Foster Manual

The foster manual is the go-to guide for information about your foster dog!
Please read this in full before applying to foster.

Section 1 – Introduction

Thank you so much for your interest in fostering pets for The Labelle Foundation in Los Angeles. By opening up your home to foster pets, you’re not only helping to save lives, you’re providing the individual attention and love these dogs desperately need.

Once you have completed your foster application online, our foster coordinator will get in touch with you to move on to the next steps. Please consult this manual in full before applying and save any questions until the foster coordinator reaches out to you. 

Our dog foster program is designed to help dogs from local California shelters get a second chance at finding a home — a chance they may not have received at a shelter. Many of the dogs who need foster homes require extra care and attention, which shelters often don’t have the staff or resources to provide. But in a loving foster home, every dog can get the individual attention he or she needs to find a forever family.

Foster homes are asked to provide care for the dogs, as well as transportation to and from veterinary appointments as needed, transport to meet and greets, and transportation to The Labelle Depot when needed. Care for foster dogs includes feeding according to size and needs, exercise according to energy levels, and lots of play time and positive socialization. 

Although fostering is a lot of work, it is a very rewarding experience. By participating in this program, you are saving lives and helping many different types of dogs find the families they’ve been longing for. Through fostering, we can work together to save all the animals in need.

Is The Labelle Foundation a shelter?

No, we are a foster based rescue organization. We do not have a shelter facility, nor do we receive government funding. We rely solely on donations and adoption fees to fund our medical, supplies, training, and staffing. We are a registered 501(c)3  EIN: 83-0882287

Where do the foster dogs come from?

The dogs who are in need of foster care come to us from two different situations:

Shelter rescue. The Labelle Foundation takes in animals from local shelters in Los Angeles County, Kern County, Riverside County, and several other shelters within California. Our rescue program specialised in medical dogs, pregnant mother dogs, and orphaned and neonatal babies. We want to save as many lives as possible, and the foster program allows us to maximize our resources.

Owner Surrender. This is when an owner finds themselves in tough life circumstances when they can no longer provide for a suitable quality of life for the animal. They choose to surrender the dog to us so that the dog never has to go to the shelter and we can find it a new furever home! 

Adoption Return. At The Labelle Foundation we make a lifetime commitment to every animal we rescue. This means that if, for any reason, an adopter can no longer keep a pet he or she adopted from us, we require that the pet comes back to The Labelle Foundation. If the pet ends up at a shelter, we will pick the animal up and take the animal back. While this is rare and we work very hard to make sure adopters can commit to keeping the animal for their entire lifetime, it occasionally does happen.

What do foster families need to provide?

Foster families need to provide:

  • A healthy and safe environment for their foster dogs.
  • Transportation to and from the adoption events and all vet appointments as needed.
  • Socialization and cuddle time to help teach dogs positive family and pet relationships.
  • Lots of exercise and positive stimulation to help them develop into great dogs. 
  • If you have the resources to provide additional supplies such as a crate, bed, food, pee pads and toys we would greatly appreciate it! 

How much time do I need to spend with a foster dog?

As much time as you can. With that said, the amount of time will vary depending on the energy level and needs of the dog you are fostering. It is ideal to spend around two hours a day exercising and playing with your foster dog to ensure that he or she receives adequate socialization and stimulation. The pets cannot be left alone for more than 4 hours at a time.

Can I foster a dog if I don’t have a fenced yard?

Yes. Even if you do have a fenced yard, we request that you supervise all outdoor activities with the foster dog. And we ask that you always keep him or her on a leash when you’re on walks. Dog parks can be a great way to let your dog socialise and play — if approved. Dogs must be fully vaccinated before going on walks in public areas or to dog parks. Please consult with someone from the Labelle Foundation before taking your dog to the dog park as not all dogs are “dog park dogs.”

How long will the dog need to be in foster care?

Ideally, foster dogs stay in their assigned foster homes until they get adopted. We do not have a boarding location to house animals overnight, so these dogs rely on foster homes as their home between homes. We respectfully ask that fosters commit to at least two weeks unless otherwise agreed upon.

