Pet Harbor Rescue, P.O. Box 73, Bowling Green, VA 22427

(703) 583-HSKY

Foster Home Guidelines




Pet Harbor and the animals in its care very much appreciate foster homes.  They are a rare commodity, and every foster home is quite special to us.  We do, of course, have guidelines that must be followed so things can run smoothly.  If there is a guideline with which you have a dispute, talk to us.  To the extent we are able, we are flexible! The guidelines are not meant to discourage fostering.   We strongly encourage fostering!  They are meant to make sure the care of our pets is held to the highest standards.  We thank you enormously from the bottom of our human, canine, and feline hearts for taking the time to read through all of this paperwork and for considering fostering.

  • Foster families will comply with all national, state, and local regulations and housing development or association rules concerning keeping a pet, including, but not limited to, zoning regulations regarding numbers of animals allowed per home of the jurisdiction in which the family resides and any rules set forth by the owner of the home if the owner is other than the foster family.
  • No member of the foster household may have ever been charged with cruelty to animals.
  • Foster families will complete a Pet Harbor foster application for and have a home visit. If you are an adopter, that home visit is sufficient, but to satisfy state requirements, we need to have the foster application on file for you to be able to foster.
  • Foster families must provide transportation for foster dogs to as many of Pet Harbor’s scheduled events as possible. If transportation is difficult, we will do our best to work with the foster families on that.  It’s particularly important when we have applicants prearranged to come to an event to meet particular pets that the fostered pet appear.  At this time, most events are in Fredericksburg or Fairfax, VA areas.  There are occasional meet & greet sessions to which foster families will have to bring the pets to Bowling Green outside of scheduled events, but those are limited.  Scheduling of those will be arranged with the foster parents and at times convenient to the foster families.
  • Foster families leave their foster animal(s) at the start of the Pet Harbor events and retrieve them after the event. We encourage foster families to stay at events and meet & greet sessions to answer questions about the pets, but Pet Harbor reserves the right to ask that they not remain. It has been our experience that sometimes foster families, understandably, act inappropriately biased at events, and we have found it necessary to have many times had to ask them to leave the pets at events and pick them up after events.
  • Foster families are responsible for taking animals to Pet Harbor-approved veterinarians. Pet Harbor will pay for preapproved veterinary expenses. However, these visits must be approved by Pet Harbor and appointments set by Pet Harbor administration.  Pet Harbor will do its very best to make the appointment location and time convenient for the foster family, but because we are a nonprofit operating on donations, they have to be cost-comparable to the veterinarians we already use.


  • Pet Harbor provides monthly flea and heartworm preventative. If you know the pet you are fostering is due and Pet Harbor administration has not mentioned it, it’s just forgotten. Please remind them in time to get you the meds.


  • Foster families are absolutely encouraged to update Pet Harbor with any information to add or delete to the animal’s biography and pictures and videos that will assist in the adoption promotion.


  • Foster families follow similar rules to those adopting pets, such as foster homes must have an adequately fenced yard or provide adequate exercise.


  • We encourage foster families to provide us with people who may be interested in adopting. However, that does not guarantee adoption. They have to go through the same adoption process adoptive applicants do.  While we welcome private input from foster families, Pet Harbor’s board of directors renders all adoption decisions.


  • Foster families may refuse to accept a foster animal at any time. Animals available to be placed in foster care will be selected by Pet Harbor with input from the fostering family. Pet Harbor will attempt to make the best matches based on the foster family’s application and Pet Harbor’s knowledge of the foster family’s particular situation and knowledge of the dog and the need.  Once the foster family accepts a pet for fostering, it is expected that family will foster the pet until the pet is adopted.  If an issue or problem arises, please notify Pet Harbor management right away for suggestions.


  • All animals placed in foster homes remain the property of Pet Harbor. Pet Harbor may remove the animal from the foster home at any time if the animal care is in question or the agreement is violated.


  • All materials (leash, collar, carrier, etc.) coming to the foster home with the animal remain the property of Pet Harbor.


  • In the instance when a foster family feels compelled to try and adopt a foster animal, standard adoption procedures are followed. The family must complete an adoption application, be approved, and make the same donation any applicant would. More animals could be saved with fostering than with adoption.  If at the time of the foster family’s adoption application we have approved applicants waiting to meet said pet, the foster family’s application will be processed after those applicants meet the pet.


  • Although Pet Harbor has made every possible effort to provide accurate information concerning the animals in foster care, Pet Harbor makes no warranties of any kind regarding the temperament, training, or behavior of said animal. Pet Harbor is not liable for any actions of the animal or costs, expenses, damages in connection with said pet’s conduct with the exception of those medical expenses preapproved by Pet Harbor and other items provided as they are donated (such as at times food, bowls, shampoo, bed, leash, crate, toys, etc.).
  • If a foster family travels, the foster family is responsible for making arrangements for the Pet Harbor pet and all boarding or pet sitting costs incurred therein. Foster family will notify Pet Harbor any time this occurs and will provide Pet Harbor contacts as emergency contacts. Pet Harbor can ask the volunteer base for temporary foster coverage, but there might be no response.