Foster Information


Is Fostering Right for You?


Becoming a foster is one of the most important things anyone can do to help in animal rescue. This is how we save lives. When you volunteer to open your home and foster an animal you are doing more than you can imagine. Not only do you free up a run at our shelter so we can rescue more animals in need, you are giving your foster-dog an even better chance at permanent adoption. You are taking that animal out of the stressful shelter circumstance and providing a temporary home where they can learn to become part of a family.  When these dogs are able to settle into a home, it is incredible to see them transform and overcome some fears, to allow them to blossom into real companions! Most of all, foster families these dogs safe and give them the love and attention they need. Fostering isn’t always easy, but it is always rewarding. Without our dedicated foster volunteers, there would be fewer dogs finding their forever homes- they are an integral link in the journey that these animals take as they seek permanent placement.

Do you have children? Do they love animals??

GREAT!!!!  Foster Homes with kids are an AMAZING ASSET to any rescue organization. Look at the artwork here and you can see how Aria, age 7, has embodied what it means to care for a foster animal. Not only does this work help teach kids of all ages compassion for animals, responsibility, proper care and handling but at the same time, children provide rescued puppies WONDERFUL SOCIALIZATION exposure that is invaluable to their future lives!

Won't you consider becoming a foster family today? You provide the love and care. We provide the necessities.

Continue Reading this page for EVERYTHING you need to know about becoming a Foster for Soft Paws Rescue:

 What is a Foster Home?

Becoming a foster parent is a wonderful and personal way to contribute to saving the lives of homeless animals. Foster parents provide a temporary home for rescue animals who are waiting for adoption. Temporary could mean from a day to several months. Foster homes provide the love and attention and in some cases training that make the animals more adoptable. Fostering provides a flexible way to volunteer that does not require a scheduled number of hours and itʼs a great way to enjoy animals in your home if you are not in a position to make a lifelong commitment to adopt.

Foster homes play a crucial role in rehabilitating rescued animals and in helping abused and neglected animals learn how to love and trust again. By teaching or re-teaching an animal how to live in a home setting, foster homes help increase the odds for a smooth and successful transition into a permanent adoptive home. In the case of orphaned baby animals, foster homes provide surrogate parenting and round-the-clock care for tiny animals that are too young to survive on their own. By providing orphaned animals with plenty of nutrition, love, and stimulation during their first eight weeks of life, foster homes help ensure their health and survival as adults. What do foster homes do? Foster homes save lives.

Some people are reluctant to foster animals because they are concerned that it is unfair to take in an animal, establish a bond, and then allow the animal to be adopted into another home. Isnʼt that a second abandonment? Not at all. Being in a foster home can be a lifesaving bridge for an abandoned or frightened pet. It gives the animal a chance to get used to life in a house and an opportunity to learn that people can be kind, food is available, and there is a warm, secure place to sleep. Foster care can help prepare a pet for a new life in a permanent home.

Taking animals into our home, loving them, and then letting them go requires a special kind of person. Your role as a foster parent is to prepare the animal for adoption into a forever home. Giving up an animals youʼve fostered, even to a wonderful new home, can be difficult emotionally. Parting with animals you’ve nurtured and loved requires a very special kind of person. Foster parents should remind themselves that moving an animal into an adoptive home makes room for one more animal to be saved.



Soft Paws Rescue will not knowingly place any foster animal in the following situations:

  • With individuals with a history of animal abuse, neglect, or abandonment

  • Where personal animals are not up to date on all required vaccinations and donʼt have regular vet visits

  • In homes where it would be used as an attack guard dog

  • To be turned over to a person who has not been screened for foster home approval

  • To a residence where pets are not allowed

  • To an individual who is not considered an adult

  • To a home where the animal is going to be chained

  • To a home where all family members are not in favor of the foster home situation

  • Soft Paws Rescue prefers a fenced yard for our foster homes, but fences are not mandated in all cases. However, in specific situations, certain dogs may require a fenced yard. Soft Paws Rescue does not prohibit the use of invisible fences but discourages their use when the owner is not at home.

All foster homes must provide proper care for their foster animals including the following:

  • Proper diet and fresh water

  • Safe, comfortable shelter from the elements and potential dangers, NO OUTSIDE LIVING.