How can I find out more information about my foster?

Please contact your foster coordinator to find out more information on your dog! Please be aware it may take us a little while to get back to you with information from their paperwork. A lot of times the paperwork information does NOT provide us background information about where the dog came from, how big they will get, or breed. We will provide as much information as we can but please be aware that we may not have the information you are looking for.

People are contacting me about adopting or fostering from The Labelle Foundation, what do I tell them?


  • Tell them about the dog you are fostering and any helpful information 
  • Encourage them to apply online through our website
  • Contact your foster coordinator if it is a close family member or friend so we can be sure to flag their application. 
  • Advocate for the dog and let us know what type of home the dog would do best in! 


  • DO NOT schedule meet and greets without expressed consent from your foster coordinator. 
  • DO NOT give your foster dog to anyone else interested in adopting or fostering including friends, family, and neighbors
  • DO NOT give them the foster coordinators phone number without expressed consent from the coordinator. 
  • DO NOT promise people the animals. The Labelle Foundation reserves complete rights to choose the adopter for the dog. 

Will I need to give medicine to my foster dog?

Almost all of the dogs that we have in our foster program are rescued from shelters and have been exposed to shelter illnesses. While we do our best to ensure that we are aware of all the conditions that a foster dog may have prior to going home, many illnesses have incubation periods, meaning symptoms can arise after you take a dog home. So while some dogs do not require any medicine, others may. If your foster dog needs medications, we can show you how to administer them before you take the animal home.

How often do I need to check in with my foster coordinator?

You need to check in with your foster coordinator every 72 hours at least. Please send your foster coordinator any pictures, information, or updates you have about your foster pup! Your foster coordinator will help schedule vet appointments and attempt to answer any medical questions you may have.

Can I name my foster animal?

Please ask your foster coordinator if you can name your foster animal. A lot of dogs come with names they are accustomed to and should keep that name. If the dog does not have a name then please work with your foster coordinator to choose a name. Once the name has been selected please DO NOT rename the dog or post on social media with a different name then the agreed upon name. It confuses applicants.

What if my foster dog is sick?

As mentioned above some dogs come to us with illness and we will try to the best of our ability to make sure you are equipped to handle any medical situations that may arise. We have partnered with ModernAnimal to provide 24/7 telemedicine vet appointments for all fosters through the ModernAnimal app. Please download that app to speak with a vet. If your dog needs to go to the vet, please contact your foster coordinator because we only cover vet appointments within our network. DO NOT vaccinate, microchip, or approve any medical decisions for the foster dog without the expressed consent of The Labelle Foundation.  

Dogs generally do a good job of masking when they don’t feel well, so determining if your foster dog is under the weather will require diligent observation of the dog’s daily activity and appetite levels. It’s a good idea to keep track of these levels in a journal. You’ll also want to record any of the following symptoms, which could be signs of illness.

Common illnesses in foster dogs: 

