a Pet

CDCH foster carers are incredible people, providing loving foster homes for the animals that need us the most!

Fosterers have a key role during an animal’s journey through the Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home.

Plus it is so rewarding!

The Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home have been providing care and support to vulnerable animals in our community for over 80 years. We work across the Cotswolds and Gloucester district and support over 1,000 animals each year!  Some of the animals in our care may struggle in the centre environment, and would benefit greatly from the foster programme.


Fostering an animal is not only a rewarding experience, but it plays a fundamental role in helping the most vulnerable through their journey with CDCH.

Why might an animal need a foster family?

Some animals struggle with life at the centre and are better suited for a family environment. There are animals who, due to their situation are better placed in foster.

Sometimes, animals arrive in our care who may struggle to adjust to the centre environment and need some home comforts to help them on their journey of recovery whilst we search for their forever home.
Young animals are in the important stages of socialisation and require a home environment to ensure they have a balanced start to life. Elderly animals often require a calm and relaxed surrounding to help them feel safe.
Animals with medical conditions often require a little extra TLC. This may include animals recovering from surgery or expectant and new mothers. In these circumstances, a foster carer will be supported by the CDCH team to ensure they have all the care and treatment they may need.

Case animals are animals that have been seized by the RSPCA and are awaiting court proceeding to determine the legal ‘ownership’ of the animal.  Animals in this
situation may have been removed due to welfare concerns. Court proceeding can be
lengthy and our priority is to ensure the animal has the most comfortable environment until
the legal outcome is concluded.

You can read more about our Pet Retreat Scheme HERE, but as an overview, animals from the pet retreat scheme are still very much-loved pets whose owners have found themselves in a vulnerable position, meaning they need a temporary home for them while they get back on their feet. This type of foster can often be longer term (months to a year), but ultimately means we can reunite animals with their owners when the time is right.

At The Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home, we don’t have on-site facilities to
care for small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and more. Therefore, we rely
on wonderful foster homes to offer them the space & care they need.

Watching a dog go from being anxious in a kennel to a loving happy dog in a family home is the best feeling in the world because you know you’re helping them in their time of need'

Fostering is the most rewarding thing we’ve ever done. Buster enriched our lives and the CDCH team was always there when we needed support

Natalie, CDCH Foster Family
What we are looking for
we are

Living in a family foster environment prior to adoption (getting used noises and sounds around the home), sets them up perfectly for the transition into their new home.

Mo, CDCH Foster Family

CDCH foster carers are compassionate people who are committed to giving animals the best possible care.

We look for people and families who are empathetic and can adapt to the needs
of an animal, sometimes at short notice.


We ask that our foster carers are keen to work with us to learn about the care we provide as a centre and are committed to continuing this in the home – CDCH will provide you with inductions, basic training and any support you need to start you on your foster journey!


All animals remain the responsibility of CDCH during their time in foster, therefore we will ensure you are provided with everything you need to care for your foster animal, including food, bedding, toys and veterinary care.

Key expectations of a foster carer:

We need people with time to commit to an animal and their needs. In addition, your foster animal will need to attend the centre on occasion, this is on week days for vet health checks and, at either weekends or weekdays, to meet prospective new adopters. These take place within the hours of 9am- 4pm.
This could be for general updates, as well as health and welfare checks.

All animals in foster require basic monthly health checks from our vet and a top up of
food and supplies which can be collected from the centre.


Unfortunately, public transport is not considered suitable transport for our foster pets, therefore, you will need your own mode of transport (you may need to check with your vehicle insurer that you are covered for volunteering activities).

This could be anything from feeding guidelines and regimes, to administering medications, such as flea and worming treatments (provided by us). We also ask you to assist in keeping records of the animals’ care.
We require a responsible adult (18 years or above) to be the carer of the animal at all times.
Some animals brought into our care have sensitive circumstances. You must be happy to sign the confidentiality agreement and follow this at all times.

Would I be eligible to foster?

Please keep in mind that if you already have pets or young children, placing a foster animal in your home can take more time

How to become a Foster Carer
How to
a Foster

1. Application

Complete an online foster application form. Once submitted, this will be
reviewed by the CDCH team, who will get back to you within 14 working days.

2. Phone call

If we consider your application potentially suitable to foster we will get in touch by phone to find out more.

3. Home check

This is required if we take your application forward and is to ensure that the environment is considered a suitable, safe and secure space for the animal. For example, things we look for are whether you’ve got a secure garden or if there are any potential hazards, etc. Home checks can be carried out by video call, however, there are occasions we will arrange a visit in person.

4. Visit to the centre

This is required if we take your application forward to ensure that the environment is considered suitable, safe and secure for the animal.  Home checks can be carried out by video call, however, there are occasions we will arrange a visit in person.

5. Set up and ready to go

Once the above stages are complete, you are all set up as a fosterer! This means that if an animal in need of a foster home is deemed a good match to you, we would get in touch to tell you all about them.

6. Next steps depend on the species you are fostering

For all dogs, once we have found a match, we always ask that everyone living in the home comes to meet them – this way we can make sure that everyone is comfortable (including any existing dogs) before we arrange next steps. During this time, we will focus on temperament, behaviours, and any handling or training needs. With cats and small furies, we ask fosters to remain open minded and don’t always consider a viewing necessary.

