Help us save a life today!

Fostering with AAD/SAL

Have you ever wanted to do something that really made a difference? Giving a homeless dog a temporary home changes the life of that dog forever. The stories of their lives can be heart wrenching, but you can help to give them a happy ending. In order for us to save lives and find homes, we need your help. We could not rescue dogs without our dedicated foster parents.

The only way that we can continue to save these wonderful dogs is with great volunteers who are willing to open up their hearts and their homes and give them a temporary place of safety, security, love, and training until they can be adopted out into their forever homes.

We do not expect our foster parents to be dog experts or dog trainers. We do want people who love and care about the welfare of dogs and all animals. Some of our foster parents have never owned a dog but they are comfortable with dogs and want to help a dog in need.We recommend you have some hands-on experience with dogs. A certain level of confidence is necessary when bringing a dog into your home.

Our adoptions take place mainly in the Toronto area. For this reason we find it easiest to work with foster homes in the GTA. We do make exceptions and are willing to speak with individuals who live an hour or so outside of Toronto. If you do live outside of the downtown area you must have a car and be willing to pick up the dog and supplies. For those of you who live further away please consider contacting a rescue in your area.

Fostering is an incredibly rewarding experience. We supply everything you may need, you just supply the warm home and the love!

What to Expect When Fostering

Step One

Please read through this page including the FAQs to learn more about our Fostering program. The first step is to fill out our Foster Application form, the link to which you will find below.

Step Two

The next step is a Phone Interview conducted by one of our volunteers. We do our best to follow up within a couple of days – please be patient. The purpose of the phone interview is to discuss answers on your application and ask any clarifying questions. We want to hear about your past dog experience, your lifestyle and what you are looking for in a foster dog. The average call takes about 30-60 minutes. Most of our volunteers are fosters or adopters themselves so the Phone Interview is also a great opportunity for you to chat about their experiences too!

Step Three

Once the Phone Interview has been completed and the Rescue team has no concerns about moving forward with the application you will be contacted with regards to setting up a time to do a Home visit. Home visits are currently being done remotely by video chat, Skype, Whatsapp, etc. but will hopefully return to in-person visits once the Covid crisis has passed. The purpose of the Home visit is to ensure that your home is ready to accept a dog. We will be looking for things like possible escape areas and potential safety hazards. If we see any areas of concern we will discuss these with you so that changes can be made prior to the dog’s arrival. We ask that all members of the household are present for the Home visit.

Step Four

If the above steps go well and you are approved to foster with us, you will be matched with a dog that needs a foster home. This may be done immediately or you may need to wait, it all depends on what dogs we have in our care.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How should I prepare for becoming a foster parent?

Think carefully about your daily routines – do you have the time and energy to commit to a dog?

‍Talk to your friends and family – do they support you?

‍Take a careful look around your house and yard. We recommend getting down on your hands and knees so you can see your home as the dog will. Do you see any obvious hazards?

Some things to consider:

  • Cupboard doors that do not close giving the dog access to food inside
  • Garbage containers the dog can get into
  • Cupboard doors that do not close giving the dog access to food inside
  • Toilet seat up
  • Electrical cords they may chew
  • Cleaning supplies left on floors
  • Shoes must be kept in closets away from the dog
  • Cat litter box and cat food must be out of reach of the dog
  • Cell phones, remote controls must be out of reach (young dogs will chew anything!)
  • Are there any openings in your fence?
  • Does your gate shut securely – is there a lock? (sometimes gas company workers or telephone repair people will enter your yard and leave the gate open unknown to you)

Fostering is a rewarding experience that can also be challenging at times. The first week or so will be a lot of work as the dog transitions to your home and routines. The poor dog will be nervous – imagine if you were suddenly dropped off at some stranger’s house! Patience and understanding are a must for foster parents. It is a guarantee that your foster dog will have some accidents in your house.

If pee or poop on your floor is a deal breaker then you should not consider being a foster parent. It is going to take time for the dog to adjust.

If barking is an issue you may also want to reconsider. A nervous dog will probably bark a bit at first until they get used their new surroundings.

Can I bring the dog to an off leash park?

Exercise is a major need of any dog but especially important for an anxious foster dog. Walking the dog on leash is a must. When a dog is nervous their first impulse is to bolt. You cannot trust your foster dog to come when you call them. It takes a lot of training and bonding before a dog can be trusted to come when called. Many of the off leash areas in the city are not fully fenced – most have an open gated area or areas that are not secure.

