Foster Care Guidelines

/Foster Care Guidelines
Foster Care Guidelines2018-06-11T17:00:17+00:00

Foster Care of Homeless Pets

General Information

Foster parenting is a rewarding experience for the entire family. It teaches children to love and care for a pet with the intention to find it a loving home. Many lessons are learned from that. For foster parents the satisfaction is in saving an animal from potentially a terrible life and being the link that brings that pet to a new owner, thus bringing love and joy to both.

To become a foster parent we may ask that you set up an appointment so we can meet at your home. There we will sit and talk and also ask to see how and where the animal will be housed. We will want a tour of your home and meet any animals you already have. We will ask you to fill out a form. There will also be a two hour training program that will help you deal with the everyday issues of having a foster dog.

Upon approval foster parents can choose which pet(s) they would like to foster. We in turn will try and match the right pet for you.

We can provide food and a crate, if needed. All medical expenses are also paid by AEAR, as long as they are pre-approved.

Before You Foster

Prepare your home for your new pet by:

  • Having a crate, leash, bowls, harness/collar
  • Finding a spot in your home for the crate
  • Deciding where your dog will stay while you are away
  • Deciding where your dog will go potty outside


  • Make an appointment at the vet
  • Have dog shampoo on hand
  • It is extremely important that you make sure your pets are up-to-date on their annual shots and have had the kennel cough vaccine. Your pets should all be protected with Frontline plus and HeartGuard. We cannot be responsible if your pet gets sick due to a foster dog or cat being sick. That is why it’s imperative you protect your dog and/or cat with preventative medicines


  • Check to be sure there is medical paperwork
  • Find out what, if any shots the dogs needs. (Dogs need yearly distemper, parvo and rabies shots, microchip, plus frontline and heart guard. Ask the volunteer medical coordinator for these medications or to guide you where to go to get them.)
  • Introduce the foster dog to your dog with a person holding each dog on leash. Let the dogs sniff each other. When their body language is relaxed and there is no threatening language by either one (growling, snarling, barking) take them off leash either in a fenced in area or in your home. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG AND YOUR FOSTER ALONE TOGETHER.)
  • Put frontline flea and tick preventative on your foster dog or cat. During the winter this may not be necessary. Check the label to see about bathing the dog.


  • Obedience, agility and socialization classes may be available for your foster dog at no charge.
  • If not, then we do have a professional dog trainer who volunteers who can help solve behavior issues. Call Sandy Wisniewski at 847-816-0831 for any behavior problems.
  • Treat your foster dog as if they are not housebroken. Keep an eye on them at all times in the house. If necessary keep them leashed in the house or crated. Create a regular potty schedule. With puppies they can hold their potty for approximately one hour for each month they are alive. So a 4 month old puppy can hold it 4 hours DURING THE DAY. Overnight they can usually hold it longer. All foster dogs should be crated overnight initially. If you are having a problem with housebreaking contact us and we will walk you through it.
  • The more you understand about training dogs and correcting behavior problems the smoother things will go for you and your dog. We at AEAR use a positive approach to behavior modification. We NEVER hit our foster dogs.
  • Many of the dogs and cats we get are under socialized and have certain behavior problems. It is ESSENTIALLY that we socialize the dogs as much as possible.
  • Take them with you in the car, to sports games (as long as the dog is not overly shy or unpredictable), parks, friends house, etc. Always use extreme caution. If
  • you are not sure if you should do something DON’T do it.
  • Please, NEVER leave your dog on a tie out at all.
  • Please, do not leave your dog alone in a fenced yard longer than 15 minutes. Only do this after you are certain they will not jump the fence or dig underneath.
  • Please, NEVER let your foster dog off leash in an unfenced in area!!!
  • Never leave your foster dog in a car alone.
  • Do not use a retractable leash, a pinch collar or choke collar. Leashes and harnesses are available for you to use.


  • Please feed your foster pet only food appropriate and made for them. No human food for them. The only exceptions are: rabbits, that get fresh salads and fruit bits every day, birds who eat human food and cheese or peanut butter for dogs who need medication.
  • Check with the veterinarian or foster care leader how much to feed the pet every day.
  • Please do not give your foster dog rawhides, greenies, edible nylabones or squeaky toys


  • Foster parents will need to be available to bring the pet for adoption days at area special events. Most often the adoption days are on a Saturday or Sunday. We will give you as much notice as possible. On occasion, if you cannot attend, we can make arrangements to pick the animal up. All adoption days are listed on our web site and are consistently the same each month. We may have additional dates besides the regular adoption days.
Please view our “events” section o for a listing of all our adoption events.
  • During adoption days the foster family would be in charge of watching their foster pet and answering any questions anyone has about the pet. Please do not let potential adopters take your foster for a walk without you or leave your foster unattended with them.
  • We ask you to purchase an AEAR t-shirt for $10.00 and wear it on adoption days.