  • Routine vaccinations are done by our staff at Soft Paws Rescue. You’ll be advised if you have to bring your foster to us for additional shots.

  • Proper identification on pets and complying with local animal laws, WE DO GIVE RESCUE TAGS on each dog

  • Adequate training and supervision including house training and crate training

  • Daily exercise and companionship

In addition, foster homes must provide the following for animals in their care:

  • Keep accurate records medications, vet appointments, intake form, etc.

  • Complete monthly Foster Sheet and send to Foster Coordinator

  • Help with transports to needed appointments, if possible.

  • Assess pets for behaviors and prepare report as requested

  • Dispense prescribed medications/treatments

  • Immediately notify the Soft Paws Rescue of medical visits needed for foster animals and of emergency care obtained without prior approval of Soft Paws Rescue, bills not at our vets or not approved by us MAY NOT  ALWAYS BE REFUNDED.

  • Use a crate when transporting a foster pet

  • Notify Soft Paws Rescue immediately if it appears the foster pet is not working in to the foster home situation

Foster parents cannot do the following:

  •  Adopt a foster pet that has already been chosen for an adopter.

  •  Use their own vet or any medical needs (OTHERWISE WE DONT PAY FOR THEM)

  •  Walk foster pet without a collar and leash at all times

  •  Leave pet unattended outside

  •  Let foster pet go to anyone else without expressed permission and approval from the Foster Committee

  •  Stop giving prescribed medications without vet consent


Fostering Requirements

What are the requirements for being a foster parent?

It's best to have some knowledge of companion animal behavior and health. The general requirements are that the foster love animals and have the time and resources to provide a foster animal with adequate care. Other requirements will vary depending upon the specific needs of a given foster animal. Some animals, for example, will need fenced yards, extra time commitments (as in the case with orphaned newborns), etc. Some of the animals most in need of foster care are those that require a little extra help or training or recovering from surgery or an illness. Shy cats often need time to learn to trust and a quiet home environment. Dogs often benefit from a little obedience training. Being familiar with some basic training and socialization techniques can be a big help in preparing a foster animal for a new home.

 All foster parents are asked to make themselves available for a scheduled, informal home visit. This is to ensure that the home is suitable and safe environment for fostering, both for the foster family and the animals being fostered (May be done virtually depends on fosters location).

Foster parents are encouraged to purchased food and supplies when they can in order to help SPR keep costs as low as possible. However, if a foster is unable to provide these, SPR will provide needed food and supplies including crates as required. SPR provides all the medical attention needed by our animals. The foster will be asked to provide transportation to and from services for their animals whenever possible.

Adults we allow foster to adopt (with post dated adoption fee payment).

Puppies we DO NOT allow Foster to adopt.

                         What about current pets in the home?

You will want to consider how any animals in your household will adjust to having a foster pet. Some animals do very well with a temporary friend and can help socialize the foster animal. Other pets have a harder times with new animals being added to or leaving the family. The foster is the best judge of his/her pet's personality and this should be given primary consideration when volunteering is being considered.


                      Medical Situations

Medical Situations – We work with several approved veterinarians in the area who provide services to us at reduced rates. If your foster has a medical situation, we ask that you use a SPR approved vet, even if you have an established relationship with your own vet.  Fosters never pay for medical expenses IF TAKEN TO OUR VETS with APPROVAL but we do ask that you transport your foster animal to appointments.

In the case of an emergency, contact VIA CALL TEXT OR EMAIL,

Mersadies (our founder) at 707 236-5946 or

Victoria, (Co-founder) at 707-349-3026

or email .


  Why do we need foster homes?


  Sadly not all humans have love and care for animals, like we do. most the animals we rescue have either been left behind, found alone, or on a euthanize list due to human irresponsibility. Many come with some emotional scars,  needing to learn to love and trust again, some just need a safe place to decompress and be the happy dogs they are!

  Animals needing foster care include dogs, cats, and occasionally other animals(Rabbits/Guinea Pigs). Foster homes are needed for adults, babies, moms with newborns, Special Needs, recovering animals and orphaned newborns. Foster homes are mostly needed for animals who are ill and/or need medical care, or recovery from surgery. Some foster homes choose to specialize in fostering a specific kind of animal, while others choose to foster whatever animal is in need.  Dogs usually need help with basic training and sometimes need a refresher course in house-training. All foster animals will need plenty of love and reassurance that humans are not to be feared. The time an animal needs to spend in foster care ranges from one night to several months.


