ESRA Foster Care Program

Rescue is not possible without foster homes!

One of the most important aspects of ESRA's rescue organization is our Foster Care Program. ESRA's foster homes provide housing, medical care, rehabilitation, and love to Springers in need. Putting these "unwanted" dogs into a temporary loving environment allows them time to heal their wounds and gain confidence in their relationships with others before they go on to permanent placement.

Fostering can lead to adoption — the choice is yours. ESRA places dogs only in those foster homes qualified and approved as responsible and reliable. All dogs will be spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, and tested for heartworm while in foster care. While in foster care, each dog’s health and temperament will be constantly evaluated. Basic obedience training is to be provided where needed. The foster care home shall treat the rescue dog as part of the family, including it in all family events. This intense evaluation program enables ESRA to determine what type of home would be the best fit for each foster dog.

To graduate a dog from foster care to permanent placement is a success and a happy ending made possible only by ESRA's foster-home members!


Frequently Asked Questions

1Where do the dogs come from?

The majority of dogs come into ESRA’s foster care program when their families can no longer care for them. Others come from shelters.

The ESRA regional coordinator ensures that necessary information on health and temperament are obtained and makes the decision as to whether a dog will be accepted into ESRA’s foster care program. In general, your regional coordinator will contact you about fostering a dog. You may be asked to pull the dog directly from the shelter, or the dog may be transported to you from another part of your region, possibly with your assistance. You will not be expected to do more than you are comfortable with doing. We ask that you not remove a dog from any situation without permission from your regional coordinator.

2What would my financial responsibilities be?

The foster home is responsible for food, treats, toys, and love. A collar, leash, and crate may also be needed. You are encouraged to recycle these items for new foster dogs.

Foster care providers must first talk with their coordinators about each region’s vetting guidelines and spending limitations. Once approved, ESRA reimburses the costs for shelter fees, wellness exams, spay or neuter, heartworm tests, heartworm prevention, flea prevention, deworming, and vaccinations. In many cases, ESRA works with specific veterinary practices that offer a discount, and some coordinators may have arrangements to pay those veterinarians directly. It is expected that foster homes will take the dog to necessary medical appointments. If you plan to take your foster dog to your own veterinarian, please first clear it with your regional coordinator and then discuss the possibility of a “rescue discount.”

Bathing and grooming are the responsibility of the foster home. Other ESRA volunteers in your area may be able to help with grooming. Please check with your regional coordinator for assistance.

3How long would the dog stay with me?

This varies greatly, but it may be anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on the personality, health and attributes of the dog, as well as geographical location. Young, healthy dogs tend to be in higher demand than older or “Special Needs” dogs, and they therefore usually remain in foster care for a shorter period of time. Please discuss any time limitations you may have with the regional coordinator in advance of accepting a foster dog.

4Am I responsible for finding my foster a new home?

No. Our foster dogs are advertised on the ESRA website, as well as on other websites such as Petfinder, as being available for adoption. Additionally, the regional coordinator keeps track of local families who are already approved to adopt from ESRA and will alert them when a dog that matches with their preferences comes into our care. You may also be asked to bring your foster dog to adoption events in your area. ALL potential adoptive families must complete the adoption process and be approved by the regional coordinator before placement of a foster dog occurs.

Your biggest contribution to your foster’s adoption will be in helping to decide on the best possible match through consultation with the coordinator and direct communication with the potential adoptive family. After all, YOU will know the personality of your foster dog and his or her needs better than anyone else. You may also be asked to help to arrange a meeting between your foster dog and the potential adoptive family, either in your home or at another location.

5How can I be sure my dog won’t catch something from the foster dog?

The best protection is prevention. Make sure your animals are current on vaccines including bordetella (kennel cough).

Ideally, a foster dog should see the veterinarian before arriving at a foster home, but there are emergency exceptions. In those instances, DO NOT expose your other pets or children to this dog until you can get an “all clear” from a vet. Make sure that any foster dog poop is picked up immediately until your foster has been dewormed or cleared with your vet through a fecal test. You might also consider keeping Capstar or another flea and tick preventative on hand to use before bringing the dog into your home.

6How can you ever let them go?

"Failing Fostering 101” is a common hazard for foster homes. It is expected that some foster families will fall in love with their foster dogs and ask to adopt them. If approved, the foster home will be required to pay the prevailing adoption fee as for any adopted dog. An adoption agreement must also be signed and forwarded to the regional coordinator.

Are you interested in fostering?

If you'd like to learn more and give it a try, please complete a foster application. The foster home chairperson will contact you and forward your application to the ESRA coordinator in your area. Your regional coordinator will also contact you to arrange for a telephone interview, vet references, and a home visit. Please be patient if you do not hear back immediately. ESRA is an all-volunteer organization, and most members have jobs and families which also require members' time and attention.


Foster Application



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