Foster care

Frequently Asked Questions

What is foster care?

Foster care is when you provide temporary care to a shelter pet in your own home until they are ready to return to the shelter for adoption.

Why do pets need foster care?

Most of the cats and dogs in our care came to us as a stray or were surrendered. These pets need foster care for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Cats and dogs who need extra TLC in a home environment while they recover from illness or surgery (typically one to six weeks of care required).
  • Abandoned or orphaned kittens who need to gain weight and confidence (typically one to three weeks of care required).
  • Cats and dogs who need a holiday outside the shelter for rest and relaxation (typically three days to four weeks of care required).
  • Dogs who need behavioural support in a home environment (typically one to three weeks of care required).
  • Cats or dogs who need gentle interactions to build their confidence (typically one to four weeks of care required).
  • Cats or dogs who we need to learn more about (such as how they manage in a home environment or cope when left alone) so we can find them the perfect forever home.

Am I suitable to foster a pet?

Most people are suitable to foster a pet, including people who work full-time, have pets at home, live in an apartment, have kids, are retired, or have a busy schedule. It is all about finding the right match for you.

It is important to consider whether you can provide a safe and secure home where the pet will be allowed to stay indoors, and whether you will be able to safely transport the pet to and from vet appointments at our North Melbourne location.

How do I become a foster carer?

After you submit a Foster Care Application, we will be in touch to get you set up with an online induction. You will be able to start fostering once you have completed this induction and we have been able to match you with a suitable pet.

Can I choose which pet to foster?

Our foster care team will match you with a pet who suits your lifestyle and experience, and make sure you feel comfortable and confident looking after them. You can indicate whether you would like to foster dogs or cats, but will not be able to choose the pet’s breed or age.

What will it cost me to foster a pet?

Nothing! We will provide you with everything you need to care for your foster pet, including food and bowls, litter and litter trays, bedding, toys and a carrier or lead. You can collect more food or litter anytime during our opening hours. Vet treatment will also be provided free of charge at Frank Samways Veterinary Clinic.

Can I foster a pet in your adoption program?

Pets in our adoption program do not usually require foster care, as they have already been cared for by staff and volunteers and are ready to find a permanent home. Foster pets, on the other hand, are not ready for adoption and need some extra help along their journey.

What happens with my foster pet when they return to The Lost Dogs’ Home?

This depends on the individual pet. Some pets will go up for adoption straight away, while others may need further vet work, such as desexing, or behaviour training to work on their confidence or anxiety. Once a pet is ready for adoption, their profile will appear on our website to help them find a loving forever home as soon as possible. Some pets may also be placed into the care of one of our rescue partners, who will help them find a caring new home.

Can I adopt my foster pet?

Yes! The goal of foster care is to provide temporary care, and there is no pressure to adopt your foster pet. But, many foster carers have fallen in love with their foster pet and decided to adopt.