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Read heartwarming tales about wagging tails and warmed hearts.

Foster Carer Tips & Tricks

Foster Carer FAQ

How can I apply or enquire about fostering?       

Easy. Just complete the Foster Sign-Up Form HERE.

What is provided when fostering?

Everything! We can give you everything you need to care for your foster pet.

How long do people foster an animal?

That totally depends on the animal and their situation. Some are short (eg. 2 weeks) others are longer (eg. 4 months). We will discuss this with you after you complete the Foster Sign-Up Form HERE.

Who can become a foster carer?

Everyone! Well almost everyone. You do need to be 18 years or older and live in metropolitan Sydney. We also ask that you have a car so that you can transport the foster animal in case of an emergency.

What if I want to adopt my foster animal?

Go for it!!! We love to see our foster carers adopt. Let the friendly staff at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home know you’d like to adopt ASAP. We can then make sure the animal is removed from our website and begin the adoption process with you!

Can I foster if I already have another animal at home?

Definitely. We have many social animals coming through our door that would love a foster sibling.

Can I foster if I have children?

Sure. Kid’s can be great foster assistants. When we match you with a foster animal, we will ensure that the animal is child friendly.

Can I foster a dog if I live in an apartment?

Yes. Many dogs live happy lives in apartments. We will match you with a foster dog who we think would enjoy that environment.

Can I foster just for a few weeks?

Yes. We have many different animals in different situations. Some just need a couple of weeks in foster.

Where do I need to take my foster animal for medical appointments?

Our vet clinic is based in Strathfield South.

Foster Carer Highlight: Monica

Why foster a rescue animal?

There are so many reasons to consider welcoming a rescue animal into your home. Perhaps you can’t commit long-term to an animal but want the companionship that only a pet can bring, maybe you want to help free up some space at the already at-capacity shelters in your area and give a rescue animal an environment they can decompress and relax in.

For Monica, there are many rewarding sides to being a foster carer. Monica and her husband have been fostering for close to 3 years at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home as well as volunteering her time around the shelter. While animal shelters aren’t always a great environment for an animal to be in, Monica notes that without them, many animals could end up on the street or on death row. “We took rescue animals on because the shelter environment can sometimes be a detriment to them, but you don’t give up.”

For Monica, being a foster carer has its rewarding sides such as seeing pets who are often frightened, stressed and nervous or lacking training, bloom into wonderful family pets. She says, giving pets the opportunity to learn, who may have come from less-than-ideal circumstances is a challenge she is willing to take on.

Monica has been fostering Alice the cattle dog, the Home’s current longest resident. Alice has come leaps and bounds from the young dog who came into this world during a global pandemic and didn’t receive the training, socialisation and enrichment she needed to become the best dog she could be. But Monica and her husband opened their home to Alice and have committed to guiding her and standing by her until she finds her forever home.

Monica says, “The reward is witnessing their transformation while they are with you. Then you get a call saying someone wants to adopt them. It’s time to say goodbye but knowing that you have prepared them for their new home is rewarding.”

It is because of our wonderful foster carers like Monica that many of our pets go on to find their forever homes and go on to live their best lives! We couldn’t do what we do without them!

Volunteer Spotlight: Jayne

Jayne first became involved in volunteering at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home when she developed a special bond with her neighbour’s rescue dog named Bomba. Through her special connection with Bomba, Jayne learnt about animal rescue organisations and felt compelled to be involved in helping animals in need.

Jayne recently celebrated 10 years of volunteering at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home and it’s hard to imagine the Home without Jayne and her husband Michael’s involvement each and every week. From cleaning kennels, washing dishes, general cleaning, walking dogs, sitting quietly in the kennels keeping dogs company, helping out at events and fostering, Jayne’s impact has been felt deeply within the organisation.

