First off – thank you so much for being a foster! Fosters are definitely the unsung heroes of the shelter world, and you do incredibly important work giving pups a place to stay while they work on finding their forever home.
Of course as an engaged foster parent, you want to do more than just provide a place for your dog to chill – you want to get your foster pooch adopted ASAP!
We’re here to help with 16 strategies and tips you can use to get the word out about your foster pet and help your furry buddy get discovered by his permanent family!
1. Promote Your Foster Pup on Social Media
Post about your foster pup on social media to get the word out! You never know whose friend-of-a-friend may be looking for a new pooch. Share your best pic of your foster and be sure to specifically ask other users to “share this post to help get [foster dog name] adopted!”
It may feel a bit spammy, but studies have shown that direct, specific calls-to-action (like a request for a share) will get better results than not including a call to action.
2. Post About Your Foster on Local Facebook Groups
In many cities, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of local Facebook Groups designed for residents. Try posting info about your foster to Facebook groups created for new residents, dog walkers, local shared resource groups, hiking clubs, running clubs, etc.
Just make sure to read the group’s rules first, as some might not allow these kinds of adoption requests.
3. Make an Instagram Handle For Your Foster
Many foster parents choose to make Instagram accounts specifically for their foster dogs! This allows foster parents to easily take photos and videos showcasing their foster pup’s best qualities and share it all on one dedicated profile.
It’s easy to share the profile online, and also allows you to comment on other community-related Instagram posts and easily direct people to your pup’s page.
Make sure to utilize hashtags to get the most attention for your foster as possible. Some hashtag ideas include:
- Common Dog Saying (#dogdaysofsummer #dogdays #lazydog)
- Breed Terms (#boxermix #boxers #boxermixedbreeds #boxermixes #boxercrosses #boxercross)
- Any Variation on “Dog” (#pup #pupper #doggo #bestdogever)
- Local or Regional Phrases (#AustinTX #AustinDogs #DogsofAustin)
- Foster Terms (#fosterdogs #bestfosterdogever #fosterpup #Austinfosterdogs)
4. Post Your Foster Dog’s Story to Imgur
Imgur is a photo and video-sharing site that lets you easily upload various pictures and video clips, along with captions and descriptions.
You can easily make a mini story capturing your dog’s personality and share the page link across the web!
While you’re at it, make sure to post your foster on relevant pet adoption websites too. Petfinder is one of the biggest ones, but there are many others out there too!
5. Post Your Pup on Reddit
While it’s not as common as Facebook and Instagram adoption requests, a lot of fosters have had success with Reddit – specifically, posting on local-oriented subreddits.
Again, as with Facebook groups, look for regional or city-based subreddits to share news about your dog. Simply posting on general dog subreddits or dog adoption subreddits will be casting your net too large.
For Reddit, it’s often best to make a post about your dog on imgur and share that imgur page in a Reddit post. Although a traditional-styled photo post works too!
6. Create a Compelling YouTube Video
While it’s a bit more in-depth, YouTube is another great way to promote your pup. Many potential adopters are draw in by video content over photos, so creating a little highlight reel of your foster can do a lot to get them attention.
7. Use High Quality Photos (Or Even a Professional Photographer)
It’s as true for dating apps as it is for foster dogs – photos make all the difference! High-quality, well-shot photos will get a lot more attention for your foster dog that blurry, old, or low-quality pics.
There’s a lot you can do with an iPhone these days, but professional pet photographers often know how to capture a dog’s personality in just the right way. Consider asking your local animal shelter if they have certain days where they do photo shoots (many do), or consider getting a photographer friend to snap some shots for you.
You may also want to consider reaching out to professional pet photographers – even if they are pricey, they may offer a discount for fosters with a good cause.
8. Contact Local News Outlets
Some stations and newspapers post adoption pleas now and then, so it’s always worth asking local TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, or magazines if they’d be willing to feature your foster. This works even better when your pup has a unique or compelling story.
9. Create a Story For Your Pooch
As human we are drawn to stories. They make us emotional and draw empathy.
Try to create an interesting story about your dog – this is easier when you have more information about your dog’s history, but it can be done with simply what you’ve discovered about your foster. What activities does your foster seem to love? What would be his “perfect day?”
Giving your pup defining attributes may allow him to connect with his perfect fit more easily (for example, describing a dog as a hiking machine with wanderlust may attract an outdoorsy owner).
10. Make Flyers & Post Them At Local Coffee Shops
It’s old school but it works! Consider creating a colorful flyer with a photo of your dog and blurbs about his better qualities. Post the flyer in coffee shops, vet offices, etc.
11. Spread the Word With Your Vet and Vet Staff
Speaking of vet offices, it may be worth letting your local vet staff know that you have a great foster who needs a home! Your veterinarian and their staff may know of an owner looking for another dog to bring into their family.
This goes for other dog-oriented businesses you may frequent too – from groomers and dog walkers to doggie daycares and trainers.
12. Post About Your Pet on Nextdoor
Nextdoor is a social media platform geared towards local communities and neighborhoods. I’ve known many fosters who have had great success with Nextdoor for finding local families who might be ready for a new fur friend.
13. Bring Your Foster to Adoption Events
Many pet supply stores or local pet-oriented businesses will host adoption days, letting shelters and shelter foster parents bring in dogs to meet the public.
Shelters will also often organize adoption festivals and events which foster parents should take advantage of attending so that people can meet your foster pup in person!
14. Have Your Dog Wear Special “Adopt Me” Gear
When you take your dog out and about on walks or to outdoor patios, make sure to outfit your dog in proper foster attire – for dogs who will put up with it, an “adopt me” harness is perfect for getting attention from those who pass by.
15. Attend Local Events & Festivals
If your foster dog does well in public, put on some of the “adopt me” gear mentioned above and start attending public events! The more eyeballs on your pup, the better his chance is of getting adopted.
16. Print Cheap Business Cards With Your Contact Info
Hopefully with all the activities you are doing with your foster dog, people will take notice and want to learn more about your pup. You can simply give out your phone number, but handing out a business card may be the easiest and quickest way to get your info into the hands of potential adopters.
I’d also suggest putting your foster’s name on the card with some highlights about the pup. Or – if you go through foster dogs quickly, you could just have your name and title as a “foster parent for [insert animal shelter]” and handwrite the dog’s name on the card.
Those are all the tips we have when it comes to getting your foster dog adopted! Do you have any tips that have worked that you want to share? Add your own foster tips in the comments!