Each Rescued Animal is an Individual
Fostering a rescued animal can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. Some dogs might be perfectly well behaved companions from the start, while others will need some time to relax and learn to trust again. We ask that you treat each dog with patience and kindness over the first few days while they decompress. We have assembled some information with instructional links to help guide you through this transition period, and to serve a resource for any issues that may arise during your foster experience.
Remember, you can always contact us at and we will do our best to help!
The First Days!
Animals coming from NY shelters will most likely be dropped off at your residence in a New Hope transport vehicle. You will be contacted to arrange a suitable drop off time.
NY dogs should arrive with:
A copy of the dog's intake and dispatch forms, medical records and behavioural assessment.
A rabies vaccination certificate and tags which should be worn on the collar outside the house.
Information regarding their microchip and a tag for the collar.
A release form in the name of Waggytail Rescue which you will need to sign.
PLEASE SEND A DIGITAL COPY OF THESE RECORDS ASAP TO ! They are the ONLY copy!
Some dogs may also have prescription medication, such as antibiotics and painkillers, as all our rescues are spayed or neutered before release. Please follow all directions for giving your foster these medications and contact us if you have any issues. Pills can often be hidden in a piece of cheese or meat for easy administration (more tips here).
Dogs coming from out of state will need to be picked up, usually from Manhattan, and may come with all or none of the above paperwork. We will make sure we give you all the information we have before, or at, the time of transfer. Please remember to bring a collar and leash (and if necessary a carry case) to safely and securely take your foster home.
All documentation and tags should go with the animal when it is adopted. Under NYC DOH health code 161-04, no shelter is required to license a dog while they are seeking placement or temporarily housing the dog. Adoptive owners are, however, legally required to license their New York State dog.
Once you are home
While it may seem counterintuitive, the best thing to do for a nervous dog in a new environment is to restrict the amount of room they have to explore and to resist the urge to try to interact or soothe them. Speak softly and drop treats while you go about your normal routine, but don't force interaction until the dog is comfortable and comes to you. Familiarize yourself with the common signs of stress in dogs, and when necessary give them the time and space they need to settle.
Fosters may not eat for a day or two but can often be coaxed to start by feeding unseasoned boiled chicken, plain yogurt or canned pureed pumpkin (not pie filling). Please ensure you have plentiful clean water readily available.
Expect that your foster may have a few potty accidents until they have settled into their new routine. Roll up rugs and remove other precious soft furnishings from rooms your dog will be in for both of your peace of mind! It is normal for your foster to initially refuse to go potty, positive reinforcement of good habits should help a formerly trained dog remember where and when it is appropriate to go, so please try to be patient. More helpful information about potty training an adult dog can be found here.
If you already have a dog in your home, we strongly suggest keeping your new foster dog in a separate area of the apartment. This will allow your foster to acclimatize to the new environment without the stress of other animal interactions, acts as a quarantine for infectious diseases such as kennel cough (see below), and will allow for controlled introductions to the resident pups.
Initial Health Assessment
Most of our dogs will have had an initial health assessment by a qualified veterinarian at the shelter. However, we ask you to keep a close eye on your new charge and immediately contact us at if you have any concerns about their health.
Although the majority of dogs have been dewormed before leaving the shelter it can often take a second dose to completely kill off intestinal parasites. If you see worms in your dog's stool, don't panic! Worms don't require a vet visit - dewormer can be purchased over the counter at most pet stores. Contact us to see if we have any donated medication on hand, or to be reimbursed, if necessary.
Even though most of our dogs are vaccinated against bordetella, it is common for shelter dogs to show signs of kennel cough within the first few days. Kennel cough is characterized by a honking or choking cough and may be accompanied by runny eyes and nose, plus sneezing (for information on symptoms click here). Symptoms usually clear within a week and can be eased by providing wet food or wetted kibble, having plentiful water and using a humidifier. If symptoms do not resolve or seem to be getting worse, contact us and we will arrange a vet visit.
**ALL VET VISITS MUST BE PRE-APPROVED BY WAGGYTAIL RESCUE.** Waggytail Rescue will cover all preapproved medical costs at vet offices we have relationships with, during foster care.