Fostering a Rescue Pet

Is Fostering for the Pet Rescue League for you? FAQ

​Thank you for your interest in fostering for PRL! We would love to have you on our team and we strive to make fostering a positive experience for you. Here are some frequently asked questions that may help you decide if you'd like to try fostering. If you have any other questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us.  

What is fostering?

Fostering is providing a temporary home for a homeless pet. The shelter can be a very stressful place for most animals. Fostering allows animals to wait for their forever homes in a loving environment. Fostering truly saves lives. 


Is there any cost to me? 

Our rescue pays for everything that is needed for the foster animal. 

Why should I foster?

Fostering can be a wonderful experience for you and your family. You can feel good knowing that you have made a positive difference in an animal’s life and are in many cases saving it! Fostering can also provide individual attention that helps the animal become more adoptable. Foster commitments range from just a couple of days to several months, and we do our best to match the animal to your family. You can choose foster options that fit with your lifestyle on our foster application.  

Do I need to have any special training or skills to be foster parent?

Foster families should be compassionate, caring and patient. You will be informed of your foster animal’s known history, medical and behavioral health before they are placed in your care, and our foster coordinator will help answer questions and provide resources and information.  
What are the requirements?

  • Be willing to abide by policies and procedures in the manual and foster care agreement 

  • Spend time with foster pets and treat them like your own animals while they’re in your care.

  • Have up-to-date vaccinations for all animals in the home.  

  • Have all animals spayed or neutered (this is on a case by case basis)

How long do animals need to be in foster care?

Every situation is different! Our foster needs range from emergency foster homes to until the animal is adopted, which can sometimes take several months. You will be able to choose how long you foster on the application.

How much time do foster parents have to devote to the animal(s) in their care?

It depends on the situation. Foster animals need all of the same things that owned animals do, and may even need more attention if they are recovering from illness/injury. We encourage our fosterers to help with things that may help to make the animal more adoptable. 

What are some of the potential risks of fostering an animal?

Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences that you can have, but there are some potential risks. While rare, below you will read some of the possible risks.  

  • Owned animals could catch a disease and/or a parasite from a foster animal 

  • Foster families, members of their household, or visitors could catch a disease and/or parasite from a foster animal (We do not, as a practice, send animals with known diseases transmittable to humans to foster.)

  • Owned animals could be injured or killed by a foster animal. We try to only take in animals that are good with others. This is always preventable if you follow the information recommended by PRL in the Care for Foster packet available on this website.

  • Foster families, members of the household, or visitors could be injured by a foster animal. We take every precaution to only take in non-aggressive animals.    

  • Foster animals may destroy personal items.

What happens if my foster animal needs medical care?

PRL will provide all medical care for the animals in its foster program.  

Can foster parents adopt their foster animals?

Yes. Foster parents can adopt their foster animals.

                                                 Foster Program Policies and Procedures  

Legal Guardianship  
All animals in foster care are the property of the Pet Rescue League and are subject to all applicable PRL policies, rules and restrictions.   


Proper Housing and Care Requirements  
1. Foster care providers are expected to follow and abide by all guidelines and protocols regarding proper care of foster animals, including giving them proper food, access to water at all times, daylight, socialization, health care, etc. Foster animals must be kept in climate controlled homes with the temperature kept between 60 and 80° F.  No foster animal will be left outside at night or in an unheated garage, tied out unattended or placed in any situation where physical harm could come to them.


2.  Puppies who have not had all their vaccinations should not go places such as the park, animal stores, public sidewalks/trails, etc., as puppies can be susceptible to deadly diseases that could be lurking there.

3. Dogs can go outside for supervised play time/exercise. When outdoors, foster dogs must be kept on leash or in a securely fenced yard. Some dogs can jump/climb over or dig under fences surprisingly fast, so please do not leave foster dogs unsupervised.

4. Foster care providers are prohibited from taking foster dogs to dog parks or other off leash areas. Dogs must be on leash, under your control, at all times.

5. Kittens and cats in foster care should be kept indoors only. When being transported, cats and kittens must be kept in secured carriers.   

6. If your foster pet gets loose, contact a PRL representative immediately.

7. If injury or illness results from interaction between your animals and foster animals, BCPRL will only be responsible for the medical care and expenses of the foster animal. In some cases, you may be asked to keep your pet separate from the foster pet for a pre-determined period of time to prevent the spread of illness to your pet.  

8. PRL reserves the right to perform home checks in order to ensure that foster animals are being adequately and appropriately cared for.   

9. If a foster care provider refuses to return a foster animal for any reason upon request by PRL, or has improperly transferred an animal to another individual or entity, the foster care provider will be permanently removed from the foster program and the BCPRL may initiate appropriate legal action in order to secure the return of the animal.   

10. Foster care providers are only allowed to treat foster animals with medications and supplements prescribed by a veterinarian.

11. Foster care providers must notify PRL immediately if a foster animal bites a person or animal and the bite breaks the skin.   

12. Children under the age of 18 should not be left unsupervised with any foster animals. 

13. Contact a PRL representative if you see any signs of aggression toward a person (freezing, hard stare, growling, lunging, showing teeth, snapping, etc.) It is our policy to never knowingly take in a dog with a bite history or a tendency to be aggressive.

14. Foster care providers must notify a PRL representative of any bite (whether inflicted on a human or another animal) immediately. The foster home will abide by the decision of PRL as to the disposition of the rescue animal should a bite occur.

