Fostering a Gentle Giants for East Coast Gentle Giants Rescue, Inc. 

East Coast Gentle Giants Rescue, Inc is looking for caring, responsible Gentle Giant Breed lovers to join our foster team by opening their homes and their hearts to a rescued Gentle Giant Breed. These Gentle Giants do not 'kennel well' and our foster system allows volunteers to provide our orphans with a home environment in order to evaluate their habits and behaviors. Since volunteers get to know each foster dog "up close and personal", they offer a potential adopter more information about the dog which helps Giant Breed Rescue make a better match between the dog and their adoptive family.

"Foster parents" should be able to make a commitment to spend time with the foster dog and give all the exercise, love, and attention the dog needs -- however long it stays with them.

General Information about Fostering

Foster Care

Fostering is an incredibly rewarding experience that requires a real commitment. The emotional aspects of fostering can be challenging and should be discussed with all of your family members. Oftentimes it can be difficult to see them leave your home for their new home. The wonderful part of fostering is knowing that you played a tremendous and extremely crucial role in getting them there. If you feel that you might not be able to handle a particular situation from start to finish, please say so before taking an animal into your home. Oftentimes people who care about the plight of homeless animals are overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem. It’s true that no one person can save them all…but if you can make a difference in the life of even one animal, your contribution is invaluable!

Fostering includes but is not limited to:

  • applying basic training
  • needing socialization with people, other animals, and children
  • needing to be house broken and crate trained(we require that ALL our foster dogs are crate trained)
  • having a medical need that will require long term care usually 2 months +
  • needing behavior modification or rehabilitation(only for our experienced foster homes)

What is a foster parent? 

A foster parent provides a temporary home for an animal from the shelter, for anywhere from one month to several months. A foster parent must be the type of person who can take home a needy animal, care for it and bond with it, and then be able to let it go to another family.

Who can be a foster parent?

Anyone who is 21 years of age or older and has experience with animals can be a foster parent. Preference is given to those persons who own their home, however, renters will be considered with landlord approval. Also, all pets that are owned by the foster parent must be in good health, up to date on their vaccinations and any necessary heartworm preventative, altered, not aggressive, and licensed by the township. Foster homes must be in compliance with all zoning laws pertaining to the numbers of animals allowed on their property at any given time. The foster parent is responsible for the care and control of the animal at all times while the animal is being fostered.

How do I become a foster parent?

Each foster parent must complete a Foster Home Application, attend an orientation, complete a Foster Home Agreement and attend specific training for the Foster Care Program if necessary.

Is fostering for me? 
Good question. Foster parents should be able to make a commitment to spend time with the foster dog and give them all the training, exercise, love, and attention the dog needs -- however long it stays with them. Sometimes these dogs need special care and that takes time and effort. And then you must be able to say good bye when we find them their own forever family. But know there is great joy in that when the day comes.

One thing of which you need to be fully aware is that fostering is not the “fast track” to adoption. If you foster a dog with the intention of by-passing our standard adoption process, you will find that this is not permissible except in rare instances as deemed appropriate by our coordinator. Foster homes must go through the same process as our adopters and meet the same criteria.

What will I need to do as a foster parent? 
Foster homes are responsible for the daily care of the foster Gentle Giant Breed including feeding, exercising, medicating (as necessary), socializing, brushing and grooming, reinforcing basic obedience commands, observing and evaluating general behavior and temperament. And of course, providing love and security to a special orphan at a difficult time in his or her life when they have lost their former family and home. Our main concern is our dogs safety, that is why emergency situations are NOT taken lightly.  If you feel that you cannot control our rescue dogs, please do not apply to be a foster home.

How long does the dog stay in foster care? 
It varies. Gentle Giant Breeds stay in a foster home from a minimum of a few days to as much as several months, depending on the dog, his/her personality, his/her age, his/her health, and other factors. Generally, if the foster is under age 2 and healthy, they do not stay with the foster family for very long.

Do I need a fenced yard? 
Yes however exceptions ARE made on a case by case basis the fencing requirement applies for fosters just as it does for adopters. Our foster homes must comply with the same requirements as our adoptive homes. Fenced yards ensure that an orphan has the safest possible environment to relieve itself. The dog may be exercised there off leash if your yard is surrounded by a secure fence, but outside the yard the dog must be on leash at all times. You are required to supervise your foster dog outdoors at all times, no exceptions.

Do I have to be with the dog all day? 
No. Many of our foster family members are currently employed full or part-time, yet they still provide a quality environment for the dog. As with adopters, we require that you provide midday relief for a foster dog if you work full time away from home.

Our first concern is safety for you, your family, your own dog(s), and for the rescue dog. Therefore we require that any time the dog's caregiver is unable to directly supervise the foster dog, it must be leashed or confined in a secure area, preferably in a crate.

