"There's a deep sleep that only comes on the first night out of the shelter. As he settles in, he gives a great big sigh. Like a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders. Then he sleeps deeper than he ever has, knowing he's safe. You get a lump in your throat as you realize how close he came. But he's OK, because you fostered."

Where do the foster dogs come from?

The dogs who are in need of foster care come to us from our southern rescues. In the rural South, unaltered dogs are often allowed to roam outdoors. Many counties have weak or unenforced leash laws. Shelters in such areas are overrun, and even where adoptions are encouraged, low population density makes them rare. Many of the dogs that are routinely euthanized in Southern states — healthy Labs, hounds, shepherds and others, including puppies of various breeds — are in high demand in the Northeast, where low-cost spay and neuter services are the norm, kill rates are down, and there are exponentially more potential adopters.

Mainely Mutts works with two main rescue transports. We have established a relationship with these Mississippi-based women and their teams for years, and continue to do so because of their dedication, professionalism, and expertise.


What do foster families need to provide?

Foster families need to provide:

  • A healthy and safe environment for their foster dogs,

  • Transportation to and from adoption events, meet-and-greets, and vet appointments as needed,

  • Socialization and cuddle time to help teach dogs positive family and pet relationships,

  • Lots of exercise and positive stimulation to help them develop into great dogs.


How much time do I need to spend with a foster dog?

As much time as you can. With that said, the amount of time will vary depending on the energy level and needs of the dog you are fostering.


Can I foster dogs even if I have a full-time job?

Yes. The foster application is designed as a survey to help the foster coordinator match you with the best animal for your needs and your current schedule. If you have a full-time job, the foster coordinator will match you with a dog who may be OK alone during the workday. You would then just need to provide ample exercise before or after you go to work.


Can I foster a dog if I don’t have a fenced yard?

Yes. Even if you do have a fenced yard, we request that you supervise all outdoor activities with the foster dog. And we ask that you always keep him or her on a leash when you’re on walks.


How long will the dog need to be in foster care?

Ideally, foster dogs stay in their assigned foster homes until they get adopted. Mainely Mutts does not have a brick-and-mortar facility; we rely solely on our foster network to care for the animals. Sometimes fostering can mean a few hours, sometimes a few weeks – it all depends on how long it takes to find the perfect home for your foster pup.

Can I let my foster dog play with my personal pets?

There are a few guidelines that we ask foster families to adhere to regarding their personal pets. While foster dogs playing with other pets is often fine, we advise that you consult with your veterinarian before fostering to ensure that all of your personal pets are healthy and up-to-date on all vaccines. Dogs in shelters are very susceptible to illness and can carry or catch different diseases. Socialization for our foster pups is a huge plus, but we recommend slow introductions.


What if I want to adopt my foster dog?

How exciting! Sometimes, there is a pup that you just cannot let go. All fosters must go through the adoption process. If you do decide to adopt your foster dog, please contact the rescue right away because once the dog has an approved adopter, we cannot hold him/her for anyone, including the foster parent.

What if my foster dog is not working out?

You are not required to continue to foster a dog if you feel it’s not working out. However, we may not have an immediate alternate foster home for the dog. As mentioned above, we don’t have our own overnight boarding facility so we rely on open foster homes. We will work on moving your foster dog out as soon as possible, but ask for your understanding and patience.

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