Dog Foster Guidelines

Dog Fostering Guidelines and Timeline

Foster homes save the lives of our Darlington pets. We cannot thank you enough for sacrificing your time, personal expenses, and space in your home. You truly are saving a life for the Darlington County Animal Shelter. Our euthanasia rate could be almost 90% if we did not have fosters like yourself.

As our foster program has grown so has our need for structured guidelines and procedure. We would like to take a moment to go over some basic guidelines.

Before you pick up your foster dog:

  • Contact your foster coordinator and discuss your choices for a foster pet.
  • Set an appointment time to come to the shelter and pick your foster up.

When picking up a foster from the shelter:

  • Write your name and contact number on a Post-it note, and place it on your dog’s paperwork in the foster binder.
  • Ask the vet tech at the shelter for any medicines your foster will need (vaccines, flea prevention, wormer, and monthly heartworm prevention). make sure to have written instructions for any medicines you take home.
  • Ask for a copy of your fosters intake sheet.
  • Feel free to bathe your foster in the office bathroom before leaving the shelter.
  • Pick out a collar, a leash, and an ID tag for your foster.
  • Write your name, contact number, date, and the foster’s name on the clipboard on the wall titled, “Where’d That Dog Go?” (hanging in the office behind the computer monitor) This gives the kennel workers a quick reference when they cannot find a dog that left the shelter recently.

Within the 1st week of fostering:

  • Take pictures of your foster animal and post them on Photobucket according to the directions found on our Fosters Facebook page in the Notes section, titled “NEW Instructions for Photos & Videos”
  • Then send an email to our web designed, Jackie Buttner, with the following info (which can all be taken from the intake sheet you received when you picked up your foster):
    • Name
    • ID Number
    • Arrival Date
    • Age
    • Sex
    • Heartworm Status
    • Weight
    • Breed
    • Biography: write a short bio of your foster -likes and dislikes, behavior with other dogs, cats and/or children, adjustment to life in your house/crate/kennel.

Week before the foster leaves

  • Contact the vet techs at least one week before the transport date to see if your foster needs any medicine or vaccines before leaving.
  • Document all information concerning your foster pet on the “Resource Page for Fosters” in the Notes section on our Foster Facebook page. Once on the Resource page, look in the top box on your left titled “Foster Records” and click on your transport date. Locate your fosters name and add the required information. This information can be found on the intake sheet that you have been keeping updated during your fosters stay with you. Our Rescue Clerks need this information to send to the rescue group that will be receiving your foster pet. Without this information your foster will not be able to travel!
  • Send a letter with your foster about his/her eating habits, sleeping habits, and his/her behavior with other dogs and cats. This will help your foster pet adjust to his/fer new foster home and rescue in another state. You can include information on any meds they are still receiving ((Make sure to send the meds with them!!)). Discuss any commands they may know, potty training issues, crate training issues, etc.


  • Keep receipts for dog food and other expenses you have while fostering–even miles you drive to the shelter. Since the rescue is a non-profit organization, we can give you a tax receipt for your donations.

Again, we appreciate your time, effort, and self-sacrifice. You truly save lives!

What NOT to do:

  • Don’t attempt to find homes for your foster animal. Your foster animal may have already been selected and secured financially by a rescue group. Often, the rescue has the animal’s pictures on their website and has homes already waiting when the pet arrives with the rescue group. If someone inquires about adopting your foster explain that it may already have rescue and please have them contact the shelter.
  • Don’t ask a neighbor or friend to watch your foster if you go out of town. Contact your foster coordinator so that she can make arrangements to help you. Remember we do have boarding arrangements with a facility in Florence. It will only cost you $5 per day to leave your foster in their secure, 24 hour staffed facility.
  • Don’t change the name of your foster. This causes problems with the animal’s permanent records at the shelter.
  • Don’t contact rescues directly via email and our Facebook page. We have worked for years to develop a trusting working relationship with our rescues, and we need to maintain the one voice, from our Rescue Coordinator, to maintain that professional, consistent working relationship.
  • Don’t take your foster pet to your own vet. We have veterinarians who work specifically with the us. If you do take your foster to your own vet, you may be responsible for the expenses



Dog Foster Coordinator:

Cat Foster Coordinator: