What is foster-to-adopt?

Our Foster to Adopt program focuses on empowering potential adopters to welcome an animal into their home straight off of a transport or out of the shelter. You will have Waggytail's support through the fostering process and will get to be first in line to adopt your foster. When you are approved to foster to adopt you will be noted as both an approved foster and approved adopter meaning that you can have the flexibility to continue to foster even after you adopt.

What is the difference between foster-to-adopt and just adopting?

The foster-to-adopt process means that you will take in an animal straight from transport or a shelter. These dogs and cats will need to go through a decompression period  to adjust to home life and city life. Adopting an animal from a foster home will mean that they will often have a shorter decompression period than those animals coming from a less stable situation.


Fostering to adopt means that while you have first dibs on adopting your foster animal, you will need to give your foster a little extra TLC and time to adjust than a traditional adoption. See our foster manual for more information on the foster decompression period.

How long do I have to decide if I want to adopt my foster?

As a FTA candidate, you will have 7 - 10 days after the transport to decide whether you would like to adopt. After that period, you will relinquish your status as first in line to adopt your foster. If you decide your foster isn’t the right fit with your lifestyle,  we will post your foster as live and process applications (that are qualified and a good fit for the animal) as they come in. After the 7-10 day grace period, if you then decide you would like to adopt you would be placed in line after all applications that are currently being processed for your foster.

When am I allowed to adopt my foster animal?

Anytime you feel 100% certain during the foster-to-adopt period. In order to finalize the adoption please inform your foster contact and complete Step 5 of the adoption process.

What does the rescue provide and cover during the foster-to-adoption period?

Waggytail will cover all approved vet visits. We are also able to provide many basic supplies from within our volunteer and foster network (food, dewormer, martingale collar etc.). We are often able to connect you with a volunteer donating a crate or playpen if you need one.

If I didn't sign up as FTA at the beginning, do I still have the opportunity to FTA my pup?

Yes. If you decide that you would like to switch to FTA please inform your foster contact as soon as possible and they will note this.

Do I have to sign up as FTA right at the beginning even if I don't know if I may want to adopt?

Please note in your foster application if you are looking to foster-to-adopt. You don’t have to 100% have your mind made up before fostering your first animal BUT we need to know while we are reviewing your application so we can approve you as both a foster and adopter.

Once we approve an adoption applicant, we can not consider the foster first in line and we honor the applications that come in first once the animal is made available.

How do I get assigned my foster-to-adopt animal? Do I get to pick?

The Waggytail team prioritizes your preferences in order to make the best match for our fosters (potential adopters) and dogs/cats. When you receive a Call to Foster email please let us know a few candidates that you would be interested in foster to adopting. This will make it much more likely for you to get the perfect match.

What if my foster has any health issues (heartworm positive, kennel cough, allergies) when I’m fostering? Can I wait for it to clear up before I decide to adopt?

All our animals have to be medically cleared by our vets prior to being transported. Most of them have already been vetted, treated and altered. In some cases, the animals may need to continue receiving further medical attention once they arrive to NYC. This might include heartworm treatment or alter surgery. Kennel cough is the equivalent to the common cold and does not delay the adoption timeline.


If your foster has a serious underlying health issue that we are aware of, we will communicate this with you in advance and make sure that you are comfortable dealing with any additional or ongoing health issues before the adoption is finalized.

Why can’t I foster-to-adopt a dog or cat that is already up for adoption?

Once an animal is in a Waggytail foster home and listed as adoptable on our website, their next home will (hopefully) be their forever home! We do not transfer dogs between foster homes (or foster-to-adopt homes) unless it is an emergency.

If I don’t want to adopt my foster, what happens? How long do I have to foster them?

That is completely fine. Once you have decided not to adopt your foster, we will make their profile live in order to find a suitable adopter which may take up to 2 weeks or longer. Please remember we are a volunteer-based rescue and as an approved foster you have committed to fostering until they find their forever home.

Do I have to keep fostering after I adopt?

That is completely up to you. We understand that setting up a routine for a newly adopted pet takes some time. If you would still like to foster after your adopted pet has adjusted please let us know and we will keep your information active for future foster placements!


Still have questions?

Have you checked the Foster FAQ?
Reach out to our foster team at volunteer@waggytailrescue.org!