Dogs Trust

Rehoming

Fostering

Fostering a Dog

Our 'Home from Home' foster programme seeks temporary homes for our most vulnerable dogs.

Sometimes we encounter dogs, who might not be suitable to live in a kennel environment, and would benefit greatly from the foster programme. These may include older dogs, injured or unwell dogs, puppies or dogs who may be finding kennel life a little overwhelming.

Fostering a dog not only gives invaluable experience in caring for a dog but it plays a fundamental role in helping the most vulnerable dogs get back on their paws and have a better chance of finding their forever home, which is an incredibly rewarding experience for any dog lover.

Fosterers not only help by taking a vulnerable dog into their home and caring for them, but this also frees up space in our Rehoming Centre so that we can save the life of another dog!

Dogs Trust places a huge importance on matching the right dog to the right home environment to ensure the best experience for both the foster carer and the foster dog.

What do I need to become a foster carer?

You need to be:

  • Over the age of 18 and have access to dog friendly transport for vet visits and to meet potential adopters
  • Have a secure back garden as some of the dogs will not be toilet trainined and may not be ready for walks
  • Have experience with dogs or are willing to learn

You’ll receive as much support and advice about the dog in your care as we can give.

How do I become a foster carer?

Please email [email protected] to let us centre know that you’re interested in becoming a foster carer. We will then send you an application form to fill in and invite you to our online foster talk. If you have already applied to become a foster carer, thank you so much for your offer and support, it really means the world to us, and our Home from Home team will be in touch if there is a suitable dog for you to foster.

What supplies do I need to be a foster carer?

We will advise you on what supplies you will need when we match you with a suitable dog. As a minimum, all our foster dogs will go home with food, a collar, a harness and a lead.

What are the benefits of foster caring?

Being a foster carer gives you all the joy of adopting a rescue dog without the long-term commitment. It’s perfect for dog-lovers who aren’t ready to adopt a dog yet. Just as importantly, becoming a foster carer today means helping fellow dog lovers who have to give up their dog due to becoming unwell. And you’ll be giving a loving dog a loving home when they most need it.

Can I choose the dog I want to foster from the website?

The dogs we place on foster tend to be the most vulnerable in our care. They may be older dogs, injured or unwell dogs, puppies or dogs who may be finding kennel life a little overwhelming. Because of this, these dogs are often not on our website as they may not be ready for rehoming just yet.

Our Foster Coordinator will match you with one of these dogs based on your application to ensure the best experience for both the foster carer and the foster dog. You will always have the final say in if you want to take on that specific foster dog.

Can I foster an UnderDog?

Absolutely! Our underdogs have been here for a while and are often overlooked. We would love to find out more information on how they behave in a home to help find their forever family. These dogs would be best suited to a home with adults and foster carers who are interested in training. A home with no other pets would be essential and people who woudl have the time to meet the dog multiple times in the centre so you can build a bond before bringing the dog to your home. We are also looking for people who would be happy to foster their underdog for a minimum of 6 months as these dogs can take a while to adjust to big changes, like leaving our rehoming centre for example.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please contact [email protected]

Can I adopt my foster dog if I fall in love with him/her?

Foster families always have first choice to adopt their foster dog. Our adoption fee is €180 for adult dogs and this fee helps us to cover the costs of caring for over 1,500 dogs every year. Our fee for adopting a puppy is €220. This includes the €180 rehoming fee and a reduced €40 online Dog School fee.

How long are dogs fostered for?

This varies for each dog in our care. The average time a dog is in a foster home is 4 weeks. However, this may be shorter or longer based on that specific dogs requirements. We will give you an estimate of how long the dog will be with you when we find a suitable match.

Do I have to live in Dublin to foster?

No! Now more than ever we need foster families all around the country to help us look after dogs. If you have a secure garden with someone home most of the time, we would love to hear from you! If you live outside the greater Dublin area, we will drop the dog to you and collect them when they are going to their forever home.

Why do you need to have a secure garden to foster a dog?

We ask foster families to have a secure garden for a number of reasons. We help a lot of dogs that have had a very hard start to life and can be very nervous of people and are often not toilet trained. Because of this, they may be fearful of wearing collars or leads to go on walks. They would therefore need a safe, secure garden to build up confidence and also to go to the bathroom. We also have a lot of dogs that are afraid of the world and can find going on walks very scary and need a haven. Additionally, many dogs that come into our care have never had vaccinations which means they cannot go on walks as they can pick up parvovirus which can be fatal.

Why does someone need to be home a lot?

The dogs in our care, be they puppies or adults, that go on foster would need homes where they were not left alone for more than fout hours during the day which is why we look for homes where someone is there most of the time.  The foster programme is in place for a variety of reasons, for puppies who would require early socialisation and training, injured dogs requiring care or adult dogs needing time, attention, and company throughout the day.  As most of our dogs have been rescued and may have experienced some sort of trauma, we would wish to place them in foster home where they would not be alone for long periods of time.

Why do I need to be able to drive to your Dubling rehoming centre?

If you are based in the greater Dublin area, we require foster families to be able to drive to the centre. This is so they can bring the dog to necessary vet appointments or to bring them to meet their forever family.

Aideen, a Dogs Trust foster carer has shared her journey with Matteo in the below video since signing up to the programme. It takes an incredibly special and selfless person to foster; someone who puts the dog’s needs ahead of their own and is truly committed and compassionate about caring for a dog in need - please take a look:

Other ways you can help

Thanks again for your continued support. We need your support now more than ever to help us care for our dogs. We would be delighted if you would consider supporting our ongoing life-saving work by making a donation here or by sponsoring a dog