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Motley zoo 


"If just 2% of households fostered pets, we could eliminate unnecessary euthanasia TOMORROW."
- Petco Foundation

What is Fostering? (the short version)


Fostering is the act of hosting an adoptable animal in your home, temporarily.


Through medical care, basic training, pictures, video, promotion and the stories you relay- as well as your foster's attendance at meet & greet or other events- your foster animal will get the exposure he or she needs to be considered by prospective adoptive families.


Our job is to screen and match them to the family that best suits the animals' needs, based on the info your provided- so they can go to a permanent loving home, just like yours.

In the simplest terms, you will change the world for an animal in need, without changing too much of your own.

See below for the answers to most questions you may have.

Check out this great foster training orientation from Petcademy which will help you understand the roles and expectations of fostering animals. This is a great start to introduce you to what fostering is like.

Ultimately, Motley Zoo will provide further training and information to support the more specific ideals, strategies, techniques and policies we have which build on the overall foundation Petcademy has curated!


Foster FAQs (the detailed version)

Below are some FAQs about the rewards of fostering. If you have additional questions, feel free to email us.


Why should I consider fostering animals?
  • Fostering animals is an exceptionally rewarding experience! You will not regret the decision to foster- even if you just do it once

  • Don’t think you “can’t”- give it a try, you just might LOVE it!

  • Fostering can increase your knowledge and understanding of animal behavior, including with your own pets

  • The knowledge you glean will help you with other animals in the future, whether or not you continue to foster

  • Fostering teaches selflessness and empathy, especially to impressionable children who are exploring ways in which they can impact the world in a positive way

  • Children typically enjoy fostering because “new is novel”- meeting the next foster animal is always exciting! We have seen very few kids cry, but the adults…that’s another story! 

  • Go into fostering as though you are pet sitting an owned animal- they already have a home and it’s not an option for you to keep them. We just don’t know who will be coming to pick them, or when!

  • You will get attached to your foster animals, but that doesn’t mean you cannot let them go

    • We encourage you to let the first foster be adopted, so you can experience the entire reward of your efforts

  • Adopting out your foster is like giving the best gift to a treasured friend or family member

    • When you see the look a kid’s face when he gets his first puppy- or the elderly person who is lonely without their new kitty to comfort them, you will NOT be sad!

  • You can help more animals if you don’t keep them all

  • Fosters help keep animals out of the shelters, thereby decreasing the number of animals euthanized, especially for time and space

  • Fostering allows an animal a loving home “unless and until” they find a permanent one

  • Fostering doesn’t require great resources of time or money- just a commitment to save the life of an animal

  • 10 minutes spent with you is better than any spent in a scary place, all alone. Many animals find shelters stressful even when they are very nice ones. As awesome as they can be and as necessary as shelters are, their capacity for care will never match the comfort a home environment can provide any animal.

Who can foster animals?

The answer is just about anyone, really! Fosters are people just like you.

  • People who have jobs- even full time hours

    • We will work to match the type of animal with your hours

    • For example, if you work 10 hours days and cannot go home for lunch, a puppy would not be a good idea without a dog walker or dog daycare as an option- but perhaps an adult dog or a cat could work

  • People who live in apartments, condos and rented homes

    • As long as you have paid any necessary deposits and fees for adopting, you should be able to foster

    • When breaching the subject with your landlord, we suggest simply noting that you will be adopting, rather than fostering

    • For whatever reason, we have found landlords fear the idea of fostering, even when adopting is otherwise unrestricted.

    • We will not contact your landlord for permission, but we fully expect that you are allowed to have pets in some capacity if you agree to foster.

      • For example, once you have paid any deposits, etc, there is no real difference if you have one dog, forever, or foster 3 dogs over the period of a year

      • You should already be responsible for any damage you incur as a result of living there, whether or not you foster

      • We have rules about how to manage your animals to minimize any impact on your living space

    • We don’t want anyone to be evicted for fostering, naturally, so please consider all of this and proceed at your own risk- but we have yet to have a problem even in apartment complexes

  • People with other pets

    • Who better to foster animals than those that already love them!

    • For the most part, what you do for your own animals, works just fine for a foster animal

    • There are some rules and guidelines to follow in regards to any differences in how you manage the foster animal compared to your own

    • We will provide you a foster animal we believe is a good match for you and your pets, though there may be some supervision and or adjustments during any transition period

  • Families with kids, abiding by the following restrictions:

      • Due to safety concerns, we can only foster dogs in homes with children who are over the age of 5yrs.