How much time does it take to be a foster parent? 
At minimum, two hours a day to as much time you can spend with the dog. In some cases, the more quality time you spend with your foster, the more quickly you can prepare it for placement in its forever home. Be prepared though for the first week or two to require more then the minimum time of two hours. Some dogs acclimate quickly to new environments but others are more stressed and traumatized and require more care.

What if I go on vacation? Or if I travel for my job? 
Unfortunately our rescue does not have facilities to temporarily house foster dogs. As a result, foster caregivers often develop support systems to provide care in their absence or they stagger the times when they foster. Some schedule vacations between orphans or find pet sitters or family members to step in when they travel for business. The same provisions that you would make for your own dog would apply to a foster -- with the caveat that if you do plan on boarding your foster please be sure to discuss this with your area coordinator before hand and be sure they have all contact information for the kennel and the kennel has their contact information.  This is important in case we find his/her forever home while you're away.

How much does it cost to foster a dog? 
Lack of funds shouldn't prevent you from fostering, but you will have some expenses: good quality dog food, and any toys you wish to provide. Although necessary veterinary expenses, are paid by our rescue including spay and neuter, vaccines, de-worming, sick calls, heart worm test. Remember, we are a nonprofit organization so anything you donate to your orphan's care will be greatly appreciated(AND CAN BE WRITTEN OFF, WITH A RECEIPT PROVIDED TO US TO GIVE YOU ONE BACK IN RETURN). We have had instances of neglect in our foster homes in the past. If our rescue dog being your foster has to be taken to an emergency vet due to your neglect, you will be responsible for any and all costs and treatments to get the dog back to his/her condition prior to your possession. This is to prevent "accidents" such as the dog getting hit by a car, bit by a snake or attacked by another dog, and blockages(we will NOT cover a blockage as they are 100% preventable with supervision). Please keep this in mind if you are looking into fostering.

May I choose which dog I foster? 
Your Coordinator will work with you to select an appropriate dog. The foster application allows you to specify requirements, such as a foster who must get along with your dogs, cats, or kids.

As a foster, once you take a dog into your home we expect that you will work through any problems that arise unless they are severe. Most rescue dogs are not perfect, so please be aware of this when you are looking into fostering a dog. Some of the dogs may not be fully house broken, might chew etc., and we may not even be aware of this. Should such a situation arise, you must immediately contact your Coordinator. You must also be prepared to give your coordinator a minimum of 5-7 days to find new placement for your foster dog. Remember, we do not have a kennel so it is very unlikely that a coordinator can remove a dog from your home immediately.

Will I become attached to my foster dog? 
Yes, you undoubtedly will. Gentle Giant Breeds bond quickly and they give so much back in return for your attention. But when you meet the new family that's ready to provide a permanent, loving home for the dog you helped rescue, you will feel more than satisfied to see him/her move on to their new, better and permanent life.

Being a foster home is extremely rewarding, but you should keep in mind that some rescue dogs may not be housebroken, may be ill, or may have had little socialization or obedience training. In spite of these challenges, our foster homes have found that when given a chance, Gentle Giant Breeds not only quickly improve, they flourish.

What if I want to adopt the Gentle Giant Breed I am fostering?
If you decide to be a foster parent, it should be with the understanding that you are working toward helping a deserving Gentle Giant Breed prepare for its "forever home", and not with the goal to "try out" a Gentle Giant Breed you may later wish to adopt. We treat fosters and adopters equally. If you think you may wish to adopt your foster, we require you to be approved in the same aspect as an adopter would be with the same stipulations, to include a signed adoption contract and payment of the adoption fee. 

I'd like to foster, what do I do next? 

Once your family has decided together to foster a Gentle Giant Breed, please contact our coordinator to fill out an application. If you send us your evening/weekend phone number, a volunteer will call you back to start the application process with a phone screen. If you meet our preliminary requirements, and mail us a completed Volunteer Application, someone will contact you to schedule a home visit. They will provide more detail about your responsibilities as a foster and answer any questions you may have. If you are approved, you're on your way to helping to prepare a Gentle Giant Breed for its forever home!

Can I adopt out a fostered animal to someone else?

NO! All animals in foster homes continue to be the property of the East Coast Gentle Giants Rescue, and therefore procedures for adoption must be followed. Any person wishing to adopt an animal that you are fostering must completed the adoption application, pass the reference check, vet check, phone interview and home visit to be considered for one of our Gentle Giants. 


Please let us know if you can help us house an orphan Gentle Giant Breed until a permanent "forever home" can be found.
To fill out a Foster Application please CLICK HERE to be redirected to the foster page.