Foster parents are a critical part of our program at 7 Hearts Maternity Rescue (7HMR). As a foster-based WNY rescue, we rely on foster families to provide dogs a home before they get adopted. As a foster, you are the bridge between their old life and the new life they will be experiencing as a beloved family member. As a dog foster parent, you help us offer the dogs a second chance at finding their forever family. Fill out our foster application.
If you are interested in fostering, please read through the information below to determine if the 7HMR foster program sounds like it will be a good fit for you and your household.
This varies greatly, depending on the individual dog. The duration can range from a few days to several months, with an average stay of two to 4 weeks. We ask that foster parents commit to fostering a dog until the dog is adopted. It is extremely stressful for a dog to be moved around once they are in a foster home. This is all coordinated through the foster's individual Foster Coordinator. Our minimum hold times are as follows:
Our Foster team will notify all fosters what dogs are currently needing a foster. Fosters will then reach out to confirm interest. Just like the adoption process, we want to do our best to match the right foster dog with the right foster family to set you and the dog up for success during their stay with you.
Foster parents provide a loving home, patience, basic training, exercise and socialization for their dog. 7HMR provides the veterinary care, a leash/harness, all food, treats, toys, a crate, bedding and medication if applicable, to the fosters for their foster dog. We do not want you to incur any expenses.
The process starts once we've received your completed foster application. We'll then provide you with additional information on our rescue and the foster program.
You cannot adopt your first 2 fosters. After that, should you think you want to adopt one of your fosters (foster fail), please notify a Board Member within 5 days of getting your foster dog or pup. You must make this decision prior to your dog being posted for adoption. Once applications are accepted for the dog, you cannot adopt them. Also, please keep in mind that without fosters, dogs will be euthanized at the shelter. Fostering is priceless and we need you! You will learn more about the process during the foster onboarding.
Photos and stories of all adoptable animals in foster homes are posted on our social media channels, on Petfinder.com, and many other websites. 7HMR also schedules numerous adoption events. Foster parents can also help promote their foster dog to their family, friends, colleagues and the general public through their own social media channels, flyers, emails and even just by walking the foster dog in local neighborhoods with an “Adopt Me” bandana provided by 7HMR
We also offer foster back up if you need to travel out of town while you are fostering.
Yes, you can still foster an animal living in a small environment. Many of our animals need one-on-one socialization, so a small space can be beneficial. However, it’s important that the dog selected is the appropriate animal for your lifestyle and you are willing to commit to providing the foster dog with the needed physical and mental stimulation. It is your accountability to meet any landlord approval or association requirements.
Fostering is a wonderful family experience and can build a foundation of love for animals in your children. You must also be diligent about providing guidance, instructions and rules to your children about caring for a foster dog.
Yes! A fenced yard is ideal for those early morning, or late night potty breaks and for a game of ball, but is not a requirement. Moreover, foster dogs are not allowed to be left unattended in a yard. The reality is that the majority of dogs don’t exercise themselves when left outside. Dogs need focused physical activity, mental stimulation and socialization and the best way to do this is by walking or running your foster dog on leash.
Yes! It is important to understand how to properly manage multiple pets during the introduction period (the first few weeks a foster is in your home). We are here to help!
Yes! As a foster, you are expected to begin potty training, leash training and crate training. It is our job to make these dogs the best that they can be for their new families. Some dogs do not like crates initially, and most dogs need to be transitioned or “trained” to use a crate, so it’s up to the foster parent to begin this training. Putting the dog in a crate while you are gone will give you peace of mind knowing that they are in a safe place, away from harm, and not doing any damage to your belongings or themselves. For many dogs, a crate can also represent a safe and comfortable place to call their own and provides them with a sense of security. Many dogs actually like having a “den” to cuddle up in. Crating should never be used as punishment.
No, but you may be asked to dispense medicine to your foster animal so you will have to be comfortable following veterinarian’s instructions if fostering a sick or injured animal.
All veterinary costs are paid by 7HMR. All veterinary care requires prior approval from a Board Member. Foster volunteers will be given contact information and instructions at the foster orientation meeting on what to do if a foster dog becomes sick.
Commitment and responsibilities depend on the individual animal and situation. It’s essential that foster parents understand that dogs may be stressed and transporting an animal to the foster home is also very stressful and emotional. Many of the dogs in the rescue are “adolescent” dogs between the age of 6 months and 2 years. They typically have a lot of energy and require vigorous daily exercise. This means at least a 30-45 minute brisk walk/run in the morning and again in the afternoon, with plenty of play time in between. Older dogs may only need a morning and evening stroll.
No. You are not allowed to take any foster dog from 7HMR to an off-leash dog park. The first few days and weeks in your foster home are meant to help the dog decompress and adjust to a new lifestyle. They are at the mercy of their foster family to make the right decisions for them and not put them in stressful situations when they are still trying to get to know you and figure out what the rules are.