Foster Care

Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania Foster Care Program

To download a Foster Carer Application Form including Terms and Conditions (outlining our requirements and what you can expect from us) click on our  Foster Care Application_Jan 2017

What is a foster home?

Foster carers provide temporary homes for our dogs prior to adoption. Providing foster care is a wonderful and personal way to contribute to saving homeless dogs in need of special care.

Why do dogs need foster care?

There are several possible reasons:

  • Some dogs don’t do well in a kennel environment because they are frightened or need a little extra care.
  • Newborn puppies needing to be nursed or bottle-fed usually require foster care.
  • Some dogs need time to recover from an illness or injury before adoption.
  • If our kennels are full, foster care is essential to give all dogs the best possible chance for adoption.

Whatever the reason, these animals need some extra love and care before they can be adopted. Providing foster care for a few days, weeks, or months can be a lifesaving gift.

Would I be a good foster carer?

If you want to do something to help our dogs, fostering can be a flexible, fun and rewarding volunteer role. Here’s why:

  • Minimal transport and travel is required and you can look after the dog in your own home, as part of your daily routine.
  • It’s a great way to enjoy a dog’s company if you are not in a position to make that lifetime commitment right now.

Taking a dog into your home, loving them, and then letting them go requires a special kind of person. Your role as a foster carer is to prepare the animal for adoption into a loving home.

How much time will it take?

Individual needs of the dog will determine how much time is involved. Newborn orphaned puppies for instance, must be fed every few hours. A frightened dog who needs socialization or training will also require some extra time. You can discuss your availability with us to determine what kinds of dogs you’ll be best suited to foster.

What skills are needed?

It’s best to have some knowledge about dog behaviour and health. We will however, provide you with equipment, support and guidance to help make the experience a success. Some of our dogs most in need of foster care are those who require a little extra help or some training. Timid dogs often need time to learn to trust and the quiet of a home environment. Many dogs will need refresher courses on house training and house manners so if you familiarise yourself with some basic training techniques, you can be a big help in preparing your foster dog for a new home. Just by getting to know the dog in your care, you’ll help us learn more about his or her personality prior to adoption.

What else is required?

You will need to complete a foster care application (see link at top of page) and meet with our Foster Care Co-ordinator face to face to help us determine which dogs might be suitable for you and your home. A fenced yard is also a requirement and we strongly prefer the dog is allowed in the house, as part of your family, as this is where the best socialisation occurs. The Agreement between the Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania and the foster carer outlines our requirements and also what you can expect from us. Please see our terms and conditions attached to the Foster Carer Application for more information.

What about food and medical care?

We provide all medications and use the Dogs’ Home Veterinarians for all follow-up care. We do ask for assistance in transporting your foster dog to vet consultations where required if possible. We also provide food, treats and toys but are always grateful if foster families offer to assist with this.

What about my own pets?

You will want to consider how the animals in your household will adjust to having a foster dog around. Some animals do very well with a temporary friend and can help greatly in the socialisation process. Other pets have a harder time with new animals being added to or leaving the family. You are the best judge of your pet’s personality. We require you to bring your own dog (if you have one) to the Dogs’ Home to meet a potential foster dog to help ensure they will be compatible. Of course, things can change at home and we’ll be on the phone to help you should it not be working out. We also have a closed Facebook group for our foster carers to support and encourage each other as well as as a medium to ask our team members questions about dog behaviour and any health issues.

For the safety of your pets and the foster dog, it’s important to keep your pets up to date with vaccinations. In rare cases, your foster dog may need to be isolated from your own pets temporarily. Talk with us to determine what might work best for your situation.

Will I have to find a home for the dog myself?

All dogs in foster care remain the property of the Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania and we take full responsibility for finding your foster dog a new home. You can help however, by telling friends, family and co-workers about your new foster dog and, if appropriate taking the dog to locations to increase their exposure such as designated dog beaches and parks. While we welcome input from foster carers on suitable adoption homes the final decision does rest with the Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania staff.

What about when it’s time to say good-bye?

Giving up a dog you’ve fostered, even to a wonderful new home, can be difficult emotionally. It helps to remember that you have contributed to that dog enjoying a new start at life and that many more dogs are in need of your loving care. A lot of foster families get photos and updates of their old charges enjoying their new homes. Knowing you were part of saving a life and helping the dog find a loving home is tremendously rewarding. Sometimes a foster home turns into a permanent home. That’s why we are always on the lookout for new foster homes!

But is it fair to the dogs?

Some people are reluctant to foster because they are concerned it is unfair to take in a dog, establish a bond, and then allow him or her to be adopted out into another home. Isn’t that a second abandonment? Not at all! Being in a foster home can be a lifesaving bridge for a stray or frightened dog. It provides 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 dog for a new life in a permanent home. Many dogs need this preparation time before finding their own family.

How do I give fostering a try?

When you are ready, contact our Foster Care Co-ordinator on, call  0488 776 072 or download a foster care application form from the top of this page, complete and send to PO Box 7 Lindisfarne, TASMANIA 7015.

Foster carers make an enormous difference in the number of dogs able to be adopted each year. It is important, valuable work and, best of all, it saves lives.

Modified from materials used by the Best Friends Society (

Nestle Purina Petcare are proud sponsors of the Animal Welfare League Australia, providing food and pet care support for dogs and cats in their care.

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