It could take weeks for your new foster cat to acclimate with the other animals in your house. Do NOT introduce them to your crew right away. That could spell disaster. Begin by having the new cat in his own room with a litter box, food, water, somewhere to sleep and things to do. Let him sniff under the door and let your pets do the same. After a few days you cam put up a baby gate blocking that room and when supervised let the animals greet each other through the gate. When not supervised keep the door closed.

This can be a slow and tedious process. After a week or so of that then keep the gate up and door open for short times when you are not supervising.

I realize that the cats can jump the gate but typically they respect the barrier and it gives them security knowing visually where their spaces are. Over maybe two weeks to a month the animals in the house should adjust and can live together. You may opt to put the foster cat in his room when you leave for the day and/or at bedtime. Do NOT feel bad about it! The alternative is a shelter or the streets or worse yet. None better options.


All vet visits must be PRE-APPROVED by the foster care leader. Any vet visits made without approval WILL NOT BE REIMBURSED.


The best way to avoid an expensive emergency vet visit is observe your foster pet carefully and catch any illnesses BEFORE they become serious. Look for signs like lethargy, loose stools, vomiting, sneezing and coughing. At first signs CONTACT US!!! Also, to avoid your foster pet getting injured never let them outside off leash in an unfenced in area and be very cautious when introducing them to animals outside the home.


We will always choose a new family VERY carefully. Rest assured that no animal in our care would be placed in a home we are not 100% sure about.
  • Other than adoption days, prospective adoptive families will first be screened by having them fill out an application before setting up a time for them to meet the pet.
  • Only applicants that are prescreened and approved will meet with the pet.
  • When a possible adopter looks good then we will contact you and have you set up a time for the new family to meet the foster pet likely at the animal hospital.
  • We want your opinion and impression of the people. You know your foster better than anyone else.


  • Please keep in regular contact with us. What that means is on a bi-weekly basis give us a call and let us know how the animal is doing.
  • Keep litter boxes clean by scooping them out daily.
  • Have a spot in your home you can use to separate your foster pet from other pets if it becomes necessary.
  • If you agree to foster an animal it is very important you commit to fostering them until they are adopted.
  • Please notify us at least two weeks in advance of any trip you are planning and tell us what you would like to do with the pet while you are away. All care of the foster pet outside of the contracted foster family must be approved in advance.
  • Make sure you have our phone number with you at all times as well as the number of a couple of other volunteers in case of an emergency.
  • If you have a child under 16 please do not let them walk the dog outside a fenced area. Only the foster parents should do that.
  • Please do not leave the care of your foster pet to someone outside the family, unless you get prior consent.
  • Foster parenting is a lot of work. The pet will need time to adjust to your home. They may be stressed on arrival and take sometimes 2-3 weeks to settle in. They may have accidents in your home initially until they are reminded that potty is outside (or in a box, in the case of a cat). They may chew things up and grab things off the counter as well. Your best assurance that that won’t happen is if you crate them or leave them in a “child-proof” room while you are away.
  • Every year we have an adoption reunion where our former foster pets and their families are invited for an afternoon of fun and food with their foster families. It
  • happens in the summer. You are invited and we’d love to have you!


It does happen on occasion that our foster family would like to adopt their foster dog. Typically that happens with their first foster dog because the though of “giving up the dog they have fallen in love with” is too upsetting to them. What I always try to stress to the families is that we must look at the big picture. If we adopt the dog we foster the dogs waiting behind them are left to die. I know that’s a harsh statement but that is the blunt reality. In the case of a foster family saying they would like to adopt but can and will continue to foster then the big picture doesn’t apply.

In any case should you decide to adopt your foster dog please let us know as soon as a decision is made not when an applicant is interested and you have to make a quick decision. It’s very hard on the people who fill out the application to go through the whole process only to be told the dog is not available.

The adoption of the dog (or other pet) must be approved by the adoption screener. There is a small possibility you could be turned down. The reason for not being approved could be that the foster dog is not getting along with your other dog, the dog is not good with small children and you plan on having children in the future or a number of other valid reasons. We don’t want hard feeling between the foster family and the organization that’s why we are being upfront about any potential possibilities.

The first step in adopting your foster pet is to fill out an application. Afterwards we would have you read and sign an agreement. The adoption donation would apply. We rely heavily on the adoption donations to continue functioning.


  • Lavish tons of love and attention on your foster pet. They have been through so much. Sometimes all they need is to know someone loves them.
  • Some cats and dogs that come to us have never learned to play with toys. Teach them and see their face light up!
Contact numbers: 847-816-0831 for emergencies you can try Sandy at 847-371-1102 or e-mail