Fostering a ‘Dale

Guidelines for deciding to foster

The ideal foster home is:

  • Someone who is dog-experienced (preferably terrier or Airedale-experienced).
  • Someone who is a dedicated leash walker or has a securely fenced yard.
  • Someone who has a good relationship with a vet and charges reasonable fees or gives a rescue discount.
  • Someone who can separate dogs and cats with gates or crates if necessary.
  • Someone able to evaluate a dog’s behavior and temperament.
  • Someone who likes a challenge, who has patience, who has the determination, and a commitment to rescue.
  • Someone who finds the satisfaction in turning over the leash to the dog’s new forever home.


Would I be able to adopt the dog myself if I want to?
With agreement from the rescue volunteer, this may be possible. We need foster homes much more than we need adoptive homes!

Could a strange dog be a health hazard to my own dogs?
Actually, most dogs come to us in good health and are recently vetted. Internal parasites are a possible problem, but probably not more likely to infect your dog than walking in the park. Ear and eye infections are seldom highly communicative.

Heart worm is not passed dog to dog. Fleas are, but if your animals are protected with flea preventative, the fleas won’t survive. The main concern for health problems lies with small puppies, or dogs with compromised health conditions, so fostering might not be wise if your home has these considerations.

Will my dog like my doing this?
They’ll probably love it! But if they are not dog-friendly or is highly protective of you, then this may not be a good project. By carefully introducing dogs on neutral turf, and considering each of their feelings in your home, dogs generally do fine.

If you have a very small dog or cat, a rough or unknown Airedale might not be good to foster. In any case, you must be prepared to separate animals with physical barriers as you learn about their interactions.

Does it cost money?
Yes. We expect you to supply food and provide toys, leashes, and collars. We cannot pay for phone calls or transportation miles, but we do pay for any vet costs and spay/neutering.

Is it dangerous?
It should not be, of course. We cannot help dogs with mean temperaments and will not accept them if we know that they have ever bitten anyone unprovoked. Surrenderers understand that, and we definitely do turn dogs down. Still, it’s a dog that is inevitably confused, nervous, sad, overexcited, restless, depressed, frightened. And has teeth. We need to give them a secure, kind environment where they will be able to relax.

But caution must be taken to see that the dog does not hurt anyone. It would be VERY unlikely to be bitten by a foster dog, and all steps will be taken to avoid the possibility of taking in an unreliable dog, but a fosterer must accept that working around any dog poses an element of risk. After all, that is part of why we are fostering…to determine the dog’s temperament and tolerance.

How long will I keep the dog?
As long as necessary. If altered and vetted already and comes from a reliable background, it may be a couple of weeks. If there is work to be done, it could be a couple of months. Rarely is it longer, but…it takes as long as it takes.

What do I do with a dog in foster care?
You go on with your life, you are getting to know them and getting them ready to be adopted. They may need to go to the vet, probably need to be groomed. They need to be evaluated in a variety of situations: walking on a leash, with other dogs, being in your yard (digging, try to escape?), are they crate-trained, get on furniture, high-energy or laid-back? You will understand what makes this dog tick.

How often would I get a dog?
Probably not often…these needs come in spurts. And not if it is not a good time to do it. Let us know about vacations and activities that would not be good times to take a dog in.

Do I get a say in what happens to the dog?
Of course! That’s what we are counting on a foster home to do. Do you think they should or should not be with kids, cats, other dogs, older people, active people, working people, very experienced Airedale-people? We will discuss the possibilities we have with you and you will help us decide on the right one.

I’ve got more questions…
Please ask, and we can see if fostering is right for you. Contact us at or click here to email.