How to Foster

Fostering a rescue animal means that you agree to take an animal into your home and care for it until they can find a loving forever home through Secondhand Hounds. We are always in need of more fosters in the Twin Cities area. Most of our animals are saved directly from animal shelters where they are at risk of being euthanized, so they are in need of foster homes to show them what it means to feel loved. Helping a rescue animal find their forever home is a priceless experience!

Ready to Foster?
Fill out the Foster Application

What will be expected of me as a foster home?

All items you need to care for your foster dog or cat (crate, food, bowl, litter box, etc.) will be provided by Secondhand Hounds, as well as any vet expenses to get them ready for their forever home. The most important part of your job will be to help reintroduce your foster animal to a home environment by giving him/her some basic training, socialization and lots of love.

Since our foster homes know the animals in their care the best, our fosters are very involved in the adoption process and decide if an applicant will be approved to adopt their foster animal. More information on the adoption process can be found below.

Please review our fostering FAQ below and reach out to your Foster Coordinator with any other questions you have for your foster animal!

Choosing a Foster Animal

  • How long does one typically foster a dog or cat before it finds a forever home?
  • Can I choose what dog/cat I want to foster?
  • What is the role of my Foster Coordinator?
  • Where do the dogs/cats come from?
  • Am I putting my personal pets in danger by agreeing to foster?

Caring for Your Foster Animal

  • What does the rescue provide for foster parents?
  • How do I integrate the foster into my household?
  • What if the foster animal does not work with my children/dogs/cats?
  • What kinds of behavior challenges might I expect?
  • How will I know when an application is submitted for my foster?
  • How do you say goodbye to your foster animals?
  • What happens if I can no longer foster the animal I have?
  • Where can I take my foster dog? Friends houses, dog park, around town?
  • What if I am planning on traveling in a month? Can I still foster?
  • If I spend money on my foster animal, will I be reimbursed?

Medical Needs for My Foster Animal

  • Who pays the medical expenses of the foster animals?
  • What if I have a medical emergency with my foster animal?
  • What if I have a routine vetting question?

Adoption Process

How are animals adopted at SHH?

Your foster animal will be posted on our website as available for adoption – for dogs this happens on the Wednesday after they come into rescue as long as their are no immediate medical issues. Cats are added to the website once their medical needs are addressed or scheduled with a vet. Puppies will be put on website at 6 weeks, but they cannot go to their adoptive home until after their spay/neuter appointments, typically at 8 weeks of age.   Fosters are welcome to adopt their foster animals, but once an applicant applies and meets the animal, the applicants have first right to adopt. We do not hold animals off the website, so please decide if you want to adopt in a timely manner! Prospective adopters submit an application for adoptable animals with details about them. Our adoption coordinators will forward you applications via email that meet our requirements. You, as the foster, review applications for your foster animal and decide whether the applicant would be a good fit for your foster animal. If you are not moving forward with the application, please inform the adoption coordinator as to your decision within 72 hours (you can also inform the applicant yourself if you choose). If you want to proceed with the application, you must contact the applicant within 72 hours for a meet and greet! The sooner you can reply, the better – some people apply for multiple animals with multiple organizations! If you approve of the adopters, you let us know and we’ll get going on completing the other steps in the adoption process (home visit, landlord approval, reference checks, payment). What if you get a lot of interest and applications? We encourage you to only meet with 1-2 applicants at a time, but you must contact the other applicants to let them know you are pursuing other applicants and will be in touch if anything changes. The applications are not first come first serve, it is about the best fit for the animal! We do ask that you respond to applicants in a timely manner and let us know if you are interested in adopting once an application is received. Your foster animal will need to be up to date on vaccines and spayed or neutered before they can go to their new home.

How can I help my foster animal find their forever home?

Write a bio for your foster animal. This information should be sent to your foster coordinator ASAP as the bio and photos are very important to prospective adopters. We will take great photos as intake, but love candid shots and videos that show your fosters personality! Share key information – any behavior issues, likes/dislikes, or important information that will help your foster find their best match! Need tips for writing a bio? Check out this link! Attend an adoption event to get your foster out in public with possible adopters. We have events all over the Twin Cities. For event eligibility and rules, click here.


If you are interested in fostering and live in the Twin Cities area, please fill out our Foster Application. If you have any questions on becoming a foster, please email Jenn at:

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