppies can continue to receive the love and expert care they need to get them back on their paws again.

So we are appealing to people to please donate what you can through our website or Sponsor a Dog or a Puppy Playgroup.

Is the Dogs Trust Foster Care Card available to frontline workers in Northern Ireland?

The Dogs Trust Foster Care Card is only available to frontline workers in the Republic of Ireland