Jayne says volunteering at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home is a part of who she is. Her dedication for the past 10 years has not only positively impacted the well-being of the animals, but her unwavering commitment and dedication are felt enormously by the staff and other volunteers at the Home. By building a community through volunteering, Jayne has made long-term friendships with the staff, volunteers and some of the Sydney Dogs & Cats Home adopters.

Jayne’s favourite part of volunteering is the feeling she receives. “Volunteering provides a meaningful purpose and also provides me with a sense of contentment and happiness from helping animals in need, assisting the staff and supporting the organisation and most importantly, supporting the community. Because of the level of purpose and meaningfulness, this continues my drive and passion to continue to volunteer, knowing I have contributed towards a positive difference.”

Jayne and Michael have given many animals the much-needed break from shelter life with a furcation, where volunteers can give animals a short-term break from the stresses of shelter life and decompress. With so many years of volunteering under her belt, it is no surprise Jayne has had ‘foster fails’, with 6 foster animals becoming lifelong family members, including 5 kittens and 1 dog.

One of Jayne’s proudest initiatives is developing a community program through her work in the Army. The Army Program provided soldiers who had been injured the opportunity as part of their rehabilitation to visit the shelter, spend time with the animals and complete tasks around the shelter grounds. The program provided positive psychosocial attributes and provided the soldiers with a sense of purpose by giving back to the community while completing their physical rehabilitation.

Jayne encourages anyone who is thinking of volunteering at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home to go ahead and do it. “It provides a true sense of giving and purpose, especially with a not-for-profit organisation, where you know every little bit contributes to the bigger picture.”

Thank you, Jayne, for all your hard work, dedication and commitment to the animals at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home!

Jimmy: A Foster Success Story

Jimmy (previously Dobby) found himself at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home in the thick of the pandemic in 2020. Jimmy, a small Chihuahua, wasn’t coping with the stress of a shelter environment and the staff wanted to get him out into a foster home as quickly as possible.

Kerry had just received confirmation that she would be working from home for at least the next few months and took the opportunity to give a rescue dog a break and a chance to flourish away from the shelter until they were adopted. Kerry picked Jimmy up from the Home on her lunch break and he was in her lap making himself at home as soon as Kerry sat down. Kerry was smitten and had texted her partner “we might have a problem here!”

It was clear Jimmy had quite a rough first part of his life and needed training, rehabilitation, time to develop trust and a stable and loving home. But despite the challenges presented, Kerry and her partner Paul decided to adopt him. Kerry says, “not all adoptees are suddenly cured of their trauma once adopted” and they have worked closely with a trainer to acknowledge his behaviour, respect his boundaries and ensure he feels comfortable and safe.

Jimmy is the perfect example that some rescue dogs won’t fit into their families’ new lives seamlessly and require training, learning to respect boundaries and finding what works for everyone, including the dog. “We’ve accepted he’ll never love the dog park, joining us for coffee or beer or going on holidays; he is happier at home in a predictable environment.”

While Jimmy has come a long way from the nervous, frightened and stressed little dog that Kerry first picked up from the Home, he is still learning that the rough life he once experienced is well and truly in the past. Kerry and Paul have committed to providing the loving home he should’ve received from the beginning and are ensuring that he feels safe and protected. “The best thing we can do for him is to be his advocate, never force him when he clearly feels unsafe, quickly remove him when he feels threatened and continue to develop his trust that we’ll protect him and his boundaries.”

Giving a rescue animal a second chance can be a very rewarding experience once they’ve learnt to trust again, know they can relax and that they are safe and loved. Our foster carers go above and beyond to ensure that the pets that come to Sydney Dogs & Cats Home have an environment to unwind, relax, and play and for their little personalities to truly shine and most importantly for some, to trust again.

Kerry and Paul are happy they can provide Jimmy with a safe and loving home he can trust for the last part of his life and hope to foster or adopt another dog sometime in the future.

