Where do the foster dogs come from?

The dogs who are in need of foster care come to us from three different situations:

  • Shelter rescue. Smiles & Cries Rescue Society takes in animals from Manitoba, Ontario & Quebec. We also take in dogs that have a hard time finding placements in Saskatchewan, Alberta and locally within the lower mainland of BC. We want to save as many lives as possible, and the foster program allows us to maximize our resources.

  • Owner Surrenders. Smiles & Cries Rescue Society takes pride in saving as many lives as we can. Many local dogs are rehomed and surrendered due to our housing crisis and many families downsizing. Many owner surrenders require fosters without much warning.

  • Returned adoptions. At Smiles & Cries Rescue Society, we make a lifetime commitment to every animal we rescue. This means that if, for any reason, an adopter can no longer keep a pet he or she adopted from us, we require that the pet comes back to Smiles & Cries Rescue Society. If the pet ends up at a shelter, we will pick the animal up and take the animal back.

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 the 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. It is ideal to spend around two hours a day exercising and playing with your foster dog to ensure that he or she receives adequate socialization and stimulation.

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. We do not have a boarding location to house animals overnight, so these dogs rely on foster homes as their home between homes. Typically most dogs will be in foster homes for a minimum of one week up to months in one home. 

Will I need to give medicine to my foster dog?

Almost all of the dogs that we have in our foster program are rescued from shelters and have been exposed to shelter illnesses. While we do our best to ensure that we are aware of all the conditions that a foster dog may have prior to going home, many illnesses have incubation periods, meaning symptoms can arise after you take a dog home. So while some dogs do not require any medicine, others may. If your foster dog needs medications, we can show you how to administer them before you take the animal home.

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. If, for any reason, your personal pet becomes ill while you are fostering a Smiles & Cries dog, we cannot provide medical care for your personal pet.

What if I want to adopt my foster dog?

Fosters always have first choice in adopting. If you want to adopt a foster dog, you will need to  contact the foster coordinator right away. If you choose to not adopt the foster dog, Smiles & Cries will then post the dog as available for adoption and will adopt to the best suited home.

What if my foster dog bites me?

If any of your foster pets bite you and break skin, causing you to bleed, you need to report the bite to the foster coordinator within 24 hours of when the bite occurred. We must keep record of all bites. The teeth of the animal, not the nails, must have broken the skin.

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 foster homes. We will work on moving your foster dog out as soon as possible, but ask for your understanding and patience. Please call the foster coordinator if this situation arises.

Why is fostering important?

Fostering is important because it helps reduce overcrowding in shelters and opens up space for another animal to be saved. It also helps prepare animals for adoption by giving them a chance to live in a home where they can fully express their personality, work to overcome fears, or recover from trauma.

When you foster, you agree to take a homeless dog into your home and give him or her love, care and attention, either for a predetermined period of time or until the dog is adopted. There are many reasons a dog might need foster care.


What are the benefits of fostering for Smiles & Cries Rescue Society?

There are many positives about fostering. Fostering allows you to “test the waters.” If you are not yet ready to have a dog of your own, you can take advantage of fostering in order to go through the motions of having a pet. After fostering once or several times, you may decide that you are finally ready to adopt a pet and be a forever parent to an animal in need.

If you have always been a cat person, but have been thinking about adding a dog to the family, you can foster puppies or dogs. This allows you to find out more about their personalities, as they can certainly differ greatly! When you foster a pet for a period of time at your home, you are bound to learn the different personality traits of the animal. This is very beneficial information for the rescue organization that you are fostering for because then they will have this extra information to be able to tell potential adopters in order to make a good adoption match.

If you have other pets in your home, this is a double bonus because when the dog go back to the rescue, the administrators can add “Good with dogs, birds, other cats, etc.” to their biographies and this increases their chances of finding an ideal adopter.

Fostering also helps socialize your own pets! If you already have a dog and you want to eventually adopt another, you want to make sure that your dog can handle living with another dog. Through fostering, you can determine whether your dog is suited to have a dog-mate or if it will not be a happily-ever-after union.

Many parents grew up having puppies in the home and it is an experience that they like sharing with their children. Fostering provides families a responsible way to enjoy the “miracles of life” while they learn about pet ownership and without adding to pet overpopulation.

These are only a few of the many advantages of fostering an animal. The only “disadvantage” might be that from fostering an animal, you will end up with more pets than you bargained for!