Foster Process Overview
Keep in mind, not all dogs are the same and there may be additional steps to the information below.
If you have other animals (dogs/cats) in your home, they must be up-to-date on vaccinations, heartworm testing (dogs), spayed or neutered and on monthly heartworm preventative (dogs). We will verify this with your veterinarian and deny your application if this is not completed.
Filling out an Application
All foster applicants must be 25 years old. Once you are finished reading everything on this page, you will need to finish a Foster Application which is located via a button further down the page, called "Apply to Foster". Please fill out the form entirely with as much information as possible. Our application processors will receive your application and review your responses. The next steps would include reaching out to your references and talking with you. The processor will reach out if you are approved.
Getting to Know Your Foster
Once approved, you will be added to our team Facebook page and introduced to your regional foster lead and some other fosters. We do require all new fosters to attend a training class, provided by Speak, before meeting their first foster. Once Speak has a dog or cat ready for you, per your approval, transportation for the dog or cat will be provided. We encourage each foster to allow all of our dogs and cats to meet any other fur siblings as slowly as needed to ensure personalities mesh well together. This time is also crucial to allow the dog or cat time to decompress because they may have come from a rough place.
Once everyone is getting along and you have learned the foster's personality, each foster parent is asked to write a bio. The bio would include all of the normal parts, age, sex, breed, and also some of their personality quirks or what makes them different from other dogs. We use these to help advertise the dog or cat across multiple platforms in hopes of finding their perfect famiy.
If your foster requires any type of medical attention, we ask our fosters to make sure all of their paperwork is kept with them so it can be handed over to their adoptive family. The dog or cat may need to be neutered/spayed or need vaccines or to be micro-chipped. The rescue helps the foster to make sure the dog attends all of the needed appointments.
People who are interested in your foster dog or cat will need to fill out an application on our website. The application will move to our application processing team who will reach out to the potential adopter's references and review the application to make sure any know required qualifications mentioned in the bio are met. If the application is approved, it will then be sent to the foster parent. The foster parent is asked to review the application and then reach out to the potential adopters. Over the phone, the foster can get a sense of the potential adoptive family's personality and lifestyle.
The next step would be to schedule some "meet and greet's" with the potential adopter and family. These meetings are to verify the dog or cat will fit into the family, including getting along with any other fur siblings. We recommend to have one meeting in a neutral place and one at the adoptive family's home. If you approve of the adopter, a time and place is scheduled for the adoption where papers are signed and a new family member is greeted!
Once your foster is adopted, get ready to start the process over again!
Speak uses social media, this website, and other sources to get the word out on all of our adoptable dogs and cats, however we encourage all of our followers, volunteers and fosters to help spread the word as well. Fosters often find good homes with the people they know!
Cost is minimum since Speak provides all food and medical care.
Foster parents make the final approval on the adoptive home. We believe the foster parents know our dogs the best and therefore should determine where the dog goes. Sometime this can be difficult if the foster parent does not feel the applicant would be a good match for their foster dog. We encourage the foster parents to be honest and we have a great application team that can help those applicants find a different dog that will be a better match for them.
We do focus on dogs and cats with special needs, however we try to help any dog or cat that we come across that needs our help. No experience with deaf or blind dogs are required to foster! Speak will provide training and resources to help fosters with dogs and cats who have special needs.
Speak takes in a variety of dogs and we ask our fosters to be open and flexible to the types of dogs they take in. However, each foster is able to say no if they do not feel comfortable or have the time needed for them.
There are times that a dog doesn't work in a foster home as expected so sometimes dogs are "rotated" between foster homes to try to make sure all of the dogs and fosters are comfortable.
We do work with different local vets, including MedVet, in case your foster dog becomes sick or injured. Often times, the dogs we take in do need medical attention and we will even schedule their appointments before we even have them.
Support, training and resources are all provided to help each foster with their foster dog. We have a dedicated Facebook group to make sure everyone is able to communicate with each other. There is also events, vaccine clinics, and other fun get-together's we have so people are able to meet in person.
Interested in joining our foster family, but still have some questions? Hopefully we can help answer some of those for you!
How do you let your foster dog go to a different family?
Falling in love with dogs is part of the fun of fostering, however we all try to keep in mind that if we don't let them go, we can't save more. For each dog that we foster, it opens another kennel at the shelter for a stray dog. Each time a dog gets adopted from a foster home, it opens up the home to foster another dog and so on. Fosters and letting goes actually saves more dogs than we can even count! One thing that helps is we tend to get plenty of updates because new parents love to show off their new family member!
What if the adoption doesn't work out?
Unfortunately, this can happen. When an adoption doesn't work out, we try to have the original foster take the dog back in to their home, if not we will find a similar home for them to go to while they wait on their forever home and family.
What if this is my first time fostering?
Speak has many seasoned fosters and many ways for communication. Through social media, training, your foster lead, and attending adoption events, we try to make sure all of our fosters have the tools and support they need. Similar to any dog or cat you would take in, patience is key. Considering where most of the dogs and cats come from, by giving them food and love you are already half way done!
Do I need to own my own dog?
You do not need to currently have a dog. In fact, we often get dogs in that need to be the only dog in the house.
Does every dog find a home?
This is always our goal and what we strive to do every day. Sometimes this process is fast, and others can take longer to find their forever home. We make our best effort to find every dog a home. Our secret weapons are the volunteers and fosters we have that help us get the word out to their friends and family through social media.
Where does the dog go when I am at work?
Similar to making sure the dogs finding the perfect forever home, we do try to put dogs and fosters together that have similar schedules and activity volume. If the foster needs to kennel the dog, Speak has many different sized kennels and crates that can be used. Some of fosters also try to give the dogs more room by sectioning off part of their home that the dog feels comfortable in while they are out.
Who watches the dog when I go on vacation?
Naturally, the sooner we know about the vacation, the sooner we can start planning. We try to have the dog move to another foster who is able to take them in. If there is no one available, we do have a boarding facility that we work with and trust.
What happens if I want to adopt my foster dog?
This does happen and it is called "foster failing". Even though failing can often lead to no more fosters because you have a "full" house, Speak is always happy to see a dog find their perfect home! However, when this happens it means there is one less home that we can use for the incoming dogs. This is also why we are constantly looking for good fosters!
If I know someone who wants to adopt my foster dog, do they still need to fill out an application?
Yes, we require all adopters to fill out an application for all of our dogs. It is very common and actually one of our favorite ways to find our adopters, through our fosters! We just need to do our diligence in making sure the dogs and cats find their perfect forever home.
What do I do if my foster runs away?
If your rescue does run away, communicating this to your foster lead as soon as possible is important. Speak does have a good support system within and around the central Ohio community. If needed, our social media team will creates posts to contact all of our followers and team to get people out looking, making signs and anything else that could help us get the dog safely back to the foster home.