Foster a Dog ~ Save a Life
We LOVE our foster families!
Foster families are some of the most important people in rescue. A Rotta Love Plus does not have a shelter; instead, we have the privilege of working with a network of uber-dedicated foster families that do a fabulous job of tending to our furry flock while we work to find them their perfect forever home. Fosters are invaluable to us since the number of dogs we can help is directly determined by the number of available foster homes that we have. Without our fosters’ love, support, and willingness to open their homes, the successfully adopted dogs of ARLP would not be out living the fabulous lives that they have today!
What do we look for in a foster home?
If you have an open heart and home, love, and patience, GREAT! – you already have nearly everything you need to foster an ARLP dog. ARLP provides everything else – food, supplies, training, and support. After filling out our foster application, you will be matched with an ARLP “mentor” that will be with you every step of the way. This testimony from one of our fosters demonstrates the invaluable partnership between fosters and their mentors:
“When we first started fostering, we didn’t have a lot of experience with pit bulls and we weren’t sure how it was going to go. It was so much fun, but also a challenge at times. Luckily our ARLP mentor, Sara, was with us every step of the way. No matter what was going on, she was there to support us and offer ideas for problem-solving. She always kept in touch to make sure things were going smoothly. We loved working with her, and having access to the expertise of the ARLP team made the fostering experience a great one. We learned so much!”
- You must live within 50 miles of the Twin Cities metro area.
- You are NOT required to live in a house – apartments or townhomes can be fine too.
- It’s okay if you have resident pets. Most of the dogs we take in are dog-friendly, and some even like/ tolerate cats. We will always work with you to ensure that the dog we place into your home is a good fit for your home environment.
- Your homeowners insurance must not have breed exclusions. Our insurance requires that all of our foster homes have breed-friendly homeowners or renters insurance. We can help you navigate this system – it’s actually pretty easy to change insurance if you find that you have a provider that doesn’t allow our breeds.
- It’s okay if you rent, but ARLP will have to verify that you have your landlord's approval.
- All resident pets in your home must be spayed or neutered and up to date on vaccinations. (Medical and/or active-show-dog exceptions are possible).
- You need to demonstrate a good understanding of the breeds, or a willingness to learn about them. If you have other pets, you need to follow the safety guidelines suggested by PBRC when having Pit Bulls around other animals.
- You should expect to be able to commit to a long-term foster situation (minimum commitment of four months is needed) – dogs can become stressed when bounced from foster home to foster home. Placement times can vary from a month, to six months, or more. The dogs in our program are kept as long as needed to find the best home for that dog. If you can't commit to fostering a dog for “as long as it takes,” this is probably not the right opportunity for you (but we sure hope you’ll consider helping in other ways!)
- You will need patience and understanding toward your foster dog. Many of the dogs coming into ARLP’s program have little knowledge about the ways of civilized life (can you blame them?). Lucky for them, they’ll have you as their benevolent guardian, ready and willing to take the time to help them reach their sparkling potential! And lucky for you, you’ll be a part of the ARLP volunteer community with unlimited support and advice to help you along the way.
- You'll need to fill out a Foster Application and sign a Foster Agreement.
Some other frequently asked questions about fostering for ARLP:
What does a Foster Parent Do?
Everything a dog owner does, but for a shorter time! Daily care, feeding, grooming, reinforcing obedience, and generally giving the dog love and affection. Additionally, we ask foster parents to enroll their fosters in Rott n' Pit Ed or help with the coordination of a volunteer training buddy for their foster. Foster parents are important for so many reasons. It is foster parents who work with ARLP trainers and case managers to groom their dog for adoption. It is foster parents who learn what a dog is like in a home situation, their likes and dislikes, and their little quirks - things that are impossible to tell in a shelter situation.
Do I have to have a fenced yard?
We have no formal policy about fenced yards. We do encourage people without fenced yards to think about how their foster dog will get adequate exercise and "take care of business".
At the same time, a fenced yard does not take the place of walks and adequate exercise.
Why do you need my homeowners insurance?
There are several major homeowners insurance carriers, including American Family, that WILL NOT allow you to have a pit bull or Rottweiler and will cancel your policy for owning one.
Fortunately it's relatively easy to change insurance companies, and the nation's largest insurer, State Farm, does NOT have breed restrictions. Additionly, there are many companies that will judge your dog on its behavior, not its breed. Click here if you would like a list of companies.
"My insurance will cancel me" is a common reason for people surrendering their pets to shelters.
How long will the Foster Dog stay with me?
This is our most common question, and is the most difficult to answer. It can be anywhere from two months to six months, sometimes longer - there is no fixed time. Some dogs go faster than others and there is really no way to of determining which dog will or which dog will not.
Do I need to be home all day to Foster?
Nope. Unless you are fostering a puppy, your foster should be just fine crated at home during your work day - just like any other dog. We do ask fosters who have resident pets to keep everyone secure, safe and separated when they are not home to supervise pet interactions. Never leave dogs together unattended for both of their sakes.
Do I have to pay for everything myself?
Nope. ARLP covers the costs of all medical care. There may be small incidental expenses such as dog bowls if you don't already have them, but your foster will come to your home with a collar and leash. We are also happy to provide food if you are not in a position to swing that cost. However, remember - all expenses associated with your foster dog are tax deductible! We would love to be able to pay for toys and other things for our dogs, but we are a non-profit organization, and simply cannot afford to reimburse you for these items. But when we get toys and other sundries donated to us, we will pass them straight onto you!
How do you handle potential adopters for my Foster?
Our foster homes are included in the adoption process. We invite them to assist us in making placement decisions. Your ARLP case manager will work with you to screen prospective adopter applications, make home visits, and attempt to find the perfect match for your foster. We meet potential families together and the placement is thoroughly discussed with all involved.
ARLP rescue dogs are selected and pulled from animal control facilities by trained ARLP volunteers and are the sole responsibility of ARLP. Our foster homes cannot make rescue and/or placement decisions without our knowledge.
What if I become attached to my Foster Dog?
That is completely natural - you are fostering because you love dogs, and you will probably become attached. It would be strange if you didn't! When you meet the family that will give the dog his permanent home, though, you will be more than happy to see him go. That's why you fostered in the first place! It is a wonderful thing to do to make sure that a dog in need will find a loving home!
What if I want to adopt my Foster Dog?
Of course! We understand how you can become attached, and we offer you the first choice at adopting your foster!
Won't it be hard to let them go?
It is completely natural to love your foster dog and it is never easy to let them go. All ARLP volunteers understand this. When a foster fully realizes the wonderful gift they were able to give to an animal in need as well as their new family - so excited to have them, it makes it all worthwhile! To have opened your heart and your home, is truly an amazing experience. Just think, when you deliver your foster to their new home you will be able to foster another dog in need.
Welcome to the Big Payoff!
Fostering pays BIG TIME in grateful kisses, long snuggles, and endless adventures. One look into the eyes of your foster dog and you will find the best reward in the world.
Thank you for considering fostering. It is one of the best things you can do for a dog in need.
Apply here to foster with ARLP! If you have any questions, send us an e-mail.