  • Kennel Cough. This is very common for dogs coming from the shelter. It sounds like raspy cough, sneezing, or a moist cough, and can sound different in many dogs. Please film it when you see the dog doing this and send it to your foster coordinator so that they may schedule you a vet appointment. Kennel cough is contagious to other dogs so please be mindful if you have other pets in the home. 
  • Worms. We almost always deworm the dogs as soon as they come from the shelter, unless they are too young. For this reason they may start shed the worms on the lining of their stomach and you will see it in their poop. Their stomachs may be bloated and they may have diarrhea. While it may be unexpected and unappealing to deal with it should end within 3 to 5 days. The worms cannot transfer to humans and should be disposed of in plastic bags to avoid other animals getting into them. 
  • Lethargy/Not eating. This is the most common ailment seen in dogs during the first 48 to 72 hours of being in foster. Please give the dog time to adjust and sleep as they have just come from stressful environments. If they are persisting to not eat after the first 24 hours please feed the dog boiled chicken and rice. If the lethargy persists for more than 72 hours please consult your foster coordinator. 
  • Eye discharge. It is normal for dogs to have some discharge from their eyes when they wake up and some may have more than others, depending on the breed. But if your foster dog has yellow or green discharge, or swelling around the eyes (making it hard for him to open his eyes), or the third eyelid is showing, you need to contact the foster coordinator to schedule a vet appointment.
  • Dehydration. Dehydration is usually associated with diarrhea, vomiting and/or loss of appetite. To test for dehydration, gently pinch the dog’s skin around the scruff (neck)  area. If the skin stays taut, the dog is dehydrated. Please call the foster coordinator the next business day to schedule a vet appointment.
  • Vomiting. Sometimes dogs will eat too quickly and will immediately throw up their food. Occasional vomiting isn’t cause for alarm, but if your foster dog has thrown up two or more times in one day, please notify the foster coordinator. It could be indicative of infection.
  • Pain or strain while urinating. When a dog first goes into a foster home, he or she may not urinate due to stress. If the dog hasn’t urinated in more than 24 hours, however, please contact the foster coordinator. Also, if you notice the dog straining to urinate with little or no results, or crying out when urinating, please contact the foster coordinator immediately because it may be indicative of an infection or an obstruction.
  • Diarrhea. It is important to monitor your foster dog’s pooping habits daily. Soft stool is normal for the first two or three days after taking a dog home, most likely caused by stress and a change in food. If your foster dog has liquid stool, however, please contact the foster department so that an appointment can be scheduled to ensure that the dog doesn’t need medications. Keep in mind that diarrhea will dehydrate the dog, so be proactive about contacting the foster coordinator. If your foster dog has bloody or mucoid diarrhea, please contact the foster coordinator immediately. An upset stomach is very common within the first few days as the dog is transitioning food and adjusting to a new home. Pumpkin or sweet potatoe puree can help ease an upset stomach. Add a tablespoon on top of food morning and night. 
  • Frequent ear scratching. Your foster dog may have a bacterial or yeast infection (or, in rare cases, ear mites) if she scratches her ears often and/or shakes her head frequently. These conditions can be treated by a veterinarian, so please call the foster coordinator to schedule a medical appointment.

Can I let my foster dog play with my personal pets?

There are a few guidelines that we ask foster families to adhere to regarding their personal pets. While foster dogs playing with other pets is often fine, we advise that you consult with your veterinarian before fostering to ensure that all of your personal pets are healthy and up-to-date on all vaccines. Dogs in shelters are very susceptible to illness and can carry or catch different diseases. If, for any reason, your personal pet becomes ill while you are fostering for The Labelle Foundation, we cannot provide medical care for your personal pet.

What if I want to adopt my foster dog?

First time Labelle fosters may NOT adopt their foster animal. If you are not a first time foster parent, please let the Labelle Foundation know within 72 hours if you plan to adopt the dog. If you want to adopt a foster dog, you will need to complete an adoption application and follow the full adoption process. If you do decide you want to adopt your foster dog, please contact the foster coordinator right away because once the dog is up for adoption, we cannot hold him/her for anyone, including the foster parent. The Labelle Foundation reserves the right to reject a foster from adopting a dog, if it is not a right fit for the long term. Just because you are an approved foster does not mean you are an approved adopter.

Who will take care of my foster dog if I need to go out of town?

If you have travel plans while you are fostering a dog for The Labelle Foundation, you will need to contact the foster coordinator to find another foster in a timely manner. Please provide at least one week’s notice to ensure that we can find another home for the dog. If your trip is over a holiday, please provide a minimum of two weeks’ notice. If adequate notice is not given, you may be asked to provide payment for your foster dog’s boarding.

You cannot leave your foster dog with an unauthorized person or pet sitter. We have a specific application process for fosters and for legal reasons all fosters need to be approved and in contact with us.

What if my foster dog bites me?

If any of your foster pets bite you and break skin, causing you to bleed, you need to report the bite to the foster coordinator within 24 hours of when the bite occurred. The law requires that we report all bites. The teeth of the animal, not the nails, must have broken the skin. If you are unsure, then please report the bite anyway.

What if my foster dog is not working out?

