As a foster, you are a valued asset to Stray Paws Rescue. We could not continue to save homeless animals without your assistance! This commitment requires dedication by you and everyone in the household to provide a loving home for pets that are in need of special attention or need to be in a home environment as opposed to the shelter environment.

Animals entering foster care have often been through much stress and may have been traumatized before they came to you. You will be teaching them that people are good and can be trusted. You must be patient and commit to these animals. It is critical to their adjustment from the streets that they be housed in stable and consistent environments. The sooner the pets feel secure and happy, the sooner they will be adopted!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Stray Paws Rescue provide?

Stray Paws Rescue covers the following:

  • Vaccinations until the foster pet is adopted. Once the foster pet is adopted, the new owner is responsible for all other vaccinations and wellness costs.
  • Spaying/Neutering. Your foster pet must be spayed/neutered before they go to their new home. NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • Monthly heartworm and flea preventive until the pet is adopted.
  • Microchip.
  • Any veterinary care while the pet is in foster care.
  • Food, crates, pens, collars, harnesses, bedding, grooming items, toys, or any other basic care needs, if necessary.

Why should I foster?

By allowing a foster pet into your home and family, you are helping save not only that animal, but also more since that animal is not taking up room at the shelter.

What are the requirements to foster?

We ask that you provide a loving and safe home for your foster pet.

  • Adhere to all local ordinances regarding pet animals.
  • Ensure that all other household pets are up to date on vaccinations.
  • Feed, water, socialize, exercise, train, groom and medicate foster pet(s) as directed by Stray Paws Rescue.
  • Provide a secure, sheltered environment for all foster pets at your primary residence.
  • Monitor health and development of pet(s) and notify Stray Paws Rescue if a problem/issue occurs.
  • Aid in the care and treatment of an ill pet until said pet is healthy for placement by Stray Paws Rescue.
  • Keep collar and/or harness and Stray Paws Rescue ID tag on your foster dog(s) at all times (cats are exempt from these requirements).
  • Schedule and transport pet(s) for vet appointments or adoption events.
  • Immediately notify Stray Paws Rescue if the foster pet is lost.
  • Notify Stray Paws Rescue of overnight stays at the home of a prospective adopter.
  • Notify Stray Paws Rescue if you intend on fostering another pet for another group at the same time (liability reasons).
  • Stay in communication with Stray Paws Rescue.
  • Respond to potential adopter inquiries and applications within 24-48 hours.

Are there things we are not allowed to do as fosters?

  • Do not send your foster pet to its new home without having been spayed or neutered.
  • Do not tie or tether your foster pet outside or cage your foster pet for extended periods of time (crate training for dogs, however, is allowed and encouraged).
  • Do not leave your foster dog(s) unsupervised in your yard at any given time. Do not allow your foster cat(s) to go outside.
  • Do not take puppies to the park, and limit their time outside until they have had their first round of shots. They are susceptible to disease and illness like parvo, upper respiratory infections, etc.
  • Do not alter your foster pet in any way, including, but not limited to: cropping of ears, bobbing of tail, declawing, etc.

Do I need any special training to be a foster?

Stray Paws Rescue provides resources and materials to prepare you to care for a foster animal. The Foster Team will be there to support you every step of the way.

 Please note:

  • We require foster parents to be at least 21 years old. If you are not 21, please have a guardian complete the Foster Application.
  • Stray Paws Rescue is based in  St. Louis, Missouri. We ask that our foster caregivers reside within a 50 mile radius in order to easily get to and from our rescue with their foster animal(s) and for supplies as needed.
  • Our goal is to match potential foster caregivers to the needs of Stray Paws Rescue. We welcome foster caregivers who are interested in helping any or all of the following: puppies/kittens, pregnant dogs/cats, moms and puppies/kittens, adult dogs/cats, dogs/cats with special health needs, amputees, and dog/cats with behavioral challenges who will need extra support and training.  Special consideration may be given to foster applicants who have experience with large breed dogs and dogs/puppies or cats/kittens with special medical or behavioral needs.
  • We strongly encourage crate training your foster pet(s). Crates give them a sense of security. Many adopters like the idea of having a crate trained dog just in case they prefer to use one while they are away for the day. This is particularly true for people adopting puppies!

How will I know if the foster pet will be a good fit with my family?

We do everything we can to fit each foster pet with the right family. Our foster application is very detailed for this reason.  Stray Paws Rescue does everything possible to ensure everyone is happy, including you, your family, and the foster animal.

Will I have to take my foster pet anywhere?

We may ask that you take your foster pet to the veterinarian and bring them to the adoption events.

How can I help my foster pet become more adoptable?

