We are always in need of good foster carers so that as few dogs as possible have to be in kennels. Fostering helps dogs to settle into a home environment and allows their character to shine through, helping us to find them the right homes.
As a general rule, foster homes must be in Somerset, Bristol or Bath. We welcome fostering applications from all sorts of families but generally ask that resident children are aged 5+ and are able to behave sensibly around dogs. We welcome applications from people in flats, people who already have pets and a people who are not dog experienced – it’s all just about finding the right match. The home check and vet reference check criteria are largely the same as those found on our ‘adopting’ page. You must be able to drive, and have access to your own vehicle.
We prefer our foster homes to be located within the Bristol, Bath and Somerset area. The reason for this is to ensure that we can provide any support as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Fostering demands a lot of time and patience but is very rewarding. Fostering a dog means bringing the dog into your own home for a period of time to offer love, understanding and basic training. Your role as a fosterer will be to assess the dog’s ability to cope with everyday family life and situations. The dog may be nervous or overconfident. He or she may have no housetraining or basic training skills. They may be expert bin raiders. They may hate cats. They may not be used to lead walking. The needs of the dogs are many and varied, and you will not be expected to be experienced with every possible problem. We are here to answer any of your questions. Your input is always valued, and fostered dogs have a much better chance of finding permanent homes because we can be more accurate about their needs and, with your help, ensure that the right home is found for the dog.
A fosterer provides all the daily needs for the dog as if it were their own: feeding, walks, training, healthcare and affection. We will cover all vets costs for any treatment at our own vets and will provide any supplies needed including food.
Our foster carers are actively involved in the adoption process – you would help provide information and pictures for the dogs profile, facilitate visits from the shortlisted applicant and provide feedback on suitability. Dogs Friends will be responsible for the ‘formal’ elements of the process such as vetting applicants and completing adoption paperwork.
You may be wondering what the benefits of fostering are! For the dog they are obvious – the safety of a home, the warmth of a bed, the touch of a hand. The love of a human carer for often the first time in their life! But what does the fosterer gain from the experience?
Our foster carers are highly valued members of our volunteer group. They provide a service that many people are not in a position to, and we work hard to ensure they feel respected, appreciated and supported. For the carer there is the knowledge that they have helped enhance a dog’s life and in doing so freed a space for another dog to be helped. It is a heart-warming experience to watch a dog develop and grow in confidence, to learn to trust, to regain health and fitness, and to learn some of those essential skills of socialisation and training. And isn’t it amazing that it is down to the carer that all this happens? You can also experience breeds you may never have considered before.
Due to the responsibility of fostering, we do ask all foster carers to complete an application form online and there is one on this site for you to use.
We also like our foster carers to collect dogs, take them to grooming appointments (if required) and make vet visits so reliable transport is essential. When applying, please let us know whether this would be a problem for you.
Please ensure all details in the form are correct before submitting.
``Fostering is a whirlwind experience which makes you question why you did not do it sooner. It’s a roller coaster of emotions for both you and your latest companion. All of the whole hearted love you feel for a family pet is amplified by knowing you are helping a dog to recover, to learn how to dog again, learn how to trust and love. It is truly amazing. Alfie (our first foster) had not been with his new home a week and I was telling my partner we need to help another. I write this whilst Gracie (our current foster) is cuddled into me whilst in bed. One of the loudest snorers I have ever encountered yet the sweetest sassiest girl there is. As I know our time together is running out (Gracie will be off to her forever home soon) I can’t help but be upset, it’s inevitable at this time in the process. But once you have come to terms that they will be living in new homes, loved and cherished, you start to feel at ease. For all the work and time you put in to caring for these dogs they give it back ten fold and that’s why it is all worth it.`` - Millie and Jay
``Fostering has been the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done. Taking in a dog in need and watching them start to show their little personalities and grow confidence is the best feeling. Matching them up with their forever family is so special knowing that they are going on to live their best life. I love knowing that I am helping to protect these beautiful, innocent animals and giving them the fresh start they deserve`` - Lexie and Sam
``I have found fostering for Dogs Friends such a rewarding experience. The fosters I have cared for have all come in, in a very sorry state, but despite this they have been an absolute joy to watch grow in confidence and learn that humans aren't so bad. They have all gone to super homes, to people who adore them and I am so proud to have been part of that process. Fostering doesn't come without its challenges, but the joy it brings, seeing them thrive and love life the way they should is immeasurable. The support from the Dogs Friends team is there, when you need it, a lovely charity to be part of`` - Suzanne
``Fostering dogs has been very rewarding and the best thing we decided to do as a family. Helping a dog in need and watching them learn to trust us is so wonderful. Helping them find their forever family is so exciting and gives us such a buzz to know that they are going on to live a wonderful life that they all truly deserve`` - Shannon
``We love fostering because we’re so happy to be able to change a dogs life. It’s the most special and rewarding thing we’ve ever done. Each dog has their own lovely unique personalities, and it’s so nice seeing them become happier and knowing they’re loved especially after all they’ve been through. Though it’s really hard to let them go knowing they have gone to a good home and you are able to help another dog in need makes it all worthwhile-`` - Abby and Johnny
``As a first time Foster I wasn't sure what it would be like. I have loved every moment to see how the dog's have changed from frightened little girls is heart warming. This is just the start for us. May it long continue.`` - Brenda
``It took us years to feel ready to consider a dog joining our family and we wanted to make sure we had support to learn as much as we could to look after them. Dogs friends have been supportive of our application to foster although we have children and a cat. Others just didn’t respond at all. When we first met our first foster it was such an emotional experience, seeing how neglected but full of affection he was. All of the stereotypes have been quickly proven wrong about dogs who need love and a family. Seeing all the dedicated foster carers sharing their dogs progress and seeing our foster recover has been the most rewarding time for all of us in the family. He’s a celebrity wherever we go and we have so many chats about how wonderful fostering is while he lies back for a tummy rub! Absolutely no idea why we took so long and wish we’d been fostering for years as so many need us`` - Catherine
``I have fostered 2 dogs so far and each had their challenges, but giving them your love, support and care makes such a huge difference. To be honest it’s been good for me too, given me focus and got me out and about in the fresh air and made me smile and laugh.`` - Sarah
``Fostering has truly been the most amazing experience we have ever had. It feels completely natural to give a dog a home and lots of love when they need it most. We just wish we had done it sooner!`` - Alexandra and Nathan
``We came to fostering in lockdown as a way to try and make a difference when our world and daily life had become so different. We have had 5 dogs all in all and each one has added a special moment to our family memories. We loved having g our guests, were really sad to see them go to forever homes but love seeing how loved they are as permanent home dwellers! Give it a go - it will make its mark!`` - Jacky, Tony and family