15. Foster care providers may not give, lease, sell or otherwise transfer custody of the rescue animal to anyone while it is under the foster home’s care. PRL will retain ownership of all foster animals and will make final decisions (with the input of the foster home) regarding adoption or euthanasia. The foster home also agrees that PRL may, as it deems necessary, make visits to the foster home to check on the foster animal’s status. Should PRL decide that the foster animal requires any behavioral training or medical attention, the foster home agrees to abide by PRL’s decision(s).

16. PRL has the right to terminate this agreement and also has the right to the immediate surrender and return of the foster animal to PRL. The foster home agrees to give access to its premises if necessary to facilitate the return.

17. Foster care providers must notify PRL immediately of any upcoming change or address or telephone number. The foster home will also provide a copy of the lease (if property where the foster animal housed is rented) stating that the said foster family has permission from the landlord/leasing agent to house a foster animal of that said type.


 PRL agrees to pay for all the necessities related to the foster animal including: food, litter and box, crate or carrier, bedding, vet care, medicines, leashes, and collars. The foster home is encouraged to buy/make safe toys and treats for foster animal, but will NOT be reimbursed for them.

 Emergencies, Approvals & Reimbursements:

(a) The foster home is encouraged to take the animal to the approved vet in the case of an emergency. If they cannot reach the approved vet, they may take the animal to another competent vet. The foster agrees to notify a PRL representative at the earliest possible time. The foster home needs PRL’s approval prior to any medical treatment for the animal.                                                               

(b) The foster home agrees to immediately notify a PRL representative if their animal receives an injury, is lost or stolen.

(c) The foster home will be reimbursed for any medical, training or other PREVIOUSLY APPROVED expenses that may occur during the foster period. Payment will be made to the foster home by PRL. All foster homes will provide legitimate receipts for proof of payment to PRL and fill out any forms required to receive payment. Please keep your receipts!

Health and Temperament  
PRL will be as accurate as possible when providing information about the medical and behavioral health of animals seeking foster placement, but cannot guarantee the medical or behavioral health of any animal.   


Foster care providers are required to be as accurate as possible about their foster animal’s health and behavior. This will assist the shelter in determining the proper medical treatment, training and/or behavioral rehabilitation for the animal. 


How It Works

  • To foster, the applicant fills out the foster application on our website.

  • PRL reviews the application, and if it is approved, contacts applicant and does a home visit

  • If everything goes well with the home visit, when a dog/cat comes in that is a match for the foster home, a PRL representative brings the animal to the foster home. If it is a good fit, the fosterer signs the foster contract

  • The fosterer takes care of the animal’s daily needs and begins working on any issues: house training, obedience training, overcoming shyness, etc... (We will help you with training and any issues/problems you may encounter.)

  • PRL coordinates medical appointments, meet and greets and any transportation necessary

  • The fosterer keeps BCPRL updated on progress of animal and fills out the Foster Dog Profile.

  • PRL and the fosterer work together to facilitate an adoption.

Important Fostering Tips

  • When receiving a foster animal, fosterers should ask questions about the animal’s history, physical, social and behavioral issues. It is our policy to disclose everything we know about an animal's temperament, behavior, and medical history to our fosters and adopters. The Foster Dog Profile that we have our fosterers fill out about their foster animal will go into the animal's file to be given to the adopter. 

  • When receiving a foster animal, fosterers should check its collar to ensure it is snug and in good condition. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THE COLLAR OR TAG.

  • Allow the animal to relax during its first few days in its new environment. Moving is stressful and exciting for animals. The first few days should be slow and easy and allow some time for the animal to transition to their foster home.

  • Cats are to be kept indoors unless on a leash. Dogs are also to reside indoors and must be on a leash outside unless in a completely fenced in area.

  • Dogs are not to be chained.

  • Fosterers should know the adoption fee of the animal they are fostering. Direct all parties interested in adopting to complete an application on PRL’s website:

  • Please take pictures and video! PRL relies heavily on fosters for pictures and bios of the animal they are fostering. This wonderful information and update will help the animals find their loving homes faster.

  • Fosterers should make PRL aware of a situation where their foster animal is not working out in their home. Please be patient with your foster animal and your resident animals when it comes to acceptance. However, if there are any signs of aggression towards people (freezing, hard stare, growling,lunging, snarling, showing teeth, snapping, etc) please let us know right away.

  • Call/text PRL with any questions, needed advice, concerns, or stories regarding the animals.

  • If the dog will be visiting a place other than your home during your time together, consider whether they will truly benefit from, and enjoy the particular environment to which you will be taking them. Think about the surroundings, the traffic (both people and other animals), and whether or not the environment may cause further stress to your foster dog.   

  •  Crowded public areas should be avoided, including school grounds.   


  • You are prohibited from taking foster dogs to off leash dog parks or other off leash areas. Dogs must be on leash, under your control, at all times.  

  • Have a blast! Ride in the car, walk in the neighborhood, play, watch TV, whatever you want to do within the limits outlined above. Use structure, kindness, attention, training, and snuggling as needed. Some dogs will want to spend their time resting and some will want to do lots of fun things. Keep in mind the dog’s safety and needs and yours, and have fun!

  • Most of all, just give the animals lots of love, attention, and guidance so they can be ready for their new forever home!