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I'm a Foster! Now what?

Fostering is one of the most important roles at Salfid Rescue Inc! Without our fosters, we could not save all the dogs! Now that you have been approved as a foster, what's next???

Getting Ready

Bringing Your Foster Home

Living with your foster


Getting Ready

Getting Ready

** Due to the new dog laws in PA, all incoming dogs from outside of PA must be quarantined for 14 days after arrival. You will be provided with more information upon foster application approval.**


Fostering dogs is amazing! It's also unpredictable. You could get a foster who came from a loving home and was well-cared for, or you may get a foster who has lived in a kennel his entire life and has never seen grass. Our job as foster parents is to love these dogs until their furever family finds them, no matter what! 

One way to make the transition easier for your foster dog is to have everything you need before he comes to live with you. Listed below are some items you need to have on-hand for fostering.


  • food and water bowl

  • appropriately-sized crate

  • quality food

  • slip-leash or Martingale collar (harness for certain breeds)

  • Salfid Rescue ID tag

  • car restraint (if crate is too large)

  • old towels/blankets

  • disinfecting cleaner

  • dog shampoo

  • poop bags

  • puppy pee pads or shredded newspaper


  • washable dog bed

  • toys - Kongs and other stuffables are usually well-liked

  • treats

  • baby gates

  • outdoor pen

  • ID tag with your personal info

  • witch hazel - great for cleaning ears, tear-stains, and skin folds

Set up your foster dog's crate in a quiet area away from the main hub of your home - as much as some dog's don't like it, hard floors are best for cleanups should accidents happen. Make every effort to remove the smell of former inhabitants so your foster does not feel the need to mark their territory.

Treat setting up for your foster dog's arrival much like baby-proofing! Since you don't know what kind of behaviors your foster will exhibit, be sure to err on the side of caution. Secure cleaners and other chemicals where they can't be ingested. Store your child's favorite stuffies where your foster can't rip them to shreds. Keep your grandma's china above tail-wagging level. Be ready for anything!

Bringing Your Foster Home

Bringing your foster home

Encouraging your foster to trust you is number one priority when you pick him up. Speak calmly (even if the dog isn't being calm!), pet the dog, give treats. Chances are he has had a rough day and just needs someone to love him at the moment.


Your foster should ALWAYS be on a leash. We do not know these dogs well enough to know how they will react in every situation. We don't know if a foster dog will run after a squirrel or away from a garbage truck. Use a slip-leash to ensure the dog does not get out of the restraint. You can also use a regular leash with a Martingale collar. Some breeds, such as Chihuahuas, should wear a harness. If this is the case, be sure the harness is fitted properly and it is impossible for the dog to slip out. If you have a fully fenced yard, the dog does not need to be leashed but should be supervised (he could be a digger, a climber, a jumper, or just an escape artist!)

If you are bringing your foster home to an animal-free space, you win the introduction jackpot! Show your foster his area - his food and water, his crate, where to go to the bathroom.

If you own a dog, introductions can be tricky. Some dogs love other dogs and some... do not. Always introduce dogs in a NEUTRAL place - not in your home - and have all dogs leashed. Have another adult help you. Let the dogs sniff and say hello; if there are any signs of aggression, pull back and try again later. It may take several introductions for the dogs to tolerate each other. This is one reason it is important to have a separate space for the foster dog, even if that is just the corner of a bedroom.

Introduce the dog to each member of the family but not all at once. Be cautious with children, making sure they know to let the dog smell them first and to not get in his face. Make sure children understand the crate is the dog's space and if he is in it, to leave him alone. Don't let them crawl in the crate - even the sweetest, most gentle dog in the world needs a break and a place where they can be alone.

While you want your dog to warm up to you and to take it easy at first - it's generally a good idea to give him a bath. Most of the dogs that come to us are pretty filthy from their previous kennel and subsequent transfer, and they just plain STINK. Use a gentle dog shampoo, and while bathing be sure to check for fleas, ticks, skin irritations, growths, etc. that should be brought to a coordinator's attention. If a dog has LIVE fleas, be sure to ask for flea preventative immediately, as well as Capstar to kill them on the spot. This will keep your home flea-free. If you find any ticks, be sure to save them in a plastic bag to show the vet at their checkup (you can keep the baggie in the fridge until your appointment).

Some dogs will come in to your home and it will seem like they've lived there for years. Some dogs will take weeks to be comfortable. Be patient. These dogs had a whole life before we got them, and we have no idea how good or not-so-good that life was. Just love them for the time you have them!!!

Living with Your Foster

Living with your foster 

Your number one job is to love your foster dog!!!
While your foster is living with you, here are some other things you should do:

  • Potty-Training
    Some dogs are already housebroken when they come to us, others are not. Work on teaching your foster where to go to the bathroom.

  • Using a Crate
    Teaching your foster to sleep in a crate at night and when you are out of the house is great for adoption - people like when dogs are crate-trained. Some dogs don't like the crate however. If it's too much, crate-training isn't necessary - but it is useful. Make sure the crate is the dog's safe place, never use the crate as punishment.

  • Walking on a Leash
    Every dog needs to know how to walk on a leash. Try to walk your dog every day. ALWAYS use the slip-leash or Martingale! For tips on how to teach your dog to loose-leash walk:

  • Basic Commands
    Treats go a long way in teaching dogs basic commands! Some good basics to teach are Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Leave It, etc. If you need help, you can reach out to one of the coordinators who can connect you with our trainer.

  • Socialization
    Your foster should be socialized with both people and other dogs (and cats, if possible). Helping him learn how to behave around adults, kids, babies, dogs, cats, etc. is vital in getting him adopted. Everyone wants a dog that gets along with others!

  • Feeding
    Some dogs come to us malnourished, some dogs come to us very overweight. A proper feeding schedule with quality food is key to getting each dog to a healthy weight!

credit: Blue Buffalo
  • Exercise
    Keep your foster dog healthy by adequately exercising him! For some dogs, that is simply taking for a walk once or twice a day; for others, it involves running, playing fetch, hiking, etc. Be sure to consider your lifestyle when choosing a foster dog with Salfid Rescue - if you are extremely active and want to work out with your dog, an old pug probably isn't right for you. And if you are happy sitting on your porch with a cold drink, a young herding dog wouldn't work out well.

  • Veterinary Care
    All of our fosters receive a wellness check before being adopted out; as a foster you will likely be asked to take them to this appointment. They will receive any necessary vaccines, de-wormer, and other meds as deemed necessary. Often the dogs we get have parasites, fleas, ear mites, eye infections, etc. We make sure each dog is medically cleared before he is adopted out. All dogs must be altered before adoption as well - as Bob Barker says, "Spay and neuter your pets!" Your foster will also need flea/tick preventative as well as heartworm preventative - these are given monthly by the foster parent. Each dog is also microchipped upon arrival at Salfid Rescue.

  • Being a Dog
    Many of our dogs come from bad situations - neglect, sometimes abuse, strays, etc. A foster parent's most important job is to teach them how to just be a dog! How to live in a home, trust people, wag their tails. Give your foster dog the best life you can for the short amount of time you have him!!!



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