      • Families with kids under 5yrs and at our discretion, can foster cats, kittens or other small animals.

      • Families with kids under 5yrs can adopt dogs however, as the liability of ownership is transferred to the family, rather than remaining with us

What is my responsibility as a foster?
  • You are a caretaker for our foster animal, but you have no ownership rights

    • Your goal is to help animals become more “adoptable” through:

      • Structure

      • Guidance

      • Training

      • Exercise

    • You treat the animal like one of your own-with some restrictions- until a permanent home is found.

    • You are responsible for our animals’ care and safety, so take this seriously

    • Although MZar is ultimately liable for the animal, we expect that fosters will behave in safe, prudent ways with careful regard for liability

      • Any issues of liability may cost MZar hard earned funds, which costs animals their lives

      • Err on the side of caution and don’t take chances!

    • You are a caretaker for our foster animal, but you have no ownership rights

    • Because you do not have ownership rights, you are not allowed to make decisions about, nor treat, change/ alter our foster animals in any way, without specific instruction and permission from an authorized MZar representative. This includes:

      • Vet care or surgeries

      • Grooming changes

      • Rehoming/ moving the animal

    • You are required to adhere to a specific, proven protocol of vet care, which will be outlined to you and is also known by/ available to our vets

    • No one, especially a vet, should direct you to act on your own accord, nor contradict our specific instructions

        • If anyone, including a vet, attempts to have you deviate from this protocol, contact us immediately!

        • Although vets are educated, and it may seem correct to follow a vet’s advice, they may not understand why as a rescue, we may choose to treat and animal in a way that may differ from the perspective of an owner.

          • The vets’ specific advice may be more costly than necessary

          • The treatments may be too long term, not focused on rehoming as a priority

          • Treatments may involve “off label” use of medications- meaning a medication that is safe and used for one ailment, may be applied to others, although that may not be its specific purpose

        • If you have questions or are unsure of how to proceed during a vet visit, contact us immediately!


How long do foster pets stay?
    • Foster animals typically stay about 3-6 weeks, though this may vary depending on:

      • Species

      • Age

      • Size

      • Breed

      • Color

      • Health

      • Time of year

      • Sometimes all and/ or none of the above

    • Fostering is not a commitment to a set amount of time, rather it is a commitment to rehoming the animal

    • The goal is to see the animal through to its new home, however long that may take- of course, barring unusual circumstances, emergencies and vacations

What if there is an emergency or I am going on vacation?
  • Please notify us as soon as you know you may be leaving town- even if it’s just a possibility

  • Do not commit to taking a foster animal if you will be leaving within 2 weeks’ time

    • One exception would be if you were “boarding” for a foster who is currently on vacation and you know the arrangement is finite

  • Do not take your foster pet away for the weekend/ on vacation, nor have someone else babysit them, without asking permission from us!

      • We need to know where our animals are- and they must be accessible to us- at all times!

How long does it take to get my first foster animal?
    • From the time you turn in your application, it could be a day, a week or perhaps a couple weeks until you get your first foster animal, depending on the needs of the animals we are requested to take in

    • The idea is: saving lives is a good thing to do any time, and that while it can be a little scary at first, sometimes you don’t have much time to prepare

    • You will likely not be able to meet your foster before they are placed with you because we cannot accept them in, unless we have a home we’re taking them in to

    • With our experience and the information you have provided us about your family and your pets, we can match you with a foster animal that should suit just fine

    • Many time, first time fosters take on animals that have already been in our care (take over for another foster that goes on vacation, etc), so we truly know a lot about them already and can gauge a high chance for success

What if my foster animal is not a good fit?
  • Although fostering is temporary, it is not like trying on shoes where you can cycle through animals until you find one that’s “just right”

  • Issues of “long term compatibility” are irrelevant, since besides being temporary in nature, part of your role as a foster is to work with animals to help them adapt and become more adoptable- not to give them back if they are not perfect for you

  • The important thing to remember is that fostering is saving the pet’s life. Some matters can be a challenge, but overcoming them is far more rewarding than giving up!

  • If something “bothers” you about a foster, it will likely bother an adopter. The point then is to help the pet work through this, so that they have a better opportunity at finding a home.

  • Remember: fostering is temporary!

  • Without your help, the animal would not be alive at all!