Published 6th January 2023

Keeping Pets Safe During New Year’s Celebrations

The festive season is typically a time for celebration! With Christmas done and dusted for another year, our sights are turned to New Year’s Eve and counting down the clock to midnight. While for most humans, NYE is a night of celebrating and making memories, for pets this can be a very scary night! That’s why it is important that you do everything necessary to keep your pets safe. Here are a few tips, to make things easy for you.

  1. Tags and ID

New Year’s Eve means there may be more people around than usual, loud noises such as fireworks and other additional stresses and hazards. With many different things happening, sometimes pets can accidentally get out of their home or yard or attempt to get away from all the scary things. To prevent a night of celebration from turning into tears, make sure your pets have an ID and collar with at least your contact details on them in case they have escaped. If someone picks them up, they can contact you. It is also a good reminder to update your pet’s microchip details if you haven’t since moving house or updating phone numbers. You can easily update your pet’s microchip details by calling your local council or visiting the Pet Registry website (link).


  1. Give them a safe space

Keeping your pets safe by giving them a safe space to feel secure can make a world of difference when they are stressed. This can be easily done by:

  • Keeping them in their safe space such as their kennel, crate or their designated room.
  • Keeping them inside a secured bedroom and checking on them regularly to ensure they are ok.
  • Give them things that may distract them such as toys, treats or enrichment items.
  • Stay close to them and reassure them.
  • Avoid tying up your pets. This causes a great deal of stress and can cause harm and injury.


  1. Loud Noises and Hazards

We want to ring in the New Year by going all out and decorating to the nines, but sometimes small items such as balloons, party poppers and other knick-knacks can be a choking hazard for pets and can be highly dangerous. Ensuring that you keep your pets away from decorations and clear and clean items up when they have been used to prevent an emergency trip to the vet.

Fireworks often go off throughout the night on NYE and can be loud and scary to pets. Keeping pets in a quiet area of the home, reassuring them when loud noises go off and showering them with love will help them settle and not be so scared. Giving them treats and toys can help and aid as a distraction. Sometimes putting on calming music also helps distract them from the noises going on outside.

If you know your pet has a firework phobia and these tips have previously not eased their distress, consult your local veterinarian.


  1. Pets who have gone walk-about

You’ve had a great night with friends and family, but your pet is nowhere to be found. The first thing to do is to look in all their favourite hiding places and every nook and cranny you think they may have gotten into to escape the noises. This could be under beds, in wardrobes, under the house, in furniture, garden beds, small crawl spaces and even fireplaces.

Search your street in case they have gotten out. Ask your neighbours if they have seen them and to keep an eye out. If they are still missing, call your local vets, local council and pounds and shelters in case they may have been picked up and taken there.

Post to social media and to lost and found pages so the community can be aware and look out. Don’t forget to post when they have been found.


The festive season is a great time to make memories and celebrate with friends and family, but don’t forget your pets as well and ensure they feel safe and calm during an often chaotic and noisy time!

We wish everyone a safe and happy New Year!

Published 28th December 2022

Volunteer Spotlight: Julie

Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Sydney Dogs & Cats Home, many of whom have spent countless hours of their weekends, days off and public holidays including Christmas and New Year’s Day choosing to spend time with our dogs, cats, pockets pets and the occasional sheep.

One of our volunteers, Julie, has been volunteering at the Home and with the animals for six years. For Julie, spending time weekly with the animals positively impacts her mental health and is the main driver for why she continues to return each week (apart from her obsession with animals 😊).

Volunteering with animals has been critical in managing my mental health. It gives me a reason to get out of bed, to be physically and mentally active which my depression often stifles. Spending time with the dogs engages my senses and requires me to be alert and in the present moment.   

The dogs don’t judge me, they don’t care what I look like or my mood. A wagging tail, a sloppy kiss or comforting a scared dog, gives me a reason to smile.  Even the hard work of cleaning kennels, washing bowls and having muddy shoes has a grounding, calming effect on me.  