You are not required to continue to foster a dog if you feel it’s not working out. However, we may not have an immediate alternate foster home for the dog. As mentioned above, we don’t have our own overnight boarding facility so we rely on foster partners. We will work on moving your foster dog out as soon as possible, but ask for your understanding and patience. Please call the foster coordinator during business hours if this situation arises and allow for a minumum of 24 hours for the team to find a new foster placement. 

Can I take my foster dog on walks or to friends houses?

If your foster dog is under 8 weeks old they must stay in your home and they may not have contact with other dogs that are unvaccinated and may not go on public grass areas where other dogs are. For dogs that are older than 8 weeks please ask your foster coordinator how many vaccines they have had before bringing them around other dogs or on walks in public areas. Dogs must have received 3 vaccines before they can go to dog parks, walk in public areas, and be around other dogs. If you have further questions please contact your foster coordinator.

Can I foster a dog to fulfill a community service obligation?

Unfortunately, The Labelle Foundation  cannot sign off on court-ordered community service hours for fostering. Community service is supposed to be supervised work, and fostering is unsupervised, since it takes place in your home. If you need community service hours for school or a club then please email or contact your foster coordinator to sign off on the hours. 

Section 2 – Preparing For Your Foster Dog

When you take your foster dog home, they may be frightened or unsure about what’s happening, so it’s important not to overwhelm them. Prepare a special area for the foster dog to help ease their adjustment into a new home environment. Sometimes it is better to confine the foster dog to a small room or area at first, to let them adjust before giving them free rein in your home. This area should be large enough for an appropriately sized crate for the dog and should allow the dog access to their food, water dishes, and toys.

We request that all foster dogs be housed indoors only. A garage, backyard or outdoor run is not a suitable accommodation for a foster dog.

During the first couple of days, minimize the people and pet introductions to your foster dog, so that she is only meeting immediate family and your personal pets. If you have other pets at home, it is especially important to give your foster dog a space of their own where they can stay while getting used to all the new sounds and smells. Don’t leave your foster dog unattended in your home with your personal pets until you are comfortable that all of the animals can interact safely.

Supplies you’ll need

The Labelle Foundation will provide you with any supplies that you may need. However, we greatly appreciate any help that you can provide in supplying items for your foster dog. Here’s what you’ll need to help your foster dog make a smooth transition to living in your home:

  • At least one bowl for dry food and one for water: Stainless steel or ceramic work best.
  • A supply of dry dog food: All dogs are fed dry food unless a special diet is needed. We recommend grain free wet food for puppies and grain free kibble, or raw food for adult dogs. 
  • A collar with an ID tag and a leash: Even though foster dogs are microchipped, they still need an ID tag which we will provide 
  • A soft place to sleep: Old towels or blankets work well.
  • A baby gate: This comes in handy to keep certain areas of your home off-limits.
  • A crate: The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around in, but not much bigger than that.
  • Dog treats: Giving treats is a good way to help train and build a positive relationship with your foster dog.
  • Dog toys: Make sure the toys are durable and appropriate for the size of your foster dog.
  • Grooming supplies: A well-groomed dog has a better chance of getting adopted.

As a reminder all supplies given to fosters are property of the Labelle Foundation and must be returned. We will provide supplies for fosters but not for adopters. We are able to give some food supplies to adopters to help transition but cannot provide crates, beds or anything else. We need supplies returned for more foster babies like the one you’re fostering!

Dog-proofing your home

Foster dogs come from a shelter environment, and even if they have previously lived in a home, we don’t always know how they will react in a new home. So, before bringing home a new foster dog, you’ll want to survey the area where you are going to keep your foster dog. Remove anything that would be unsafe or undesirable for the dog to chew on, and latch securely any cupboards and doors that the foster dog could get into. 

“People food” and chemicals can be very harmful if consumed by dogs, so please store them in a place that the foster dog cannot access.

