Fostering: What to Expect

We can only save dogs if we have foster homes available to take them in.

Purebred Labs and Lab mixes die every day in shelters across the Midwest. At Love of Labs we get urgent messages from shelters every week with photographs and pleas to save dogs scheduled for euthanasia. We can only save them if we have foster homes available to take them in.

You can help them by opening your heart and home to a foster dog. Saving the life of a dog and helping it find its forever home is an amazing feeling!

LOLIN will provide veterinary care for your foster dog and all necessary supplies, including a crate. All we need from you is dog food and a loving home!

Fostering FAQ

So you want to help save the lives of some dogs? Great! But you probably have some questions. Below are some of the most common questions we get about fostering. Click each section below to read more information.

We take in dogs of all ages and circumstances, but untrained, adolescent dogs are prime candidates for foster homes. They tend to get passed by at the shelter because they seem too big, unruly, or untrained (i.e. crazy). They aren’t cute like puppies anymore, but still have tons of puppy energy. It’s a difficult combination when someone is looking to take a dog home.

The good news is that with love, exercise, and a little basic training, these dogs can make remarkable progress in a short period of time. Our fosters play a crucial role in helping these dogs feel more secure and finding them permanent loving homes!

You’ll do a lot of the normal dog stuff like feeding, grooming, and exercise. You may also have to provide your foster with some basic training. Depending on the age and background of your dog you may also need to train them on some or all of the following:

  • Housetraining
  • Walking on leash
  • Basic commands to teach things like sit, stay, etc.
  • Behavior modification to correct problems such as jumping, mouthing, barking, destructive chewing, and dashing through doors.
  • Socialization and temperament evaluation to determine whether the dog is good with different types of people and other animals.
  • Medical care such as dispensing medication, taking the dog to vet appointments. (Remember, LOLIN pays for this!)
  • Playing, cuddling, and loving! (The best part!)

This sounds like a lot of work, but it is some of the most rewarding work you’ll ever do! You’ll be amazed at how smart Labs are and how quickly they learn to be members of the family. You get to play a pivotal role in saving and changing the life of a dog.

You’ll go through the same approval process as our adopters. We ask you to provide personal references and vetting to confirm that your pets are up to date with vaccinations and spayed or neutered.

This is critical for fostering for LOLIN for a few reasons.

1. Our mission is to educate the public as to the importance of spaying and neutering and maintaining routine veterinary care (including heartworm prevention) for your pets. Dogs are often surrendered to the shelter because they got heartworm and the family does not want to pay for the expensive treatment.

2. Foster dogs coming directly to your home from the shelter are usually stressed and have only recently had their vaccinations. In order to prevent the dogs in our foster homes from making our shelter dogs ill, or the other way around, we require all dogs in a foster home to be up to date with rabies, distemper, and Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccines.

3. Having your dogs spayed or neutered is also required, as many of the dogs who come from the shelter are not altered when they first arrive at your home. LOLIN pays for them to be spayed or neutered as soon a vet appointment can be scheduled.

We’ll also conduct a home visit to see where your foster dog will be living and to give you a chance to ask questions and get advice from an experienced volunteer. All of our home visit volunteers have adopted or fostered LOLIN dogs and can let you know what to expect.

Once you are approved (this usually takes a week to two weeks depending on your availability to schedule a home visit), you will work with one of LOLIN’s foster coordinators to rescue your first foster dog.

The coordinators will take into account your personal situation and work to match you with appropriate dogs on our waiting list. Our coordinators are experienced fosters who are always available to answer questions, make suggestions, and provide assistance. Rescue is a group effort! We have a team of volunteers and coordinators ready to help you when you need it.

Sometimes it can be hard to give up your foster dogs, especially after you have them for a while! But you get to be part of their life forever if you want to be. As the foster, you have the right to call the new forever home to inquire how the dog is doing and/or visit the dog.

Almost all of us who foster for LOLIN have continual contact with the forever guardians and the former LOLIN dogs. And you can always dog sit! It is amazing to see the scared, skinny dog you took from a shelter turn into a beautiful happy family pet in their forever home. The new families are always proud to show us how wonderful their “babies” are doing, plus they never hesitate to call us if they need something.

Foster dogs take a piece of your heart with them when they leave, but they never forget you! The sadness of letting one go is quickly replaced by the rewarding feeling of bringing the next foster into your home. Knowing that without your efforts the dogs you foster would have been euthanized is a powerful motivator to get one adopted, so you can move on to saving the next dog! Your heart is always large enough to share with the next foster that comes into your home truly needing that love.

There’s no easy answer to that, but you should plan on having a foster dog for 2-8 weeks. Some dogs go very quickly. Older dogs, dogs who require medical care, or have physical/behavior issues that require training may stay longer. We will always do our best to make sure you are aware of a dog’s known special circumstances before you commit to fostering.

Short-term fostering is also an option. Sometimes we need a place for a dog to stay overnight during a transport. If a regular foster takes a vacation, we’ll need someone to step in and care for their foster dog for a week or two.

You only need to pay for food, toys, and treats. LOLIN covers all medical expenses for our foster dogs, including monthly heartworm prevention. LOLIN will also provide an alternate foster when you are on vacation, so you will never have to pay boarding fees for a foster dog.

As long as you are willing to provide the exercise a Lab needs, we do not require a fence to foster a dog. Several of our fosters do not have fenced yards. Some even live in apartments. We do ask that you not exercise a foster dog off a leash, as these dogs are unpredictable and can be runners.

Our foster coordinators work very hard to match the needs of your family with the dogs in our intake list. If you are more comfortable with puppies, senior dogs or need to foster only male or females, we can work with that. Our foster coordinators are also available to you any time you have a foster dog in your home to answer questions and provide advice.

LOLIN fosters are not expected to be behavior experts or dog trainers. We are all just dog lovers who want to make a difference in the life of a Lab. No special training or experience is required! If you love dogs and want to make a difference, you will be a great foster!

Please fill out the application below to begin the fostering process.

Thank you!

We sincerely appreciate what you are doing to help make a wonderful life for a dog in need!

Give Now

Please select your item from the drop-down list. If you are adopting, please also add the name of your new family member.

Name of dog you're adopting

Give Now

Please select your item from the drop-down list. If you are adopting, please also add the name of your new family member.

Name of dog you're adopting

Thank you!

We sincerely appreciate what you are doing to help make a wonderful life for a dog in need!


Please pay the adoption amount stated in the email you received when you set up the meet and greet with the dog you are adopting. Payment must be made before taking the dog home.
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To offset the costs involved in rehoming your Lab, we require a $25 Surrender Donation prior to processing your Surrender Application.

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The requested $20 Application Donation helps get dogs from shelters and provide their essential medical needs as they prepare for adoption.
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Thank You
For Your Support!

LOLIN is a 501(c)3 public charity, so all of your donations are tax deductible. Any amount you can spare helps offset our vet expenses. You are helping to make a wonderful life for an animal in need.

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