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  • Writer's pictureNicola Smith

Fostering or Adopting a Dog! What you need to know

This mixed breed boy is a rescue dog who lives in the Toronto Harbourfront and walks with We Wag Toronto
Alfred the Rescue, Dog Walking Toronto

This week we sat down with Taylor from Fetch and Releash for an Instagram LIVE session discussing everything you need to know about adopting or becoming a foster parent.

It is no secret that the number of new dog parents has been on the rise, mainly because of the COVID lockdown. Dogs that have come into new homes in this period have been given a nickname or term; they are called the COVID dogs or COVID puppies. The demand for these dogs is so high that it is not uncommon to hear that some people are finding it difficult to get a dog at all.

If you are looking or know someone looking at getting a dog and have not considered fostering or adopting before, we encourage you to do so. For first-time dog owners, fostering may be a great way to help a pet and while seeing if having a dog suits your lifestyle.

This article was designed to answer some of the questions you may have when looking to adopt or foster.

Thank you to Taylor, the Adoption Manager at Fetch and Releash, for filling us in on our questions. If you want to see the LIVE video, it can be viewed on We Wag Toronto’s Instagram IGTV section. @wewag.toronto

Photographed below are some of We Wag Toronto's clients who are rescue dogs!


How did your organization begin?

"The founder Morgan started Fetch and Releash because of her past experience adopting a dog. It was a long process that was not made simple. Morgan started this rescue to help simplify the process for other potential dog owners."

Where do you rescue your dogs from?

"Northern Mantitoba is the largest place in Canada. Strays and owner surrenders and also popular. Quebec is another hotspot. Mexico and India are also popular."

What is the adoption process?

"Dogs are posted on the website as they become available with a comprehensive bio, including pertinent details a potential owner may need in choosing a dog for them. Some details include, if a dog is good with cats, if it is good in a condo etc. If someone sees a dog they are interested in they are to fill out a form from the website. Based on the filled out forms there would be a screening interview, a reference check done, and a home visit. If all of that goes well, there would be a meet and greet with the dog."

What is the fostering process?

"The foster process is very similar to the adoption process as far as filling out the online forms and screening.. Fetch and Releash is very accommodating with trying to fullfill certain specifications desired by the foster parent. For example, if someone needs a dog that is a light shedder or under a certain weight class, these are all things that are taken into account when matching. After the screening process, a foster coordinator is assigned to the potential foster parent. The coordinator will reach out as dogs becomes available to see if the time is a good time to take the dog in. The foster coordinator is there as a support system both before the dog is taken in and during. They are there to answer any questions of interest or connect with any support systems needed throughout the process."

How long does a dog stay with a foster?

"That depends on the dog due to factors such as training and health. If the health of the dog is good, they could only be at the foster for as little as two weeks."

Can you be a foster parent if you already have a dog?

"Yes, with Fetch and Releash you can foster a dog when you already have another dog. Allot of times the dogs taken in are used to being around other dogs and having another dog already in the home may help with the adjustment period."

How long is the process to getting a first dog in your home as a foster parent?

"Currently it can be a month at minimum but it depends when dogs are coming in. Fetch and Releash is always looking for fosters."

What is the length of time for fostering?

"Typically the length of time is 2-4 weeks. It can be longer if there are medical or training concerns. If this is the case and a longer stay is needed, the foster parent will be asked if that is something that is possible. "

Besides fostering or adopting what other ways can people help?

"Donations are always needed and welcomed. Receipts are given for tax purposes because Fetch and Releash is a registered charity.

If people are travelling they can help by bringing dogs back to Toronto with them. This is done by letting Fetch and Releash know the destination and date of travel to see if there is a potential pairing and being a flight parent. The dogs are attached to the ticket, the only thing a person needs to do is show up.

If you have any old harnesses or leashes not in use please contact Fetch and Releash because there is always a need.

Food is another great way to help. More dog food / treats are always needed!"


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