Never underestimate your foster dog’s abilities. Here are some additional tips for dog-proofing your home:

  • Make sure that all trash cans are covered or latched and keep them inside a closet. (Don’t forget the bathroom trash bins.)
  • Keep the toilet lids closed.
  • Keep both people and pet food out of reach and off all counter tops.
  • Move houseplants or secure them. Some dogs like to play with them and may knock them over.
  • Make sure aquariums or cages that house small animals, like hamsters or fish, are securely out of reach of your foster dog.
  • Remove medications, lotions or cosmetics from any accessible surfaces.
  • Move and secure all electrical and phone wires out of reach. Dogs may chew on or get tangled in them.
  • Pick up any clothing items that have buttons or strings, which can be harmful to your foster dog if consumed.
  • Relocate knickknacks or valuables that your foster dog could knock down.

Section 3 – Bringing Home Your Foster Dog

Taking care of a foster dog requires a commitment from you to make sure the dog is happy and healthy. Thank you so much for opening your heart and your home to these dogs who desperately need your help. Without you, we could not save as many as we do.

Choosing a foster dog

The foster coordinator will work with you to select a foster dog who meets your specific requirements. We will always do our best to match you with a dog who fits with your lifestyle and schedule.

When you and the foster coordinator have decided on a foster dog, an appointment will be scheduled so you can pick up the dog and any supplies that you will need. The appointment will typically be at The Labelle Location or at one of our approved vets where the dog is located.

Together, you and the foster coordinator will decide if the dog is the right fit for you. Be honest: If you aren’t comfortable with anything about the animal you may be fostering, please tell the foster coordinator before you take the animal home.

Please note: Once the animal is placed in a foster home from a shelter, the dog cannot be returned to the shelter if the person fostering the dog decides it’s not working out. The Labelle Foundation does not have a place to house dogs overnight. If you feel you can no longer foster a dog, a new foster home must be found.

Dog introductions

If you have personal pets who are dogs, you’ll want to introduce them to your foster dog one at a time and supervise their interactions at first. It’s a good idea to introduce them outside in a large yard or on a walk, keeping all the dogs on leash and allowing them enough space to get adjusted to one another. If you can, it works best to schedule a time for your personal dogs to meet the foster dog before you take the foster dog home. For more details, watch Introducing a puppy to a home with other dogs

In addition, make sure that high-value items (food, chew toys, plush toys, Kongs, rawhides or anything else that your dogs hold in high regard) are put away whenever the dogs are interacting. You don’t want to allow the possibility of a fight. Those high-value items are best placed in the dogs’ personal areas. Finally, never feed your dogs in the same room as the foster dog; always separate them at feeding time.

Cat introductions

We can’t ensure that a foster dog has been “cat-tested,” so if you have personal pets who are cats, you’ll need to make the introduction to the foster dog carefully and safely. Start by keeping them separated at first. You can either keep your cats in a separate room (equipped with food, water, litter boxes and beds) or confine your foster dog to a room. Over a one- to two-week period, let the dog and cats smell each other through the door, but don’t allow them contact with one another. Exchanging blankets or towels between the dog’s area and the cats’ area will help them get used to each other’s smells.

After a week or two, do the face-to-face introduction. Keeping your foster dog on leash, allow your cat out in the same area. (If you have more than one cat, introduce one cat at a time.) Do not allow the foster dog to charge or run directly up to the cat. Try to distract the dog as best you can so that the cat has the chance to approach without fear. Watch the body language of each animal closely and don’t continue the interaction if either pet becomes over-stimulated or aggressive. The idea is to keep the interactions positive, safe and controlled. 

Finally, never leave your foster dog unsupervised with any cats in your home.

Children and dogs

Since we don’t always know a foster dog’s history or tolerance level for different types of people and activities, please teach your children how to act responsibly and respectfully around your foster dog. We will do our best to place you with an appropriate animal for your home situation, but you should still supervise all interactions between children and your foster dog. Key things to remind your children:

  • Always leave the foster dog alone when he/she is eating, chewing or sleeping. Some dogs may nip or bite if bothered while eating or startled while sleeping.
  • Do not take away a toy or prized possession from the foster dog.
  • Do not tease the foster dog.
  • Don’t chase the foster dog around the house or run quickly around the foster dog; it may scare him.
  • Pick up all your toys. Some dogs may not be able to tell the difference between what is theirs and what belongs to the kids.

