Dogs Trust

The Sleepover Club

Would you love to help out some of our dogs?

Are you working full-time or not ready to commit to adopting yet?

Interested in weekend fostering?

If yes, our Sleepover Club may be a great fit for you!

So, what’s it all about then? The Sleepover Club is aimed at those who may not be able to commit to adoption or conventional fostering but would still love some doggie company. It is ideal for those who may work long hours during the week but have time in their weekends to give a dog a break from kennels. The potential weekend fosterer will need to come to our Rehoming Centre for multiple visits to get to know the dog that they have been matched with. How many visits will depend on the dog and their progress. Once a bond has been established, the foster carer can then arrange to come and collect their foster dog on their days off. Adventures and sleepovers await!

Our concept of the Sleepover Club has benefits for both dogs and humans.

For our potential foster carers, they will have the joy of sharing their home with a four-legged friend without having the long-term commitment of adoption. For our dogs, these short term stays outside their kennels will help them to form a connection with new people as well as learning what it’s like to live in a home environment. Apart from being a nice break for the dogs, it’s backed by studies! The research shows that dogs spending time out of their kennels and in homes with families enriches their lives tremendously and drops their stress levels. These dogs sleep better and the human interaction they receive improves their overall welfare.

In a home environment, the dogs will be able to acclimatise to everyday items that may be new for them. They can become familiar with things like TV, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, doorbells etc. This will be a big help to them when they hopefully find their forever homes. Also, the feedback from these temporary foster carers will give our Rehoming team valuable insight into how the dogs behave in the home so we can match them with their ideal adopter.


What do I need to become a foster carer for the Sleepover Club?

You need to be:

  • Over the age of 18 with access to dog-friendly transport.
  • Have no children living in your home or visiting on your days off.

We will offer as much support and advice as we can about the dog in your care to help you both settle in.

How can I foster if I work full time?

If you have any free time available to give to one of our dogs, we would love your help. On your days off, you will be booked to come into the Rehoming Centre to meet with your “Underdog” to build up a relationship. Any time away from kennels whether it is a sleepover, a day out, or just spending time with their foster carer is beneficial for the dog.

What is an Underdog?

An Underdog is a dog who has been in our care for 6 months or more. These dogs unfortunately get fewer adoption enquiries as they may be undergoing training.

How do I become a foster carer?

The first step is to complete a fostering application form. 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 Foster Coordinators will be in touch if there is a suitable dog for you to foster. If you have any questions, you can get in touch via [email protected].

What supplies do I need to be a foster carer?

We will advise you on everything you will need when we match you with a suitable dog. All our foster dogs go home with food, a collar, a harness, and a lead.

What are the benefits of fostering an Underdog?

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. Also, becoming a foster carer today means you will be helping fellow dog lovers who have to give up their dog for various reasons. You’ll be giving a dog a loving home when they most need it.

Can I choose the dog I want to foster for the Sleepover Club from the website?

There are only a select few dogs that we are looking to match with foster carers on the Sleepover Club. Our Foster Coordinators 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 on whether you want to take on that specific foster dog.

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

Under our usual foster programme, foster carers always have first choice to adopt their foster dog. Our adoption fee is €220 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 €270. This includes the €220 rehoming fee and a reduced €50 online Dog School fee. However, given the nature of the Sleepover Club, and that we are looking for temporary, weekend foster care, your dog may not be able to be adopted if you work full time. If you do find yourself with more time on your hands where you may be a suitable candidate for adoption, please bear in mind that the bond you may have with your foster dog will need to be gradually built up over time. Our Underdogs are a very special group of boys and girls who need a lot of time and patience for them to settle. Good things come to those who wait, and this is no exception!

How long are dogs fostered for?

Once you start to take your dog on sleepovers, we will monitor the dog’s behaviour closely on return. Once the dog is still happy and comfortable to come back and forth from your home to kennels then you can foster them as often as you like until they find a new home.

Why would you stop a dog going on sleepovers?

Some dogs can become so attached and love your home so much that they can become stressed when they return to the kennel. If the dog is showing signs of stress in the kennel environment where they are housed for the majority of the time, we will have to reconsider if the Sleepover Club is what is best for that dog.

If my dog gets adopted, can I meet a new dog?

Yes! We would love your feedback to help us match a dog to their forever home. If your foster dog is adopted, we will be more than happy for you to get to know a new Underdog.

Do I have to live in Dublin to foster?

No! However, an Underdog will require multiple meets in the rehoming centre in Finglas, so you must be willing to travel. If that does not suit you, then the foster team will match you to a regional dog outside of Dublin who will be just as happy to stay in your home.

Do you need to have a secure garden to foster a dog?

No. If you do not have a secure garden, we will only match a dog that would suit that environment. All of dogs will need to be kept on lead and muzzled (if required) when they are outside of the home and even for short toilet breaks. If there is no Underdog at the time that suits, we can match you to another dog.

Why does someone need to be at home a lot?

Some of the Underdogs have been in our care a long time and although they are alone in kennel, we do not know how they will cope in a home environment. We ask for you to take your dog on days off when you are around to prevent stress on the dog and damage to your home. If it is going well, the Training Team can advise you on how to get your dog used to gradually being left alone for longer periods of time.

Can I eventually keep my dog home while I go to work?

We do not know how the Underdogs will feel in a new home which is why we need you at home to make it easier for them. Some may cope fine being left alone once it is done gradually with advice from the Foster Coordinators. We will advise on a case-by-case basis.

Why do I need to be able to drive to your Dublin Rehoming Centre?

If you are based in the greater Dublin area, we require foster carers 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.

Can I foster if I already have a dog?

Yes. Some of our dogs would love a pal, but it is a case-by-case basis and the foster coordinator will do their best to match you to a suitable dog.

Are the dogs housetrained?

We do not always know the history of our dogs before they come into our care, and they may currently be living in a kennel, so we cannot guarantee you that they dog will not have accidents in the home while they are settling in. We will provide you with training resources and support if this occurs.

Can I foster if I have children?

Most of the dogs in the Sleepover Club have been living in a kennel environment for quite some time, so a foster home with children wouldn’t be suitable. There are other dogs looking for foster homes that would suit a home with children and the foster coordinator will work to match you to a suitable dog.