  • We do not have other fosters just waiting to take over for you- we only take in animals when we have foster homes lined up for them

  • We do not move animals unnecessarily as this can cause them stress when they are trying to settle in

    • Unnecessary movements might be if you have a “busy weekend” but will not actually be leaving town.

    • It is perfectly acceptable for your foster animal to remain at home, when you are able to address their basic needs (especially if your own animals will be staying too), but may not be able to spend specific time with them

    • An exception would be when you are unable to attend an adoption event, as we still need your foster present as often as possible

    • Other arrangements may be made for the night, or weekend so that your foster can attend an event and interview with potential new families

  • If you do need a foster animal moved from your home, we will work together to make a plan for that to happen as soon as possible, but it will likely, not be immediate

    • Please be patient when you have made such a request

  • If your foster animal has done something dangerous or the situation is clearly unsafe for your family, we will, of course, remove the animal from your home.

  • We want fostering to be a fun and safe experience for all and we work hard to make that possible

  • You will not be alone through this experience either way- we are here to help and guide you- just ask!

  • You will be able to attend dog training classes, free of charge, at our Studio

    • Fosters’ own dogs can attend for 50% off

  • Foster dogs can attend Rock Star Treatment Daycare when:

      • The dog is at least 8 weeks of age

      • After a negative fecal test is performed and confirmed

      • Vaccines are current for the dogs’ age


Who pays for the animals’ vet care?
  • Motley Zoo pays for all necessary vet care

  • Most often we fully vet the pets prior to placing them with you, including:

  • spay/neuter

  • vaccines

  • microchip

  • sometimes dentals (if applicable) and/ or any other required surgery or procedure

  • There will be times however when a pet still needs a vet visit or procedure that cannot be completed before placing them with you

  • Grooming may be considered medically necessary and is likely covered by the rescue, but please ask first if this is a requirement for your foster

    • Please remember that it saves money- therefore lives- if you can attend to some general bathing yourself

  • You will likely be required to assist with ongoing vet care- scheduling visits at your convenience

  • You are expected to provide transportation for the animals

    • If this is not an option, please discuss with us

    • We can sometimes do carpools with other fosters and volunteers

  • In any emergency, we will cover the medical care!

  • Please try and get a hold of us, even in the middle of the night

  • If the situation is truly dire, don’t wait before heading to the vet!

  • If we cannot be reached for some reason, the vet can either bill us, or you can pay the bill and we will reimburse you.

What about other necessities, such as food and supplies?
  • Fosters typically donate the pet’s food, however we often have donations available for your use!

  • Please ask for assistance in this area, especially if you feel this would be a barrier to fostering

  • Fostering is not at all about how much you may or may not have!

  • If you do buy necessities for your foster, such as medications or supplements that we have approved, keep track of receipts!

    • You can apply for reimbursement when you provide the receipt

    • You could instead write these expenses off on your taxes for charitable donations.

    • Both are dependent on your due diligence

    • At your request, we will provide you and “in kind” (a blank receipt you fill in the value amount), for items donated.

  • Other equipment will be provided, such as:

    • Leash

    • Collar (we require you to use a specific kind)

    • Crate

    • Bedding

    • Bowls

    • Toys

  • If you are provided equipment it’s because we require you to use it!

    • The items we provide can make fostering easier and more enjoyable

  • You are welcome to purchase items to use and/ or send with your fosters, but keep in mind:

      • This will get expensive over time

      • Adopters often like to pick out their own new things for their new animal

      • A card or letter telling the new family about your experience is just as nice


Will I be compensated for my time, or will other expenses be covered?
    • Fostering is absolutely a volunteer only opportunity

    • We currently do not offer paid positions in the rescue, even for Board members and core crew who work full time

    • Mileage is driven to and from vet appointments, events and other MZar based trips is deductible

    • Miles can be written off for 14 cents a mile

    • This is based on your due diligence of recording your odometer readings, not just trip length

    • You do not need a receipt for this.

    • Other expenses such as parking, tolls or other incidentals will not be covered


What are any other do’s and don’ts for fostering?
  • Don’t trust the animals until you know them!

    • Just as you’d not invite a stranger off the street into your home and let them wander or hang out while you left to run errands- do not let your foster roam around or be out, uncrated/ contained when you are not available to supervise

    • At best they might make a mess

    • At worst, they could choke, get an obstruction or die

    • The rule is: when you are gone or sleeping, the animal is contained/ crated properly (according to our requirements)

  • All animals are to be housed/ kept indoors!