Do not allow young children to walk the foster dog because they may not be strong enough or experienced enough to handle encounters with other dogs or cats who cross their path.

Checking in with your Coordinator

Check in with your foster coordinator every 48 to 72 hours and keep them apprised of how your pup is doing. If there are any emergencies (sickness, lost dog, etc) contact your foster coordinator immediately. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out! By fostering, you are saving lives and helping dogs find their furever homes!

Section 4 – Daily Care


All foster dogs should be fed a diet of dry dog food, unless otherwise specified by the foster coordinator. Feed your foster dog twice daily; the amount will be based on the age and weight of your foster dog. Make sure the dog always has access to fresh, clean water.

You can give your foster dog treats of any kind (unless he/she has known allergies, of course); giving treats helps you and your foster dog to bond with each other. Most dogs like to chew on things, so try rawhide chews, Greenies, antlers, Nylabones or Dentabones. Keep in mind, though, that not all dogs like to share, so only give these treats when your foster dog is confined to his/her own area.

Note: Adult dogs should be fed two times a day morning and night. Puppies under 3 months old should be fed three times a day.

Daily routine

When you first take your foster dog home, take care not to overwhelm her with too many new experiences all at once. Sometimes, too much stimulation can cause a dog to behave unexpectedly toward a person or animal, which is why it’s a good idea to keep introductions to a minimum during the first couple of weeks after you bring your foster dog home. It’s also important to establish a daily routine of regularly scheduled feedings, potty breaks and walk times. Dogs take comfort in having a routine they can count on.

Also, on a daily basis, be aware of your foster dog’s appetite and energy level. If she’s not eating well or seems listless, something may be wrong medically. You might want to record your observations to make it easier to notice any health issues. If any concerns arise please consult a member of The Labelle Foundation Team or the ModernAnimal vet app. 


It’s unlikely that your foster dog will be perfectly house-trained when you take him or her home. Most of the dogs in the foster program have lived in a shelter for a while, often with minimal walks or chances to relieve themselves outside. At the very least, be prepared for an adjustment period until your foster dog gets used to your schedule.

Because a dog has a better chance of being adopted if she is house-trained, please help your foster dog to perfect this skill. Take your foster dog outside to go potty multiple times per day (3-6 times daily, depending on age). Initially, you may need to take her out more frequently to remind her where the door to the outside is and to reassure her that you will take her out for potty breaks. Most dogs will give cues — such as standing near the door or sniffing the ground and walking in small circles — to indicate that they need to go out. Keep the dog in a crate when you are not available to supervise her indoors.

If your foster dog has an accident inside the house, don’t discipline or punish her. It will only teach her to fear and mistrust you. Clean up all accidents with an enzymatic cleaner. Nature’s Miracle and Simple Solution are two products containing natural enzymes that tackle tough stains and odors and remove them permanently.

For more about house-training, please watch House training a puppy.

Crate training

Crate training, done in a positive way, can be an effective component of house-training. A crate can be a safe place for your foster dog to have “down time” and can also limit his access to the entire house until he knows the rules. A crate should never be used as a form of punishment and a dog should never be left in a crate for an extended period of time.

You can prevent problems with crate training by setting your foster dog up for success. He should only associate good things with the crate, so start by putting treats and/or toys in the crate and encouraging him to go in. Some dogs warm up to the crate slowly. If he is afraid to go in, place a treat in the crate as far as he is willing to go. After he takes the treat, place another treat a little farther back in the crate. Keep going until he is eating treats at the very back, then feed him his next meal in the crate with the door open, so that he can walk in and out at will.

Crate training a fearful dog can take days, so be patient and encouraging. If a crate is properly introduced and used, your foster dog will happily enter and settle down. For more details, watch Crate training a puppy


A clean and well-groomed dog has a better chance of getting adopted, so bathe your foster dog as needed and brush him regularly if he has longer hair or requires more frequent grooming. Contact the foster coordinator if you feel that your foster dog needs to see a professional groomer. 