  What is expected of a foster family?

  Of course, the primary expectation is that you will provide proper care for the animal in a safe and loving environment. But you also play a critical role in learning as much as possible about an animal. Is the animal afraid of storms? Does he prefer being outside more than inside? Does she play well with other animals and children? Is he fearful or calm? Is he fearful of men? This is all helpful information and things that will help potential adopters or other Fosters should we need to move the dog.

You are also expected to participate in our adoption efforts. This includes allowing potential adopters to meet your foster. This may be at your home or with our rescue at events. You will also be expected to bring your foster to our adoption events which are held at various locations including PetSmart, Petco, and local breweries. View our Foster Agreement to understand the terms and conditions of being a foster.

·Can I choose which animal I want to foster?

  Our primary foster need is for dogs but there is also a need for kitten foster homes. Rescue animals come in all shapes, sizes, and ages and we want to work with you to make sure your foster is a good match for you. Once you have become an approved foster, we will help you to determine which animal would be the best fit for your home and your lifestyle. There is also a need for fosters who specialize in puppies or dogs with special needs which can be medical or emotional. If you have an interest in becoming a more specialized foster, please let us know.

·How long will the foster animal be with me?

  It’s difficult to predict how long an animal will stay with you. Sometimes it may be just an overnight visit, but it can also mean a commitment of several weeks or months until a local adoption or an out-of-state adoption/foster arrangement can be made. SPR has SOME short-term fostering opportunities and if you are worried about getting too attached and failing as a foster, you can request a transport animal. These are animals who are already committed to another foster or adopter, so keeping them is not an option.

·Am I responsible for any costs?

  The most important thing we need from you is a safe, loving place where the animal can stay until transport to rescue or local adoption is secured. We pay all vet costs associated with animals in foster care, including immunizations, medications, and any needed vet visits. We can also help you with food for your foster if needed.

·Can I use my own vet?

  We appreciate that you may have a vet who has cared for your personal pets, however, we have agreements with numerous veterinary hospitals who care for SPR rescues at greatly reduced costs, so all fosters must be seen at one of our veterinary partners for any medical treatments or spay/neuter procedures. Remember, you are not responsible for any veterinary costs for your foster animal. IF A FOSTER ANIMAL IS TAKEN TO AN OUTSIDE VET COST MAY NOT BE REFUNDED IN ALL CASES!

·How is my foster transported to appointments?

  If you are willing and able to take your animal to its vet appointments, that’s great. Appointments can be arranged to meet your schedule, and you’ll be able to interact directly with the veterinarian and receive any instructions first hand. It is our policy that animals must be transported in a carrier. If you don’t have a carrier, we are happy to loan you one while you are fostering.

If your work or family schedules do not make it convenient for you to transport your foster animal yourself, we will make every attempt to find a volunteer who can help.

·What if I fall in love and want to adopt my foster?

  It happens. Sometimes, a foster animal is such a perfect match that they become permanent members of the family. If that should happen and you decide you want to adopt your foster, and if the animal is available for adoption, you would pay the standard adoption fee. 

The exception to this would be if you have a short term foster who has been designated for transport. These are animals who have been promised to one of our Adopters locally or in another state and are not available for a local adoption. If you have any questions about whether your foster animal is considered a “transport” or short term animal, let us know immediately.

·Once my foster is adopted, will I know “the rest of the story”?

  It’s not unusual for adopters to send us follow up emails and updates with pictures and stories. These “Happy Tails” are a wonderful way for you to see the results of your efforts and the life you helped save.

To assist in this, we encourage our fosters to write a note that will accompany your animal to its new home. Include information that you learned about the animal while he was in your care, any tricks you may have taught him, techniques you used, etc. Also include a way for the new family to reach you whether by cell phone (Call or text, Email, Facebook, etc.

·Are you ready to become part of our amazing foster team?

  If you answered yes, just click here and complete our online Foster Application. Once your application has been reviewed we will contact you to set up a home visit where we can meet with you personally.