Fostering FAQs

If you have read our fostering page and still have questions, read on!

Read our fostering page

What if I can’t keep the dog any longer and s/he has to go back to the refuge?
All the dogs we foster are registered in our name, and therefore will not be returned to a refuge while they are under our care. We work closely with our fosterers, knowing your personal deadline dates and ensuring that we have found alternative accommodation for your charge – even if it means paying for boarding kennels.

How much does it cost to foster a dog?
Prior to fostering a dog we do a home check visit and talk with you about your requirements, both as to the type of dog you could take, but also what you would need in order to be able to foster a dog. Some fosterers are happy to supply food and other basic necessities; others have need of help, especially if a dog is on a special diet. We come to an arrangement with you. Whatever your circumstances however, Les Amis always pays for the veterinary fees incurred.

How much do you pay fosterers for looking after dogs?
We are a charitable organisation and use foster homes that are happy to take on a dog voluntarily without any need for payment for the service.

Can I be a dog fosterer if I live in an apartment?
We are always looking for a match between the facilities that the fosterer can offer and the needs of a dog. There are many dogs that successfully live in apartments. There has to be a balance between the lack of garden and the opportunities for exercising that the dog can be given – plus of course, the exercise needs of the dog itself.

What am I expected to do as a fosterer?
Put simply, you are expected to improve the dog’s chances of being adopted. That is it in a nutshell. In real terms it means bringing a dog back to health if it is sick; getting it to the vet for vaccinations, chipping (if needed), and ensuring a trouble-free sterilisation. It means ensuring that the dog can live in a home – that it is clean, it knows some basic commands, it eats comfortably out of a bowl, it walks reasonably well on a lead, and – perhaps surprising this one – it knows how to play!! Many dumped dogs have never had the opportunity to play, amazing as that might seem.

What happens when I’m on holiday?
With prior notice we make alternative arrangements that work both for you and for the dog. It is one of the reasons we are seeking to build a register of people who are prepared to be holiday-time fosterers with fixed dates for such occasions. Even then we would be matching the dog with the holiday-time fosterer to make sure as far as we can that the fosterer is happy with their charge and above all the dog is happy with them.

For how long will the fostering be?
That is difficult to answer as it depends on so many factors – the dog’s needs, the fosterer’s availability, the fosterer’s skills and expertise, the length of time to find a suitable adopter. None of these has any particular timescale attached to them. Therefore the very best we can do is to work closely with our fosterers. We do this by having a named link person who you can contact at any time.

What will happen if you can’t find an adopter for the dog?
We have not yet failed to find an adopter for a dog. Some take longer than others, that is true, but we believe there is always a family out there for any dog at all. In addition, the job of the fosterer is to transform a previously unadoptable dog (because it was sick, been mistreated, untrained, etc) into an adoptable dog – that is, one we can talk about with confidence in what it can do, its character, and perhaps most important of all, where we can better ensure a good match between the dog and his/her forever family.

What happens if it doesn’t work out for us having this particular dog?
Despite taking every precaution, this does occasionally happen. You are never left high and dry. If it is not working, then we have to do one of two things: we can either look to see what is going wrong and provide help and guidance to make the situation better because sometimes the apparent problems are totally solvable. Or, if your circumstances have changed, for instance, or the dog simply does not fit despite our best efforts, then we work to find an alternative. It may not be immediately that we can find a solution, but we always find a solution.

Can I foster for you even if I live in another Department?
Yes, that is entirely possible. Although we are based in 65 and 32, we use fosterers who live in many different departments – some as far as 8 hours by road away.

Which vets do I have to use and who pays?
We will work with you to make sure we use the best vet that is nearest to you and that will provide association rates for their care. Some vets are more generous than others in the types of discounts that they are prepared to offer an association. Whatever the arrangement, however, it is strictly required that all bills are sent directly to us for payment, and must not be covered by the fosterer.

I worry that I will be left “holding the dog” so to speak. How can I be sure that I won’t?
First and foremost we aim to have a relationship with our fosterers. They are not just a number to us, but a vital member of our Les Amis community. We endeavour to maintain contact throughout the foster period and it is for this reason that you are allocated a Les Amis link person who will be the link between you, the fosterer, and the people in Les Amis who are responsible for drawing up an adoption profile and promoting the dog for adoption when it is agreed among all of us that the dog is ready. In addition, for those fosterers who use social media, we encourage you to post updates from time to time. People often silently follow a dog’s progress with a view to adoption.

What happens if I find I can’t give the dog up when the time comes?
Then you are at a choice point – which will not be a sudden decision! For every fosterer there are a few tears at every parting of a dog to his/her forever home. They are a mixture of tears of sadness and of joy. If you were not touched by this moment of separation, then perhaps fostering is not for you. On the other hand, we have a growing band of “failed fosterers” – people who for whatever reason have decided that the dog in their care found its way to them and it has clearly shown that it is here to stay. The bond has grown as big as the bond with either current or past dogs they have owned.

What is fostering with a view to adoption?
We offer this service to people who think they want to adopt a dog either from one of the refuges we support, or sometimes a dog in foster. Such people either live a long way away, or have a number of dogs and they want to see if the new one will be accepted into the pack, etc. It simply means that we take on the dog, you act as its fosterer until such time as you want to adopt, or, if you decide you don’t, then we treat it as any other fostered dog.

What is lifetime fostering?
This is a Les Amis service that we offer for old dogs and cats who have found themselves abandoned in the refuge, or who come to us for re-homing because they have lost their owner. Lifetime fostering gives them a permanent home through to end of life. The dog is yours in everything but in name – and you have the advantage of having vets’ bills covered by us right the way through, no matter how long the dog continues to enjoy its life.

Why do you think fostering is so important?
We know it makes a difference. Some dogs are adoptable direct from a refuge – but many are not. They may have had a traumatic life in many cases, or they have had a good life, and as their owner has died, they are then dumped.

Sometimes we are called to help a dog that has already undergone a lot of trauma – perhaps left alone, been mistreated, abandoned callously in a wood – that if a refuge can be avoided, it is to their benefit. There is a short time limit for this to happen and an available foster home is essential.

There are other dogs that because of their (often untrue) reputation – big and black dogs, chasse and other gundogs, German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherds, and mixtures of these breeds, unknown mixtures, the shy ones, the fearful ones, the over-excitable ones – not to mention the chronically sick, the neglected ones – that will always be overlooked in the refuges. Puppies tend to be snapped up at the refuge . . . and then sometimes returned some months later when they have grown and are no longer cuddly. In fact they are downright out of control! These are the ones we take into foster and, through our fabulous fostering service, make the difference to that one life.