Mental stimulation and exercise

Depending on your foster dog’s age and energy level, he or she should get at least two 30-minute to 1 hour play sessions or walks with you per day. Try a variety of toys (balls, squeaky toys, rope toys, etc.) to see which ones your foster dog prefers. Remember to discourage the dog from playing with your hands, since mouthing won’t be a desirable behavior to adopters.

You can also offer your foster dog a food-dispensing toy for mental stimulation. You hide treats in the toy and the dog has to figure out how to get the treats out. Try a TreatStikBusy Dog Ball or Kong product, available online and at pet supply stores.

Safety requirements

Foster dogs must live indoors, not outside. Please do not leave your foster dog outside unsupervised, even if you have a fenced yard. We ask that you supervise your foster dog when he is outside at all times to ensure that he doesn’t escape or have any negative interactions with other people or animals. Your foster dog is only allowed to be off-leash in an enclosed backyard that is completely fenced in.

When walking or hiking with your foster dog, please keep her on leash at all times. In addition, we don’t know if the other dogs they encounter are vaccinated appropriately or carry diseases, so it is best if your foster dog does not meet any unknown dogs. Having recently come from a shelter setting, foster dogs can be vulnerable health-wise.

Also, your foster dog cannot ride in the bed of an open pickup truck. When you’re transporting foster dogs, please keep them inside the vehicle.

Section 5 – Helping Your Foster Get Adopted

When is my foster dog ready to be spayed or neutered?

All animals up for adoption through The Labelle Foundation must be spayed or neutered by the time they are 6 months old. If you foster a dog for The Labelle Foundation that is not neutered or spayed we ask that you get them neutered at our vet as soon as possible. When you pick up your foster dog from the shelter, the foster coordinator will let you know what medical appointments the foster dog needs before he/she can be available for adoption. 

Vet Information for Neuter/Spay:

North Figueroa Animal Hospital
5550 N Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA  90042
United States

They do their spay and neuters on Tuesday through Friday, no appointment needed.  Please let us know the day you are planning to go so we can keep it for our records. Please sign in under The Labelle Foundation with the original name you received the puppy with. Drop off is between 8am and 11am and pick up is later in the evening. Please do not feed or provide water the night before or morning of surgery.  Also, do not  forget to ask for their spay/neuter certificate for our records.

Will I need to take my foster dog to adoption events?

We request that you attend our adoption events with your foster dog. The Labelle Foundation usually has monthly pet adoption events that feature our lovely fur babies. These fun and festive adoption events find homes for almost all of the pets in a single day. That’s why we ask that foster dogs attend — so that they too can get the best chance at finding a home. We may also request attendance at other adoption events based on your availability.

How will my foster dog find a good home?

As you get to know your foster dog, you are required to stay in contact with your foster coordinator so that they can update the foster animal’s biography online to reflect accurate information about the dog’s preferences and quirks. You must take photos of your foster dog in your home; we can use the photos to create biographies on our Instagram and website. Please tag us in our own social media posts – @thelabellefoundation. Please keep in mind that anyone who shows interest in adopting your foster dog will need to go through the proper application process (check out our adoption FAQ for the process). As a foster it is your responsibility to ensure the dog is loved and cared for – our staff will take the time to select an adopter that will fit the dogs needs. All approved adopters are selected by our staff.

What if I know someone who’s interested in adopting my foster dog?

If someone you know is interested in adopting the dog, please contact the foster coordinator and give them the details. Also, tell the prospective adopter to start the adoption process (visiting and filling out an adoption application) as soon as possible. Once the dog is up for adoption, we cannot hold him/her for anyone, but we do want to accommodate referrals from foster parents if we can.

Will it be hard to say goodbye to my foster dog?

Saying goodbye can be the most difficult part of fostering, but keep in mind that many more dogs in California shelters need wonderful foster homes like yours. Remember, you are playing a crucial role in helping to save more animals.

First time fosters

First time fosters may NOT adopt under any circumstances. Fostering is about giving back to the rescue community. Fosters may adopt future foster animals once they have an approved application. If this may be a deal breaker, please do not sign up to foster.

