Foster Process

Essentially, the foster process is similar to the adoption process. However, you are being notified about dogs in DCSIR’s custody and care prior to the general public. You will also have the opportunity to ‘try out’ the breed without making a full commitment.  Maybe you are looking for the perfect companion for your current dog. While all dogs take time and effort no matter how perfect they seem, this process allows you to ensure that you have found the perfect friend for Fido, Kitty or the kids in your home! Most importantly, you are saving a life. Sometimes we have a matter of hours to determine whether we can place a dog in a foster home before he/she gets put to sleep. Without foster homes, we could not operate.

Before you apply to foster, please see that you meet these requirements:

  • You must reside in VA/DC/MD and be able to meet monthly driving requirements to:
    • Adoption events
    • Vet appointment (usually just 1)
    • Pick up your dog/supplies and
    • Be available (near your home) for final meet and greets.
    • Never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment.

Due to liability issues, homes with children under 12 years old are not eligible to join the DC SIR foster program. If you do not meet these requirements and would like to volunteer, we have other opportunities available.

Complete the DC SIR Foster Application: You can download the DC SIR Foster Application and follow the instructions to submit the application. All applications should be emailed to our Foster Director: and cc:

Phone Interview: Once we receive a completed Foster Application, a DC SIR volunteer will e-mail you to schedule a phone interview.  We ask that prior to the call you:  1. Have researched the breed 2. Researched our training philosophy and 3. Read our nutritional information. The call will include questions about your current pets and their temperament. The interview will focus on your personal experience with dogs and your current lifestyle, to match the best fit with your experience.

Reference Checks: If we move forward, DC SIR will contact the references/veterinarians listed on your Foster Application to obtain additional information.

Home Visit: Two DCSIR volunteers will coordinate this with you. All parties living in the home must be present for the entire home visit. All pets residing in the home must also be present during the home visit. We may bring a ‘test’ dog to see how they interact with your current pets and family members.

Welcome Documents and Forms: You will be required to read our policies and Foster Guide and complete forms to join the DCSIR Foster group.

DC SIR Foster Listserv: You will be officially added to our active foster mailing list. E-mails are sent out with pictures (when available) of rescued dogs. Sometimes we have mere hours, other times we have several days to pull a dog before s/he gets PTS (put to sleep). Please provide an e-mail address that will be viewed often. We don’t send many e-mails. Please volunteer only if you plan to commit to helping the dog. Most dogs are in a foster home from 2 weeks to 2 months.

Adoption: You may apply to adopt your foster dog after the 2-week assessment. However, you are not guaranteed the dog. You will be required to follow all steps of the adoption process as listed on our adoption page.

DC SIR is a non-profit, volunteer-run network of foster homes in the Washington, DC area.

DC SIR does not have a shelter facility. To meet our adoptable dogs, interested adopters can attend one of our monthly adoption events.