Foster homes form the base of BARK’s adoption program.  BARK doesn’t have a facility of its own, so we rely on foster homes to provide shelter and love to dogs until they find their forever homes.  The primary responsibility of a foster home is to evaluate each dog in a home environment and help the Krewe Captain determine what type of home will be the best fit for a dog.

Being a foster parent for a BARK dog is rewarding but it isn’t for everyone.  Here are some of the most commonly asked questions to help you decide whether being a foster parent is right for you.

 What does a Foster home do?

Foster care is a temporary (1-6 months) home where the dog lives with a person or family until it is adopted.  During their stay they may learn basic obedience, leash and crate training, positive behaviors and socialization.  We treat our foster dogs like members of our own families.

Do I have to find them a home?

No, BARK has a adoption process designed to help match each dog with the right home.  As a foster home you won’t have communication with potential adopters until after their application has been approved.  Once an applicant has been approved your Krewe Captain with put you and the adopter in contact to schedule a meeting and see if your foster dog is a good fit for the adopter’s home.

What do I have to provide?

Foster homes provide for the basic needs of the dog, food, water, a safe environment, crate, treats and toys.  BARK provides each foster dog with a collar, tag, leash and monthly heartworm and flea preventative.  All of a dog’s vet care is paid for by BARK.

How long will I keep a foster dog?

BARK sometimes uses short-term fostering for overnight transports or until a permanent foster home is available, but those foster opportunities do not come around too often.  You usually will keep your foster dog a minimum of a month.  This is because dogs often are on their best behavior in a new place until they figure out the dynamics of the home.  Once they become comfortable in the foster home the dog’s personality comes out.  By keeping dogs in foster care at least a month we are better able to judge what type of home will be a good fit for the dog.

Dogs that are being treated for heartworms or have other medical needs that must be addressed before a dog is placed will stay in foster care until its treatment is complete.  BARK wants to make sure our dogs are placed in the best physical condition they can be.

Parker snoozing safely in his foster home.
Parker snoozing safely in his foster home.

How does BARK decide which dogs to place in which foster homes?

We consider each foster home’s specific circumstances into consideration before placing a dog it in. Some have small children, multiple dogs, cats or farm animals.  We try to place each BARK dog into a foster home that is suited for its personality.  As a foster home, you have the ability to set preferences based on your experience and/or training such as puppies or senior dogs.     

I’m afraid I’ll get too attached and won’t be able to let them go

This is a common concern and one that each foster home deals with each time they have a foster.  These dogs become part of your family and it’s not easy to let them be adopted.  One thing to remember is that for each dog you help place in their forever home opens up a place for another dog to be saved.  There are few things more rewarding that to see your foster thrive with his/her new family.

Will I have to train the dog?

Each dog that comes into BARK will have needs specific to them.  Some animals may need to learn to walk on a leash or be crate trained.  Many dogs that come into BARK have not been house trained, so you will be responsible for house training them before they go to their new home.  Others may have bad habits that will need to be worked on.  The dog’s Krewe Captain will be able to guide you along the way and help offer suggestions. 

Are there other foster homes in my area?

BARK is a new organization and some areas do not have many foster homes.  However, we do have a group of experienced volunteers that you can ask questions and discuss your dogs with.  You are not alone and you will always have someone available to talk to.

If I can’t foster, are there other things I can do?

There are many things volunteers can do to assist BARK.  A few things are:  fundraising, working at booths and adoption events, transporting, web site maintenance, coordinating events.