Volunteering has and continues to improve my self-worth and confidence.  It has given me a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging to the Sydney Dogs & Cats Home community and a sense of accomplishment that helps combat the social isolation of my depression.  Importantly, time spent volunteering with Sydney Dogs & Cats Home helps to cancel the noise of my busy brain. It’s time away from my own self-deprecating, negative thoughts. 

Being a volunteer with Sydney Dogs & Cats Home has been one of the most impactful and transformative experiences of my life.

We are eternally grateful to volunteers like Julie, who show up weekly, with a smile on their faces and a willingness to get down and dirty to get tasks done. They show our pets the compassion and love they may not have received previously and are integral in shaping and transforming them from often scared, anxious, reactive, to loving, goofy and bubbly pets.

Our staff and volunteers go above and beyond for each and every pet that comes to us, but as Julie has shared, our pets can do the same for humans, without even knowing.

Thank you Julie for your endless dedication to the animals and Sydney Dogs & Cats Home!


Published 14 December 2022

5 Tips for Lost Pets

5 Tips to Prevent Losing Your Pets

  1. Microchip Your Pets

Microchipping your pets is the easiest way to ensure you can be contacted if they are ever lost and are found and taken to a vet, shelter or pound.

Microchipping is a minimally invasive process of implanting a tiny microchip under your pet’s skin which remains there for their whole lives. Information about your pet, such as their name and age and your contact details are retrieved by scanning the microchip.

  1. Update Your Pets Microchip

If you have moved residence or gotten a new phone number, the last thing on your mind is to update your pet’s microchip information. Often lost pets brought into Sydney Dogs & Cats Home are microchipped but the contact details are out of date, and this makes it difficult to locate their owners. If you have purchased your pet from a breeder, make sure your pet’s microchip has your info and not the breeder’s; you can update this yourself or ask the breeder to do it.

Updating your pet’s microchip is easy. For NSW residents, you can update your pets’ details on the NSW Pet Registry, or over the counter at your local council.

  1. Pet ID Tags

Attach a pet ID tag to your pet’s collar with your contact information and make sure to continually check their collars are secure and aren’t loose. Make sure the collars are comfortable for your pets and aren’t too tight around their necks, but they can’t slip out of them.

  1. Keep Your Pets on a Leash

When out and about with your dogs (or even cats!), make sure they are secured with a leash. Having your pets on a leash ensures you have a secure hold of them. Not only does this prevent them from getting away from you while out and about, but it will also allow you to ensure their safety if you come across reactive dogs, your pet is reactive to other animals, and to keep them safe when near traffic.

If you take your pets to a designated off-leash area, assess the situation to ensure it is safe to enter, ensure that your dog has the basic skills such as recall, sit and stay and will listen to your command when given and always keep an eye on them.

  1. Secure Your Backyard and Home

Ensure your backyard and home are secure to prevent pets from becoming escape artists. Make sure fences are tall enough that dogs cannot jump over, block any holes in fences and check any loose fencing panels to prevent your pets from squeezing through. Make sure the bottom of fences and gates are low enough that they can’t squeeze under and make it a habit to check your dog hasn’t done any landscaping by digging holes around the garden they can escape from.

  1. Make Friends with Your Neighbours

Pets are often picked up on the street they live on! By building a relationship with your neighbours, they become familiar with you and your pets. This means that if your pet gets out you can rely on your neighbour to bring them back.

What To Do If You’ve Lost Your Pet

Don’t panic! If your pet’s microchip and their details are up to date and they have a Pet ID Tag on their collar, there is a good chance they will return to you. But here are some tips to help find them!

  1. Search

Don’t wait! Search around your area in case they are still wandering the streets. Check areas, parks and other local places you frequent with them such as cafés or local shops that they are familiar with in case they show up there. Knock on neighbours’ doors to see if they may have seen your pet and put-up signs around the area to maximise visibility.