We only recommend letting your foster dog off leash in a safely fenced area. If this is a new area to you please take a few minutes and walk the perimeter to be sure there are no openings in the fence where the dog can escape.

It is also essential that the dog is wearing proper ID tags on their collar before heading out for any walks just in case the dog gets away somehow.

If your foster dog does not have an ID tag or it gets lost, please contact us right away.

You must be very careful when opening your front door. A good practice is to hang a leash from your front door (or any other door that opens to an unfenced area) – before any one opens the door clip the leash onto the dog’s collar. If the dog tries to bolt you will be in control.

Do I need to live in a house with a fenced backyard?

Many of our foster parents live in apartments. We will do our best to not give you a dog that we know is a barker. You must be committed to getting the dog outside on a regular basis. The dog may be nervous of the elevator – be aware of this and make the elevator ride a positive experience with praise and positive reinforcement. It will take time for the dog to get use to noises in the hallway. The dog may also be nervous of traffic noise depending on where the dog has come from. It is often good to get them to a quiet side street for their walk. Balconies are not to be used for a dog to do their business. Dogs can never be left on balconies.

If you do have a house with a fenced back yard be sure to check the fencing for any gaps or openings. Be sure the gate shuts securely and has a lock.

How long will I have the dog?

It is not easy to predict how long it will take us to find a good home for one of our dogs. Our adoption process is very thorough – we want a forever home for the dog so they never have to be moved again. As a very rough estimate you can count on at least a couple of months. Some adoptions can happen much sooner and some take much longer. If your foster dog has to be moved for whatever reason – we ask that you give us as much notice as possible. There are an endless number of dogs needing rescue – our foster homes are usually always full. If your foster dog needs to be moved you must give us time and be patient for us to find another safe spot for the dog. We do try to keep some emergency spots open but sometimes they are filled with emergencies!

Where do our foster dogs come from?

We give priority to dogs in shelters and puppy mills. Many shelters in Ontario contact us when they have a dog that requires rescue.

Puppy mills dogs are so deserving of rescue. These dear souls are very special and we love to give them a chance at a real life.

We also get calls from private owners who are no longer able to keep their dog.

At times we hear from Vet Clinics that have had a dog surrendered to them.

We try to learn as much as possible about the dog so we can share that info with the foster parent. There are times however when a dog is in urgent need and we need to act fast – in such instances we will share as much as we know.

Will I be reimbursed for my expenses?

The organization will pay for food and vet care for your foster dog. Your foster dog will come to you with all the basic supplies required. If there is something you need for the dog (e.g. crate, halter, dog bed, dog coat, etc.) we ask that you contact us. You must get approval before purchasing anything for your foster dog – if you do not have preapproval we may not cover the cost. Many dog care items are donated to us and we will get you what you need.

You must prepare your home for a foster dog. That means putting away any items that might get damaged or soiled. We are not able to reimburse you for any damages caused by the foster dog.

If the dog is sick and needs to see a vet you must contact us first. We may not cover the cost if you bring your foster dog to the vet without our approval.

Will I get to meet the family who adopts the dog?

We have a very thorough adoption process. Please see the online application on our website to read about the steps we take. The last part of the adoption process is a meeting with the potential adopters and the dog. The foster parents are usually included in that meeting because you will know the dog the best. We encourage you to share everything you have learned about the dog.

Will I have a say in the type of dog I want to foster?

We will do our best to only contact you when we have a dog that fits your preferences. If you are allergic and can only foster non-shedding dogs – we won’t call you to take a dog that sheds. If you live in an apartment we would not give you a dog that we know is a barker. If you have other dogs we won’t ask you to foster a dog that we know does not like other dogs – the same goes for cats. That being said – we do not always have a lot of info on the dog. The dog will be nervous and out of sorts when first coming to your home. Please give the dog time to settle in and feel safe – the first couple of days are not a good indicator to the character of the dog. Everything takes time!

Will I have support from Adopt-A-Dog/Save-A-Life?

We feel an open line of communication is essential. We will do our best to return your phone calls and/or emails in the same day. If there is an emergency we expect you to contact us immediately. We will do our very best to provide support to you while you are fostering. We are a team and work together in the best interest of our dogs.

It is likely you will have more questions about fostering. This is just a brief overview of how we work. We will always be available to answer any other questions or concerns you may have.