Foster FAQ



Who do I contact if I have any questions?

If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. However, please remember that ABRA works solely with volunteers, and we all have our own full time jobs and families, just as you do. We will always do our best to get back to you within 24 hours. Please email us at

What is the dog’s story? 

Most of our dogs come from regional shelters. Most of our dogs come in with minimal information provided by shelters as well as cat and dog testing at these facilities. Some pets are new coming into rescue and need a foster home to keep them until adopted. We will always provide all details we have on a foster, but please remember we may not simply have the answers to your questions.

Will you provide food, litter, supplies, medications, etc if I foster?

We provide as many supplies as possible and feed our dogs premium foods. If we have extra crates available, we will provide one to you.

Is he or she housetrained?

Most pets are at least crate trained; however, house training is probably one of the biggest efforts with younger animals. This is when a crate is most useful. We cannot predict if a dog is housetrained and will rely on the foster home to evaluate this. Most shelters state the dog is house trained and this is not always the case. Please be prepared to clean up accidents should they happen. Sometimes a dog in a new environment may not know your routine for getting to go outside, and you don’t know their signals yet.

 Does the dog/cat have any medical concerns or need medication?

Any medical concerns will be addressed by our veterinarians. If medication is needed, ABRA pays for approved bills. Almost all of our animals are fixed before being adopted, unless they are too young to be altered. Most of our animals are fixed within two weeks of intake, as long as they are healthy enough for surgery. We heartworm test all dogs over 6 months.

Do you know how they are with kids, cats, dogs and/or strangers?

With new fosters, we like to pass on a dog from a current foster home that has already been tested with as many circumstances as possible. Some fosters have cats and kids, some have neither. You can always  bring your family to meet a potential dog and see how they react to you before committing to fostering. This is a volunteer experience like no other; this animal will stay with you and your family for weeks or even several months. We want every foster situation to be a success and for our foster families to find it a rewarding and meaningful experience.

How long will I be expected to foster this pet?

We do expect fosters to keep their dogs for the duration of their time within the organization. There is no way to predict how fast a dog will be adopted. It can be anywhere from a few days, a few weeks to a few months. If you are no longer able to care for a particular dog, please keep in mind it can take up to two weeks to find a new foster home. You will be expected, per your fostering contract, to care for the animal until a new foster home is found or he/she can be moved into boarding.

Who pays for medical bills if they arise?

Does that include treatments for my pets if they catch something from my foster pet? As long as the vet bill is approved by the director or administrator, ABRA will pay for the bill. If you take your foster to an unapproved vet or to the vet without notice, you will be responsible for the expenses. If one of your own pets catches the illness from a foster, we will discuss coverage, on a case by case basis depending on the situation.

Can I adopt my foster if I choose?

If there are no other applications on your foster, yes, you may adopt your foster dog. If there are applications pending, however, we ask that you allow potential adopters to meet the dog or puppy and see if it’s a good fit. The first foster is always the most difficult to see leave, however, please remember the countless animals in shelters awaiting a second chance.

As a foster parent, what am I responsible for?

The foster home will be responsible for caring for the basic needs of the foster dog/cat: feeding, love, playtime, exercise and ensuring monthly heartworm/flea meds are given. ABRA covers all supplies for toys, medical (included monthly flea and HW) and food. A foster provider also helps with training. As long as advanced communication is provided, we can almost always get you food and meds before you run out. If we have a spare cage available, one will be provided. The foster home will help in determining the right adoptive family. While all applications for adoption must be approved by one of the Co-Directors, every foster family has a say! ABRA asks that you help contact prospective families and give information pertaining to your foster pet. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, we certainly will help you out. The foster home will also help to coordinate separate meet and greets with prospective families if an adoption event is not able to be used for this. We do not require meet and greets to be done in the foster’s home; they can be done in a central location or in the prospective adopters home. All foster parents are expected to ensure their foster pet attends one adoption event a month (spring, summer, fall only). Adoption events are the best way to get your foster seen, evaluated and socialized. We ask that you yourself attend one as well, so you can get to know the others in the group and interact with the public with your foster dog/cat.