  1. Call Your Local Shelter, Pound and Vet

Chances are, if you have looked around the neighbourhood and are unable to find them, they may have been picked up by a council ranger or good samaritan and taken to a shelter, pound or vet. Call around to check if a pet has been brought in matching their description. If you are unsure who your local shelter or pound is, call your local council who will be able to tell you.

  1. Call Other Shelters in Your Area

Call other shelters and pounds in the area and tell them your pet is missing. They may have a lost register and can list your pets’ details, identifying factors such as breed, colour and markings and your details. If your pet comes into their facility, they already have your details to contact you.

  1. Post to Social Media

Posting on social media can reach more people than you think. Share to your social media accounts, reach out to local shelters and pounds social media accounts and share to as many lost pet groups on Facebook. Just remember to update them once your pet has returned home!

  1. Register Them as Lost on Pet Registry NSW has a secure messaging function that allows members of the public to advise pet owners they have found their pet. By creating a profile, you can register your pet’s microchip number and agree to be contacted.

You can also follow these easy steps to change your pet’s status to lost:

  • Notify your local council of your lost pet.
  • Log into the NSW Pet Registry and change the status of your pet on the NSW Pet Registry to ‘missing’. This will prevent a person who is claiming to be your pet’s owner, for example, where it has been stolen, from transferring ownership.
  • Check that your contact details are correct so that you can be contacted when your pet is found.
  • Make sure you have made a note of your pet’s microchip number.
  • Once your pet has been found and reunited with you, notify your local council within 72 hours so they can update their status on the NSW Companion Animals Register.

Mighty Malabar

Malabar the cat came into the Home in March this year. At first, he wasn’t so sure what was in store for him and was a little unsure of shelter life. Once settled, Malabar turned into a very purry, affectionate and extremely playful cat.

But while Malabar was starting to settle in at his foster home and begin the wait for his forever home, a previous polyp (a benign growth of tissues) in his right ear that wasn’t causing him any issues, suddenly began discharging a large amount of fluid making him quite uncomfortable. The vet team took Malabar to examine his polyp and formulate a plan to treat it. But that wasn’t the end of the health list for Malabar, he also had a head tilt, a condition that may indicate an underlying health problem, causing imbalance, such as the polyp and he also had a prolapsed third eyelid.

Malabar was given medication and eyedrops for his prolapsed third eyelid and underwent surgery to remove the polyp. After some time recovering in foster care, medication and drops and the dedication and commitment from his foster carers to nurse him back to 100%, Malabar was soon back to his playful, friendly self.

After over 100 days at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home, Malabar finally found his forever home! Malabar now has a home of his own to explore and play in and receives all the love and playtime he deserves with his new family.

It’s because of our community of supporters that pets like Malabar can stay in our care for as long as he needs to and receive the treatment needed to ensure he can live his best life!

Published 1 November 2022

Alumni Spotlight: Alfie

Rachel and her family were devastated when their previous dog had sadly passed away at the age of 12, leaving their home feeling empty without a four-legged friend. They decided to introduce another furry friend into their home and her 7-year-old son said “let’s give a dog a home who doesn’t have a home” which led them to find Sydney Dogs & Cats Home.

Rachel and her family came to Sydney Dogs & Cats Home to meet some of the dogs available for adoption when they came across Alfie (Alf). He appeared quite nervous but there was an instant connection when Alf licked Rachel’s sons’ hand through his enclosure and they have been inseparable ever since that day in 2019.

Alf now enjoys swimming and joining his family on adventures on their boat and sitting up the front and watching the water and he loves playing ball. He is also a superstar at dog agility as well. Alf will not so subtly tell Rachel when it’s time for his treat by standing at his treat drawer and look at Rachel until he gets one and he loves to place his paw on his human’s legs to get their attention.

Rachel’s advice to anyone thinking of adopting a rescue animal is “if you have space in your home and your heart, adopt a rescue dog because the love they give you is like no other!”


Published 31 October 2022