The basics of fostering a Rocket Dog are pretty simple. Essentially you provide a loving home, and we provide the rest. For a more detailed explanation of how everything works take a look below.
- You must be 21 years or older
- You must have a stable residence, where everyone living there is in agreement to have a dog. This includes written landlord approval.
- You must agree to bring the dog to an adoption event in SF, Belmont, Alameda, etc. at least two times a month. Please check our events page for a listing of upcoming events.
- You must join our Facebook Foster Home Group page.
- You must allow Rocket Dog Rescue Foster Program Managers pair you with a dog in need. They will take into consideration the dog you request.
- You must be able to transport your foster dog to scheduled medical appointments, adoption events, or training classes.
Here’s what’s expected of our foster parents:
- They provide nutritious food, plentiful water, adequate shelter, and control of external parasites (fleas and ticks). They provide the dog with exercise, basic obedience training and housetraining. Proper training greatly increases a dog’s chance of being adopted and training support is available from an RDR trainer when needed.
- They are responsible for the safety of each foster dog that comes into their care, and for the safety of other dogs and people the dog comes into contact with. They never let their foster dogs be a nuisance to other people or other animals.
- They always keep a collar with the RDR ID tag on the dog at all times. This is its link back to us. If the tag is lost they immediately contact us for a new one. They keep foster dogs on their leash when they’re outside of a house or securely fenced yard. Our dogs are never allowed to run or play off-leash in an open public area.
- They gain approval from an RDR representative before taking a foster dog to a dog play area. (Bully breeds are never allowed off leash and shouldn’t go to a dog park even if they are on leash.)
- They keep any fostered dog safely confined in a fenced yard, kennel run, or inside a house or garage when the dog is not with them or a family member. Crate training is highly encouraged.
- At no time are foster dogs placed outside on a tie-out (in a yard, in front of a café, store etc.)
- Our fosters immediately notify us in the event of a missing, injured, or sick dog.
How We Support Our Fosters:
We know it is imperative that you feel our support through the fostering process. We look forward to seeing you at our weekly adoption events around the Bay Area to make sure you are getting what you need. You will work directly with a foster dog “champion” who is your one-on-one contact to answer any and all questions and to help you every step along the way. We want to make sure our dogs and our fosters are happy, healthy, and well taken care of. We also love to get updates of our foster pups enjoying their new life with a foster home!
Here’s what Rocket Dog covers:
- RDR provides a collar, ID tag, leash and pays for all required medical procedures.
- Whenever we can, we offer donated items for the the dogs, like food, treats, toys, beds, etc. Since we’re a non-profit, we also appreciate tax-deductible donations toward caring for foster dogs. If a foster parent needs something for their dog, they should contact us to let us know.
- We can lend crates to foster homes, but of course they must be returned to RDR when a foster dog is adopted.
- All basic medical expenses for each foster dog are covered by Rocket Dog Rescue. (You’d just need approval from us for some of them, and the care needs to be from one of our designated veterinarians. If you choose to go to a vet of your choosing, you may be responsible for some or all of the vet bill.
- Before adoption, all RDR foster dogs need to be spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, and vaccinated. If a foster parent’s dog is unfixed they need to contact the RDR medical liaison to schedule an appointment with with one of our vets. If you can’t get the dog there on your own we can probably help, you’ll just need to work with us to make it happen.
- If you choose to go to a vet of your choosing, you may be responsible for some or all of the vet bill.
Promoting the dogs:
- Fosters need to bring the dog to at least two of our adoption events each month. You can sign up for the RDR Volunteer Group on Facebook or check the events section on the Rocket Dog website to be notified of events.
- Our fosters assist in getting a photo and bio of each of their foster dogs onto our website. (You can e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org). There’s a dog photography tutorial on our website, but if you can’t get good photos you just need to ask your RDR representative for help.
- Our fosters also advertise their foster dogs on Craigslist, in local shops, on other websites, with friends, at the dog park, and anywhere else dogs can be advertised for adoption.
- We know it’s fun, but Rocket Dogs are named by our senior volunteers to avoid duplicates and confusion between animals.
- We welcome our foster parents input on potential adopters, but they all still have to be screened, interviewed and approved by an authorized RDR representative. Foster input is a part of the process, but the final decision on where to place a dog is made by us.
- Inquiries about adopting the foster dog should be directed to us. We’ll arrange an official meet and greet where one of our representatives can be present for the visit. Also, we ask that fostered dogs be made available to meet prospective adopters that we may locate.
- Fosters sometimes decide to adopt their foster dog. However, they must go through the same adoption process as anyone else, including paying the requested donation which we use to help cover the costs of helping and saving dogs.
- If you need to return your foster dog to us for any reason, we’ll need enough warning to find it a new home. This may take a week or more depending on the dog and the number of other dogs in foster care.
- We retain the right to remove a foster dog from foster care at any time.
- Of course our fosters can’t give their dogs to anyone until an adoption has been approved and an Adoption Agreement form is signed off by an RDR representative.
Foster Dogs and Children:
- Since we don’t know the total history of the dogs we rescue, our dogs should never, under any circumstances be left unattended with children, and parents should be cautious and observant when children are eating with the dog in the room.
- If there’s a child under 5 in the house the dog needs to be in its crate or a separate room while it’s eating or sleeping to limit the risk of accidents
- We ask that children under the age of 13 don’t walk our dogs unless an adult is with them.
- Also, keep in mind that a child in the house with a dog is at risk of being accidentally knocked over, scratched or bitten etc.
- If your foster dog gives you any concerns or you feel uncomfortable with the situation between the dog and a child let us know. We’ll either take the dog out of your home immediately or have a trainer come and meet with you, depending on how severe the situation is and what you’d like us to do.
Foster Dogs and Other Animals:
- Foster dogs and cats should be introduced to each other slowly and cautiously over a period of a few weeks while the dog is kept on a leash.
- Even if your foster dog has been housed with other animals before no one can guarantee its behavior with your other pets will be the same.
- Just as with children, don’t leave your foster dog in the same room as other animals unattended.
- Do not feed your foster dog in the same room as other pets, and don’t leave toys and treats laying around the house.
- If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can put you in touch with a senior volunteer or behaviorist to assist you with introducing your animals.
Foster Pick-Up Locations
Your foster dog will be available for a scheduled pick-up at any of our adoption events, at our Rocket Dog Sanctuary in Oakland or at a pre-arranged meeting point. In some special cases, we may require a home check before the foster dog can come home with you.
Levels of Fostering
- True-Blue Foster: You are available to be a temporary foster home for a ready-to-adopt dog. You will give him/her a warm, safe, and loving environment and commit to take him/her to any scheduled medical or training appointments and two adoption events a month. We appreciate a minimum one month commitment. Only have a week or weekend to give? We could still use your help.
- Hard-Core Foster: You are able to help sick/injured dogs or puppies that require more time and attention than our True-Blue Fosters.
- Ultimate Foster: You are able to support dogs that may require special skills and time commitments from their foster parents. This includes helping pregnant moms give birth and wean their litters; helping dogs with behavior modification and enrichment; and giving dogs the comfort they deserve at the end-of-life by providing hospice care.