Foster

Foster with us

Since our inception, we’ve strongly believed that a home is many pets’ ideal environment. As such, foster homes are absolutely critical to the success of our rescue mission.

fosters house our adoptable animals and enable us to continue our lifesaving efforts!

Becoming a foster is easy. Learn more about our foster program as well as what is expected of our foster families below.

Can’t commit to fostering long-term?
Temp fosters play a vital role in caring for animals for brief intervals while their primary foster caregivers enjoy a break. We provide all necessary supplies, and your responsibility lies in ensuring these pets experience a vacation filled with safety and fun! You can become a temp foster by going through the steps listed below.

Meet Aphrodite! She is almost 16 weeks old & around 33lbs. She will need a final dhpp & her rabies but other than that she is ready to be adopted!She loves to play, and be loved on. She is so adorable! She has some typical puppy behaviors that she is working on, like mouthyness. We are hoping to find her a foster home that will be committed to helping her grow into the dog we all know she can be !Ruff Start will cover all supply and vetting costs, foster homes just need to provide love! If you are interested in fostering please fill out a foster application below or message us with any questions about our foster program!ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/ ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Foster needed for bonded pugs, Rascal and Milo. Both are neutered , but will need some vetting. They are being surrendered due to no fault of theirs. Rascal and Milo are a bonded pair of brothers. They are 5-6 year old puggles, both are neutered. They are snuggly, playful, and very sweet. They have always had a fenced in backyard. They are kennel trained, but are still working on potty training. With a consistent regular let out schedule, they do well. Milo has the darker face, Rascal is all tan.These boys are good with all dogs, cats, and people of all ages and genders. Ruff Start will cover all supply and vetting costs, foster homes just need to provide love! If you are interested in fostering please fill out a foster application below or message us with any questions about our foster program!ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/ ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Where are our shy dog lovers at!Lanna was taken in from a breeder release situation late last year. She had spent most of her life in a crate and was very shy. Dogs that have been used as a breeder dog always need a confident dog to teach them how to dog. Lanna's current home do have a dog but he's just a little guy and won't play with Lanna, Lanna would love a home with a playful confident dog. Lanna needs a foster that will go very slowly with her and allow her to come to them with time. In situations like this, It's a good idea to shower your current dog with love and attention and Lanna will eventually see that it's safe to come to you. Lanna is crate trained and potty trained, she loves to go for walks as long as she has a companion dog with her. She's hand shy so please don't shower her with affection until she learns to ask for it. She would ideally go to a foster with a fenced in yard as shy dogs tend to try and escape. She's UTD and spayed. She needs someone to give her time. Please no kids for her unless they're older and will respect her boundaries. Who can help this girl learn to trust humans? Ruff Start will cover all supply and vetting costs, foster homes just need to provide love! If you are interested in fostering please fill out a foster application below or message us with any questions about our foster program!ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/ ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
4 year old Mama Tansy and her six 11-12 week old kittens are in need of a foster. They are not very socialized even though they have been living inside for a week or so. They are using the litter box and starting to come around by people. If you have room and time to help them with their socialization, please apply today!Ruff Start will cover all supply and vetting costs, foster homes just need to provide love! If you are interested in fostering please fill out a foster application below or message us with any questions about our foster program!ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/ ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Ruff Start will cover all supply and vetting costs, foster homes just need to provide love! If you are interested in fostering please fill out a foster application below or message us with any questions about our foster program!ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/ ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
It is kitten season and we need more kitten fosters!This little approximately 8 week old kitten was found on the side of 694 about a week ago and is looking for a forever home. We are happy to help them find their forever home but we need a foster home first!The kitten is using a litter box and has only been around adults. The little kitty is said to be shy and skittish until picked up, but then purrs and snuggles in. Has a distended tummy - most likely needs worming. Ruff Start will cover all supply and vetting costs, foster homes just need to provide love! If you are interested in fostering please fill out a foster application below or message us with any questions about our foster program!ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/ ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
PLEASE SHARE!!🛑 PLEASE SHARE! 🛑A foster dog in Prior Lake, MN went missing from her new foster home. She is very skittish and scared and does not know her name so please do not call for her or chase her. Please call the number if you see her! ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
**Foster Needed!**Clementine found a temp foster but needs a permanent spot to crash until she is adopted. She is spayed and UTD on vaccines, about 4 years old and 41lbs. She is a really great girl! Loves to play with other dogs her size and LOVES a kiddie pool if you have one. She has done well with dog savvy cats and has done well with kids. She is potty trained. She doesn't like to be kenneled but does well in her own room. She needs to be leashed even inside a fence as she has been known to take herself on adventures.Ruff Start will cover all supply and vetting costs, foster homes just need to provide love! If you are interested in fostering please fill out a foster application below or message us with any questions about our foster program!ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/ ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
This chubby guy is Spotblot, a RSR Return due to no fault of his. He's 4 years old, good with all ages, cats and dogs and litter box trained. His owner stated on the Surrender Form, "He's a great cat, he is very personable and friendly with everyone that has walked through the door including small children, other cats, and dogs. Oreo is a great cat. He's friendly to everyone. While he's not a lap cat, he loves to be around people. He sleeps a lot, chases balls, one time he even caught a mouse when I had no idea we had them in the house. On the “bad” side, if you shut the door and he wants in, he will claw at the carpet. We ended up buying a scratching mat that goes around the floor of every door frame. He gets REALLY chatty and nips really lightly at your calves when he's hungry." If you have room for Spotblot, renamed Oreo, please apply today!Ruff Start will cover all supply and vetting costs, foster homes just need to provide love! If you are interested in fostering please fill out a foster application below or message us with any questions about our foster program!ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/ ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
This sad tabby boy is looking for a foster home! His life of outdoor living is at an end and it's time for him to be neutered and find a forever home. He's a friendly boy who was helping a lady garden. She says he's always been friendly so she caught him and brought him to animal control in hopes he'll find a better life. He's a young guy, probably only a year or maybe less. He will need to be neutered but comes with initial vaccines. As you can see, he is sad but does enjoy some cheek scratches. He's been unreactive to any of the other cats in the cat room. He's a good sad boy. Ruff Start will cover all supply and vetting costs, foster homes just need to provide love! If you are interested in fostering please fill out a foster application below or message us with any questions about our foster program!ruffstartrescue.org/get-involved/foster/ ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook

What to Expect

Fosters are a phenomenal group of animal advocates who provide rescue animals care and love until they are adopted. We are always looking for more fosters to help us save the lives of animals in need!

As a foster, you can expect…

… to choose your foster animal from any criteria you set for yourself. All of Ruff Start’s foster homes choose the animal(s) they want to foster, as well as the frequency in which they foster at all. 

… to pay only in the time you spend with your foster pet. All expenses including veterinary,  supplies, food, crates, bowls, litter boxes, toys, etc. We do ask that foster families transport their foster animal to and from significant events, like veterinary visits and meet and greets with potential adopters.

… to love your foster animal the way you’d love your own animal. Arguably, the most important thing a foster provides a Ruff Starter during their time in rescue is a loving home environment. Fosters are required to provide adequate social interaction, exercise, play, and basic care to their foster animals until adoption.

… to be highly involved in the adoption process. Foster homes navigate nearly all conversations with potential adopters, meaning you get to speak person-to-person with adoptive homes. After all, our fosters know their animals better than anyone!

… to meet great people who will help you along on your own life saving mission. Our foster homes are a tight-knit group who are wonderful at providing insight to you along every single part of your foster journey. Ruff Start’s support system is vast and available to you at your fingertips, whenever you need advice, a shoulder, or reassurance!

Paws to Consider...

Standard Foster Home Criteria

As a general rule, all Ruff Start Rescue fosters must:

1- Be 18 years of age or older.

2- We recommend that your own animals are spayed/neutered and up to date on required vaccines for their safety. Foster pets may not have be spayed/neutered, have vaccines, or preventatives but will before adoption.

3- Keep all companion animals, including fosters and resident animals, indoors, unless in a specialized circumstance (i.e. owned barn cats).

4- Understand that patience is key, as there is no set timeline for an animal to find its adoptive home.

5- Be willing to work with their foster pet(s) in a patient, loving, and consistent way, especially those that come from stressful or traumatic backgrounds.

6- Always be cautious when bringing foster animals outdoors, even in fenced yards, or to new locations. Foster animals should always be collared and/or harnessed and leashed for safety.

7- Provide adequate exercise and basic care, including consistent feeding, watering, medication on a schedule, etc.

If you would like to foster but do not meet the above criteria, don’t be afraid to reach out! We are very understanding and would love to discuss your specific circumstance further. Email us at foster@ruffstartrescue.org.

Fostering FAQ

What do I need to be a foster?

Everything you physically need to care for your foster, like crates, food, bowls, toys, veterinary care, and more, will be provided by the rescue. We ask that you personally provide transportation to any necessary veterinary visits or events, as well as love, time, and patience while your foster pet lives in your home.

What will be expected from me as a foster?

The most important part of your job as a foster will be to help introduce your foster animal to a home environment by giving him/her some basic training, socialization, and lots of love. You will also be expected to arrange and provide transportation to and from any of your foster animal’s necessary veterinary visits, as decided by your foster manager. These visits may be routine or emergent. Help with transportation may be provided after coordinating with your foster manager.