    • Cats are NOT allowed outside at all- even on harnesses

      • Harnesses are typically ill fitting and the cat may still get away

      • Cats honestly, usually do not like this anyway

    • Foster dogs should not be left outside alone- even in a fenced yard

      • Many dogs get anxious or scared when left alone and may try and dig or jump a fence

      • Someone might go into the yard and either:

        • take the dog

        • perhaps get injured or bitten

        • either could likely yield the dog’s demise

      • Foster dogs must remain on leash at all times!

        • Many dogs have come to us as strays, running away from homes they have had for years

        • A few days or weeks- or even forever- may not be enough for your foster dog to be trustworthy off-leash-

        • Some dogs will never be good off-leash

        • The leash is in your hands at all times

        • When your foster dog has gotten more comfortable, you can use a “drag leash” in and out of the house

      • Foster dogs cannot go to the dog park!

        • Unfortunately the dog park is a huge risk for adoptable dogs, no matter how well behaved they may be

        • It’s not our foster dogs that we worry about- it’s others’ dogs that may not be friendly or well trained

        • When a dog without a home gets in a fight, it’s much worse for that dog than when an owned one does

            • The adoptable dog will always lose the battle in terms of who is “right”

            • The adoptable dog may need to be euthanized for such a problem

What if I just can’t let the foster go? Can I adopt the animal?
  • YES!

  • We encourage you, especially the first time, to try not so that you get the full experience and reward of fostering.

  • Letting the pets go is part of the joy- even if you may be sad too.

  • You should never keep a foster because:

    • You think they won’t adjust to a new home

    • You think they are too attached to you

  • You should only keep a foster animal when they are your “dream” animal and you don’t already have too many pets!

  • Foster animals are very resilient

  • Once you teach them how to trust and bond, it’s easier for them to do this again

  • Just as they adjusted to you and your home, they will to another

  • You may have “your quota” of animals already and it would not be wise to add more


The most important thing to keep in mind is what is best for the dog. You will not regret giving a foster away- and you probably won’t regret keeping…it just depends on how things go for you. The key rule: What is best for the pet always, is the home available and ready, TODAY.


We provide the vetting care and costs, and just about everything you need. We don’t want finances to stand in the way of you being able to save lives. Food can most often be provided, though generous donations from supporters and partnering pet stores. Basically, helping these pets really costs you nothing- and the rewards are endless! You will be amazed that the life changed by fostering a pet, may very well be your own.

People often think if they have a pet already, or kids, they cannot foster- this simply isn’t true! Most of our fosters have more than one pet, and many have kids…fostering is a great experience for kids, teaching them empathy and generosity…they learn how to give and think about others in a new way…one that stays with them forever! We’ve seen one kid cry once…the adults however are a bit more emotional!

Many people ask how we can do this, without getting too attached, or being sad- but it’s exactly because we love the animals that much that we do this work! To us it is far more sad when animals stay in our care too long- then when they find loving homes quickly - it means no one sees them the way we do; no one loves them as we do…that’s what makes us sad! 


Watching your foster pet go to their new home is like giving the best present you can give- the happy family, full of smiles will be all the convincing you need.

Motley Zoo can only help animals that we have foster homes ready and available for - YOU determine who we can help.


Of course we want that to be as many animals as possible - start your journey of saving lives today, and we’ll guide you down this rewarding path of self discovery!

More more information about how to get involved, send us an email at!  Questions specifically about kitties?  Shoot us an email at, to get a hold of one of our feline experts!

A Guide to Animal Adoption Photography


We get it: taking good pictures of your fast-moving little fur-babies isn't always the easiest thing.  When you're fostering an animal though, it's crucial that you work to take as many good photos as possible, so your animal can be "shown off to the world" in the very best light!  The goal of fostering is that your animals find forever home - and without good photos representative of your fosters, they might go overlooked. 


It's like if you see a "for sale by owner" listing for a home, where the photos are dark, under-exposed, poorly framed, likely move right along to the next listing, looking for a property with that visual "wow!" factor.  The same goes with adoption listings for our animals - we want them highlighted in a way that attracts potential adopters' attention - meaning they find their forever home and family that much more quickly! 

Learn to take awesome photos of your foster animal

Check out this comprehensive and helpful guide to animal adoption photography hints from our friends at Adobe!


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