Photos and stories of all adoptable animals in foster homes are posted on our website, facebook page, on, on, and many other websites. Stray Paws Rescue also schedules periodic adoption events (Usually every 2 weeks). Foster parents are strongly encouraged to participate in adoption events to increase the visibility of their foster dog to potential adopters.

Ultimately you know your foster better than anyone else and so sharing with others will help expedite finding them a home.

One way to help is by supplying great photos and a biography and updating these regularly. Another way is to give the foster pet additional exposure by telling friends and family about them; this helps create a “network effect” and will speed up the process of finding a forever home. Simple steps like taking a foster dog on walks in local parks, outdoor shopping areas, and other high traffic areas will help find potential adopters. Social media outlets like Facebook also work well for both dogs and cats. Remember, everyone in this rescue is a volunteer, and we all need to do our part to market the animals.

Can I take my foster dog to an off‐leash dog park for exercise and socialization?

No, you may not take any foster dog from Stray Paws Rescue to an off-leash dog park. While these parks can be fun for some dogs, there are far too many unknowns for it to be a safe and healthy experience for a foster dog. Diseases are easily transmitted, and the temperaments of visiting dogs are unknown. Also, taking a leashed dog to a dog park can create barrier frustration and trigger aggression in dogs.

Am I responsible for finding my foster pet its forever home?

No, but we do need your help. Once a qualified applicant is identified, you will be asked to schedule a meet and greet with your foster and the potential adopter. Your quick response and final input on the potential adopter is critical to finding a great match.

Many times, a foster parent will find a perfect match through their own network of friends, family, and colleagues. Stray Paws Rescue greatly welcomes these referrals! If you think you have found a perfect forever home for your foster animal, remember they still must go through the application process and be approved by Stray Paws Rescue.

How long will I have my foster pet?

The average length of fostering is 2-6 weeks depending on the foster animal’s needs and age.  Puppies will need 2 rounds of shots which are 2 weeks apart and spay/neuter before being adopted. This is usually a 4 week process.  Adult dogs sometimes take a little longer than young dogs & puppies to find adoptive families so you could have the foster for 6+ weeks, although this is rare, it is possible.   There’s no guarantee that a foster animal will be adopted within a certain time frame, but until he’s adopted, he needs a home. Be sure you can commit before you accept a foster pet.

Can I foster if I have a full time job?

Certainly and we will work with you to match you with the foster pet that best fits your specific situation.

How much time will I need to spend with my foster pet?

We hope that you want to spend as much time with our foster pet as possible.  While we do understand that other things in life come up we ask that you always keep your foster pets best interests in mind when making plans that will take you away from them for long periods of time.

What if I find my foster pet isn’t working out?

We ask that you give us time to find another foster home or boarding, but if that is not ideal we will find a solution that works for everyone and as quickly as possible.

What if I go on vacation or become ill?

We will work with you to find placement for the foster pet and only ask that you give us as much advance notice as possible. You may not transfer your foster to a family member or friend without an approved foster application.

Can my foster pet be around/play with my current pets?

Yes, depending on your pets and the foster pet, we encourage interaction after the foster has been fully vetted. We only ask that you take things slowly when introducing them and follow any and all instructions from the foster coordinator or other member of the Stray Paws staff.  Please note, there may be foster pets that cannot have any interaction with current pets due to medical conditions, but we will make sure you are aware of any restrictions prior to fostering.

What if I fall in love with my foster pet or know someone who wants to adopt it?

There is such a thing as a “foster failure” (and it’s not as bad as it sounds)! If you cannot cut the ties, you can adopt your own foster pet; this is affectionately referred to as a “foster failure.” It’s OK, and apparently, it happens a lot!

Once a pet becomes available for adoption, we can’t “hold” that animal. We encourage you to contact Stray Paws Rescue as soon as you or anyone else you know decides they want to adopt the foster pet.

The Fine Print...

Things to note:

  • Return all items borrowed from Stray Paws Rescue upon adoption (crates, collars, leashes, harnesses, ID tags, “Adopt Me” vests/bandanas, leftover food, beds, litter, litter boxes, etc.) if you do not intend on fostering another pet.
  • Stray Paws Rescue is not responsible for any damages that the pet(s) may do to any person, animal, or property while in foster care.
  • If Stray Paws Rescue believes that the foster parent has violated any conditions of the foster agreement, the foster parent shall, upon request of Stray Paws Rescue, immediately return the pet to Stray Paws Rescue. The foster parent will reimburse Stray Paws Rescue for all costs and attorney fees incurred to enforce its rights under the foster agreement.
  • Each foster pet should also have an ID tag. This tag has Stray Paws Rescue’s contact number on it in case the pet becomes lost. This will be returned to Stray Paws Rescue upon adoption.