Section 6 – Medical and Emergency Protocols

If you are fostering a dog who is on medications, please make sure that he/she gets all prescribed doses. Do not end medication early for any reason. If your foster animal has not responded to prescribed medications after five days (or in the time instructed by a veterinarian), please contact the foster coordinator. 

If you feel the dog or puppy needs to go to the vet between 7 am and 9 pm please contact your foster coordinator. If you believe it is a true medical emergency outside of the hours listed above please contact Laura (Number to be provided).

If you cannot get a hold of anyone please consult ModernAnimal veterinary through the ModernAnimal App. 

Veterinary care

The Labelle Foundation provides all medical care for our foster animals at our approved veterinary clinics. Because we are ultimately responsible for your foster dog’s well-being, our staff must authorize any and all treatment for foster dogs at our approved veterinary partners.

If your foster dog needs to go to the veterinarian, please notify the foster coordinator by phone. The foster coordinator will schedule the appointment and provide the location for the appointment. 

For non-emergency situations, please understand that our veterinary partners book quickly and may not be available for same-day appointments. We ask that you schedule basic non-emergency appointments (drop-off, pick-up, vaccines and supply pick-ups) at least 24 hours in advance.

Remember, foster parents will be responsible for payment of any medical care if they take their foster animal to a veterinarian without authorization from the foster coordinator or adoptions manager.

Please note: If you wish to take your foster pet to a veterinarian who’s not one of our approved vets you must first have approval from the foster coordinator or risk having to cover the costs yourself.

Approved Vet: 

Shelter Vet located at 11361 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Criteria for emergencies

What constitutes a medical emergency in a dog? A good rule of thumb is any situation in which you would call 911 for a person. Here are some specific symptoms that could indicate an emergency:

  • Not breathing or labored breathing
  • Symptoms of parvovirus: bloody diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, high fever (above 103.5 degrees)
  • Signs of extreme dehydration: dry mucous membranes, weakness, vomiting, tenting of the skin (when the skin is pulled up, it stays there)
  • Abnormal lethargy or unable to stand
  • Unconsciousness or unable to wake up
  • Cold to the touch
  • Broken bones
  • Any trauma: hit by a car, dropped, stepped on
  • A large wound or profuse bleeding that doesn’t stop when pressure is applied
  • Loss of appetite for more than 24 hours

If your foster dog displays any of these symptoms, please follow the emergency phone protocol and contact Laura Labelle. If the animal is vomiting or has diarrhea, but is still active, eating and drinking, you can probably wait until the next day to get help.

Section 7 – Behavior Support

One of your goals as a foster parent is to help prepare your foster dog for living successfully in a home. So, we ask that you help your foster dog to develop good habits and skills through the use of positive reinforcement training, which builds a bond of trust between you and your foster pet. The basic idea is to reward desirable behaviors and ignore unwanted behaviors.

You must not punish a dog for a behavior that you find undesirable because punishment is ineffective at eliminating the behavior. If the dog is doing something undesirable, distract him or her before the behavior occurs. It is also important for every human in the foster home to stick to the rules established for your foster dogs, which will help them to learn faster.

When interacting with your foster dog, refrain from wrestling or engaging in play that encourages the dog to be mouthy and “play bite” on your body. Also, try to refrain from inviting dogs up on the couch or bed. Not all adopters find this habit acceptable.

Some foster dogs will have behavioral issues, which we are not always  aware of at the time of their rescue. Some of these behavior challenges are separation anxiety, destruction of property, fear issues or aggression toward other animals. We will attempt to only place dogs with behavioral issues with a person who feels comfortable working with the dog on his/her particular issues. We will provide that person with all the necessary information so that proper care and training can be given to the foster dog.

If you feel unable to manage any behavior that your foster dog is exhibiting, please contact the foster coordinator during business hours to discuss the issue. We will guide you and help in every way that we can. If the behavior is extreme enough to warrant use of a trainer, we will provide one for you. Please understand that we have limited resources, so for basic training and minor behavior problems, we will personally work with the dog.

Thank you so much for opening up your heart and your home to foster pets.
With love, The Labelle Foundation 

*Note: This is a live document and subject to change by The Labelle Foundation Team.