You will be responsible for writing a biography and for providing good photos of your foster animal to use on their adoption profile. These items are extremely important in getting people excited to meet and potentially adopt your foster!

You will also be required to help with the adoption process. For more information on what this process looks like, please view the “What role does a foster play in the adoption process?” FAQ toggle.

What role does a foster play in the adoption process?

When a potential adopter submits an adoption application for your foster animal, one of the rescue’s Adoption Application Managers will send you the applicant’s information via email. You are expected to contact the applicant via email, phone, or virtual visit to discuss your foster animal to see if the animal is a good fit for the applicant.As a foster, it is your job to be an advocate for your foster animal. Please go over your animal’s behaviors, habits, routine, and quirks – the good, the bad, and the ugly! Applicants rely nearly exclusively on the information you provide to determine if the animal they are interested in is actually a good fit for their family dynamic.

If it is decided that the animal in question may be a good fit, a meet and greet should be arranged. This meeting can be performed at a location of mutual choosing, including your home, the applicant’s home, or a neutral location such as a public park or pet store. It is up to you to determine a location for a meet and greet that your animal is comfortable with.

Where do foster animals come from?

The animals Ruff Start takes into rescue come from many locations, including:

  • Local impounds like Minneapolis Animal Care and Control (MACC), St. Paul Animal Control (SPAC), Princeton Animal Clinic, Pets Under Police Security in Maple Grove (PUPS), etc.
  • Humane societies like Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley
  • Owners throughout the state of Minnesota who surrender their animals for reasons like moving, financial distress, or change in family situation
  • Found strays who have been put on an appropriate “stray hold” with no owner found
  • Out of state partner impounds or animal controls in southern states like Texas, who are run rampant with pet overpopulation
  • Reservation Partners

Because of their wide variety of origin, sometimes it is difficult for our intake representatives to know key details about foster animals. We will do our best to communicate their backgrounds and specific needs to you, allowing you to choose which animals you feel may be a good fit in your home.

What type of veterinary care do foster animals receive?

All Ruff Start fosters receive the following care:

  • Age-appropriate core vaccinations like distemper and rabies
  • Alteration surgery (spay/neuter)
  • Microchip implantation
  • Deworming
  • Preventative blood work (heartworm testing for dogs and puppies over nine months of age; FeLV/FIV testing for cats and kittens)
  • Flea/tick preventative

Case-by-case basis care is also provided, including:

  • Routine blood work
  • Symptomatic care for sickness, like upper respiratory and urinary tract infections, kennel cough, and parvo
  • Heartworm treatment
  • Fecal examinations
  • Specialty surgical procedures, including but not limited to dental cleanings and extractions, lump removals, amputations, and exploratories

All care is provided by Ruff Start Rescue and its partner veterinary facilities; no expense (beyond travel expenses) falls upon foster families.

Do I get to choose which animals I foster?

Yes! As a foster home it is up to you to decide which animal(s) you bring into your home.

How long will it take for my foster animal to find their adoptive home?

As a foster, it is up to you to provide care for your foster animal until it finds its adoptive home. The amount of time a foster animal may spend in rescue varies, but most animals reside in foster homes anywhere from one week to three months. In rare cases, animals may spend more than half a year with their foster families.

Can I still foster if I plan to go on vacation/am gone for the weekend?

Absolutely! We have many foster homes that would be willing to watch your animal for you while you are away. We just request ample notice to ensure we can match your foster animal up with a good fitting home while you are gone.

Can I apply to foster even if I can only foster for short periods of time?

Yes! We have many foster homes who are only interested or able to temporarily foster animals whose primary fosters are gone for the weekend or experiencing similar circumstances. Please note this in your foster application so we can ensure you get matched up with the appropriate animals after you are approved.

Am I putting my resident animals at risk by fostering?

Because our animals come from a multitude of places, they may have unknown histories – making it possible they are not medically up-to-date. Because of this, we ask that you keep all foster animals away from resident pets until they have had the opportunity to be checked over by the Ruff Start veterinary staff or an approved veterinary clinic. These visits are coordinated by either the Ruff Start intake team (for example, during a large transportation) or your foster manager.

To best ensure your resident animals’ safety, please be certain they are up-to-date on their core (rabies and distemper) vaccinations and flea/tick preventatives. The rescue also recommends resident animals have bordetella (dogs) and feline leukemia (cats) vaccinations as these are conditions that are easily transmitted between animals.

Can I adopt my foster animal?

Absolutely, as long as we aren’t currently processing multiple adoption applications for your foster animal!

Ready to save lives?

Sign up to foster today.

The more fosters we have, the more animals we can save. If you’re ready to join us in our lifesaving journey, sign up to foster today.

Ruff Start Rescue