I have had the pleasure of fostering some incredible 'golden oldies', FIV cats, and RSPCA 'case' animals to name a few examples, which have all left a huge impression on my family....some of which we have gone onto adopt!

We've even had kittens born in our spare room! It's a privilege helping these animals in need and sharing our home with them. 

Mo, CDCH Foster Family

Fostering FAQ

  • This will give your family invaluable experience in caring for an animal — not to mention all the love and joy they will bring into your life!
  • Fostering helps the most vulnerable animals get back on their paws and allows them to enioy the comforts of a loving home environment during a difficult transition, which can be hugely rewarding for the foster family too.
  • This arrangement can suit people who would normally be unable to take in an animal long term, due to other commitments.
  • You will become part of a great team of like-minded people – you will be part of the CDCH community.

Here at CDCH we work with some of the most vulnerable animals and owners alike. Not only do we work closely with the RSPCA, providing safe spaces for animals who have suffered abandonment or neglect, we also work with organisations helping humans during life changing events, meaning they are temporarily unable to care for their pet.


Although we believe all animals are deserving of a loving home no matter the cause, this just makes our fostering service all the more rewarding! 

-We may require animals to attend visits to the centre and do not consider public transport as suitable.

-In case of an emergency – which requires the animal to see a vet at short notice.

There are no expected costs – The Cotswolds Dogs and cats home will provide you will all you need to take care of the animal, including food, bedding, toys and veterinary care.

It is hard for us to know how long an animal will need a foster home for, therefore, this would be discussed with you prior to any placement. We like to only place animals in foster homes who are willing to commit to the full term of their care, or an arranged length of time.

Although preferred, we don’t require you to have prior experience with the foster species you apply for, so long as you are committed to learning about their needs and working with the team at CDCH – we will give you all the support and guidance you need.

CDCH will provide all the information you need in preparation for your foster pet, including topics such as animal behaviour, body language, identifying stress signals and appropriate handling or management. All dogs require an initial meet, where you will learn about their behaviours and training needs from one of the animal care team.

Each foster animal has a different story – this is something that will be discussed with you prior to being placed in your care. Some animals may be from more sensitive situations, any relevant information will be provided to you. This information must not be shared in person or online. Social Media – Sharing photos and videos of any foster animal online or on social media is not permitted at any time.
The CDCH Team will be here to offer any support and advise along the way.

We consider all foster applications, but your suitability will depend on your current pets and home set-up against the animals we have in our care at the time. Having other animals in the home can, unfortunately, make it more challenging to find a suitable foster match.

Yes, we consider all foster placements case by case – if an animal is assessed as suitable to be around children, then we would consider this when looking for a foster home.


We do not allow children below 18 years of age to be left in charge of the animal’s care – this will be the responsibility of the adult within the foster home at all times.

Time alone for foster dogs needs to be kept to a minimum. At the beginning of the foster period, dogs cannot be left at all and the maximum daily leave time once settled is no more than 4 hours.


If you work from home full time then this would be no problem as you can still be around for the animal – as long as you are able to maintain their level of care during your working day.

For safety purposes, foster carers aren’t permitted to leave their animal in another household, or the care of a person another person unless this has been previously discussed and agreed with CDCH.

Depending on the foster status and agreement, you may be able to take the animal away with you, however this would need to be requested through the centre and agreed prior to being arranged.

We would hope that you would be able to care for a foster animal for the full arranged term of foster, however, we are aware that plans can change, therefore ask that any holidays/trips are communicated to us at your earliest convenience.


It can be very difficult to accommodate unforeseeable care for animals in foster, as we are reliant on having an appropriate space for them available, therefore it’s important to let us know of your plans ahead of time.

Once you have been set up as a fosterer for a species, we always ask you to keep an open mind and look beyond breed preferences and stereotypes. Not all of our animals qualify for or need fostering (apart from our small furies which are all cared for in foster homes), so we prioritise those that will most benefit from being in a foster home environment.


Our fostering process allows our Rehoming Team at CDCH to pair animals with the right foster homes, most suited to their needs.

We need our fosterers to be committed to providing temporary care for an animal in need, which will allow us to help many more in the long run. Fostering is not considered a stepping stone to adoption; therefore, we ask all applicants to consider whether fostering or adopting is most suited to them. We generally ask for a minimum foster commitment of at least 3-6 months.

We do know that sometimes after a longer period of time, a foster carer can become attached and not wish to part with their new-found friend. In some cases, we may be able to consider a foster carer as a forever home, however, like with any other adoption, we would always assess the on-going suitability and cannot guarantee the fosterer would be successful.

It will always be the duty of the rehoming team at CDCH to rehome the animal. We do not permit the foster carer to carry out any rehoming activities themselves and advise that any enquiries made whilst the animal is in their care, are directed to the centre.

We will always do our best to share any updates on your foster animal with you should we receive any news from their new family!

The CDCH team will check in with you in regards to your availability and other potential matches.

Yes, you can still be considered for the fostering of an animal if you live in a rental property, so long as you have appropriate permission from your landlord or housing company.


We will request proof of permission if we take your application forward,  therefore recommend you have it in place prior to sending in your application. Some housing companies can take up to 28 days to respond. 

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