What it Means to Foster


Because we are a foster-based rescue with no physical shelter, we only have the capacity to save as many dogs as we have foster parents. When you become a foster parent with Muddy Paws Rescue, you will personally be saving the life of a dog who might have otherwise not received a second chance.

Our foster parents begin with a training video as a part of their orientation to review the basics of fostering a pup and provided with basic supplies, and are matched with an experienced personal foster buddy for support. All foster parents are encouraged to join our incredibly supportive online community of foster parents, and for more experienced foster parents wanting to help a wider range of dogs, we provide specialized in-person classes with professional dog trainers.


How it Works

Step 1: APPLY

Review our FAQs before applying below. Once you’ve applied, we’ll ask you to complete our online orientation, and when that is complete we will schedule you for a one-on-one welcome call with a foster team member to answer any remaining questions.


Once approved, we’ll send you a link to schedule your availability for the coming weeks. If your schedule changes, just update the form to keep us in the know. Foster dogs and puppies have an average length of stay of 2 weeks.

Step 3: Foster match

Our scheduled transports run several times per month. Our Foster Team will match you with a pup the week prior to transport via email, based on your application and availability.

Step 4: Confirm

Once you confirm, you’ll receive an email detailing the time and location for pickup. With the support of your assigned foster buddy, you’ll enjoy caring for your pup, bringing them to all adoption events until they find their forever home.


Ready to Apply?

Make sure you’ve reviewed our FAQs below before submitting your application. Please note that an application does not guarantee approval. Please allow up to 5-7 business days for a response.

If you are having any issues submitting your application, please contact us.


Foster FAQs

Have a question that you don’t see answered below? Contact us!

+ What does it mean to foster a dog?

Fostering means taking a dog into your home and caring for him or her until a permanent adoptive home can be found. In addition to the basics of food, water, shelter, and love, we ask our foster parents to help prepare our pups for their forever homes. Crate training, house training, leash training, and more will give your foster pup the best chance of success in his or her new forever home.

+ How long is the foster commitment?

The average length of stay for Muddy Paws pups is approximately 12-14 days, but that can vary depending on factors like age, breed, size, etc. If you have a time constraint (for example, you can only foster for 3 weeks), please let us know as far in advance as possible so that we can accomodate and make sure we have another foster home for the pup. All Muddy Paws pups are in foster care for a minimum of 5 days prior to being placed up for adoption, but we ask for a minimum 2 week commitment per dog so that the pups have as much stability as possible.

+ What am I expected to provide?

We ask that you provide food, shelter and basic supplies (and love!) but you are not responsible for medical care costs. If you are fostering and have a question about medical care, please contact the rescue immediately. We generally require our foster parents to bring foster pets to one of our vets, except in case of emergency.

+ Do you cover vet bills?

Muddy Paws Rescue covers all necessary vet costs for our dogs, and we have several vet partners in NYC who work with us to provide them with the best possible care.

+ What type of support will I receive?

Every foster parent is matched with a foster buddy--a seasoned volunteer member of our foster team--for one-on-one support. All foster parents are also invited to join our private Facebook group - a wonderful community in which you can share photos, experiences, and ask advice from seasoned foster parents. You will also receive our comprehensive foster manual and an in-person or online orientation.

+ What can I expect when I bring a foster dog home?

We often know very little about the dogs before they enter our care. Our shelter partners always try to send us dogs who are good with other dogs and people, although we usually do not know how they will do with cats. Some dogs might be overwhelmed by NYC and need to work through some fear of the new sights and sounds, while some dogs might be city pros but need help learning to walk on a leash without pulling. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and have a perfect foster dog! Our foster orientation and higher level training opportunities will help you learn how to handle these behaviors safely.

+ Am I responsible for finding a forever home for my foster dog?

We are ultimately responsible for the dog and finding him or her a forever home, and we take that responsibility seriously. That said, any and all help you can give is appreciated, and often it is the very thing that finds the dog a forever home! We ask that you supply us with photos, videos, and descriptions, as you are the ones who get to know your foster pup the best. Our team uses these to update profiles on our website, Adopt-A-Pet, Petfinder, and hundreds of other websites. Posting on your own social media is also always helpful and can make a HUGE difference in finding your foster dog a home faster!

+ What are adoption events?

Adoption events are the best way to give your foster pup exposure, and hopefully find them a forever home! We have events every weekend. When you say yes to a foster dog, you will receive weekly adoption event emails that detail where and when your pup must be that weekend (if you don’t have transportation available we can often help arrange it).

+ What do I get out of fostering?

Fostering is a very rewarding and fun experience for people who are not ready to adopt but want to help save a dog's life. You are the critical factor in our ability to save your foster dog’s life, and watching a dog go from a shelter to a foster home to an adopter’s home, becoming more confident and happy along the way, is an amazing feeling!

+ But how do you give the dog up? Isn’t it hard?

Yes, it can be hard! We often encourage our foster parents to think of fostering as dog-sitting - if you go into the experience knowing that “goodbye is the goal,” it’s much easier to see your foster dog move to a forever home. Our foster parents are also often able to remain in touch with the adopters via social media, so you will get the added benefit of seeing all your foster pups grow up, grow confident, settle in, and become fantastic #MuddyPawsPack members.

+ Can I "try out" a specific dog I am considering for adoption by fostering first?

We do not offer foster-to-adopt specifically, except in extremely rare behavioral or medical cases. We don’t have a physical shelter and our foster homes are extremely important to us! We never want to pass up on the opportunity to find a dog a good permanent home, so if a meeting has been set up with a potential adopter already, we must honor that meeting. That said, if there is no one already confirmed for a meeting with your foster pup and you decide you want to adopt, you are more than welcome to apply. If you are fostering for us and considering adoption at all, let us know asap so that we can try to check with you prior to setting up a meeting with another potential adopter! Please note that when formally adopting your foster pet, you are still subject to the application process and adoption fee.

+ Do I get to choose my foster dog?

If you are a foster parent, we can honor your age/size/breed requests as best as possible, but we are not usually able to honor requests to foster a specific dog. If you apply to foster, please keep an open mind about which dog you will be fostering! Remember, every dog’s life is equally important.

+ Where are you located?

Muddy Paws Rescue is an entirely foster based rescue. We do not have a physical shelter, and all of our dogs stay in loving foster homes. Muddy Paws Rescue is a foster-based rescue group in New York City. Please visit us at one of our adoption events!

+ What is your age requirement?

We require our foster parents to be 21 years of age or older.


Note that once you apply, you’ll need to sign our contract before you can become a foster with Muddy Paws. Review it here.


Not sure if FOSTERING is right for you? Consider other ways to GET INVOLVED.