What if my new foster dog/cat is not getting along with the other animals in my house?

Unfortunately most dogs/cats don’t get along with other dogs/cats right away. Once a new dog/cat enters the formal territory of your already established pets, the dynamic will change. Please allow time for a proper introduction before jumping to any conclusions, but please also always keep us in the loop on how the intro is going. Some foster animals will not adjust and may need to be moved to a new foster home. A foster cat will take longer to acclimate to a new surrounding, especially if there are other cats in the household. Age and health of the new foster is also a factor. As several new foster dogs come in not feeling their best, as they heal they become more playful, etc and a new dynamic is born. By signing up as a foster, you understand that if a foster dog/cat is not adjusting well and needs to move from your household, it may take time to find a new household and you’ll be expected to keep the foster, in separation, if needed until we can find a new house. ABRA does not condone leaving dogs in boarding, as this is costly and no place for a dog or cat to live. We will consider boarding under special circumstances, but this is not always the option.

My foster dog/cat is not feeling well, what should I do?

You know your foster best, so if you notice something odd, please contact us and we’ll help evaluate if the foster needs to be seen by one of our vets in the area. Permission must be granted ahead of time in order to ensure we have the proper funds available. Written communication is preferred (text or email).

My foster dog/cat came in sick – will my dogs get sick?

Many of the animals we pull are ill, due to the conditions they were in at the shelter, or due to not ever having vaccines. It is important to quarantine your new foster dog until we have received all tests from the vet, which are not always available same day. To quarantine, it’s okay to keep them in the crate and let them outside by themselves only. Limit playtime and let them get used to the environment slowly. Heartworm: This is NOT contagious and is caused by a mosquito. Hence, HW prevention each month should be given. If your foster tests positive for HW, ABRA will schedule treatment. Time of treatment depends on funds and severity of HW test. A foster may be adopted out while being HW positive, on a case by case basis. Fleas: This is contagious. If your pets are up to date on their monthly prevention, they shouldn’t get it. All initial vet visits check for fleas and provide medication that instantly kills the fleas. We have had ZERO cases of foster dogs with fleas transferring fleas to other animals, humans or households. A foster with fleas generally has had them for some time and presents with a dirty coat, and flea dirt (poop). Kennel Cough/Upper Respiratory: This is contagious to your pets only if they are not up to date on their vaccines. We have had ZERO cases of this transferring to another dog while a foster was sick. This is the #1 common cause for pulling an animal from a shelter, as they are contagious to all the other dogs in the shelter that have not had their vaccines. We require all fosters with pets to have their pets current on their vaccines prior to fostering. This is treated with a 10-day pill antibiotic and usually clears up within 10-14 days. Some cases are severe and require more attention. For cats, a liquid is usually given. Tapeworms: This is NOT contagious. Tapeworms are caused by ingesting fleas, eating dead rodents, etc. They are long, flat worms that can be seen in your dogs feces. These worms in the feces are body segments and not the full worm. They will die in the stool. They look similar to rice. They do not show up in a fecal from a vet. If you notice this in your foster’s stool, contact us and we will provide you with the pills necessary to eradicate the living worm. Usually one dose of 1-3 pills kills the worms. Whipworms/Roundworms: These can be contagious, if your pets eat or play in the foster’s stool. It is usually not noticed, but can be present if the dog has diarrhea or bloody stool. If your dog is having diarrhea, please contact us and we will provide the necessary medicine. The fecal test done at the vet will show presence of this. If regular fecal removal is not practiced in your home, the eggs for these worms can stay in the ground soil for up to 5 years. Hence, it’s important to regularly clean up after your pet. Other: There are many other reasons a dog or cat may be sick i.e. mange (sarcoptic or demodex), open wounds, eye issues, etc. Our vets will evaluate these on a case by case basis and provide care instructions for nursing your new foster back to health.