Director of Research


We're interested in learning what different organizations do related to trial adoptions and foster to adopt? Does your organization o these things, and if so, how do you do them. Please take this super quick survey so that we can learn- it will take less than two minutes to complete! We only need one response per organization, so if you know that someone at your org has responded, no need to respond again.

Just click on this link to respond:



  • ericasheppard    November 21, 2018 at 10:42 AM

    Do you all complete home inspections for all of your foster to adopts and/or weekend fosters? We are interested in starting ideas like "slumber parties" and "home for the holidays" but we are not sure how to go about having every one of these weekend fosters complete a home inspection. We currently have a foster program and occasionally a foster will adopt. However, per the department of ag, all of our active fosters have to have a home inspection every 6 months.

  • Wrichardson    November 20, 2018 at 01:48 PM

    We have two separate programs. A "Slumber Pawty" program for adopters, which is a 7 day trial adoption program for specific animals in our care and then our "Furlough" program which is trial adoption for staff and volunteers. Our Slumber Pawty program has been very successful. If you have any specific questions, let me know! I

  • Whitney B    October 11, 2018 at 09:44 AM

    We have two main types and they are coded in the computer differently. Foster (to adopt) and Foster (shelter break sleepover). For our "to-adopt"s, there is a reason the adoption can't be finalized. It is usually pending medical treatment, or an underage kitten that needs to return for sterilization surgery. We keep those in our jurisdiction, for obvious reasons. Our "shelter break sleepover" program allows folks to take home a pet for up to 30 days as either a trial or to give the pet a break from the shelter. These pets meet all regular adoption criteria- current on vaccines, sterilized, chipped, etc. We don't need to see the pet again, and ask the person to swing by and finalize the adoption. If we don't hear from them, we auto-complete the adoption and mail their paperwork. Our adopters love both of these programs.

  • Lu,ckyleo7    October 08, 2018 at 07:42 PM

    We do foster to adopt and it works well. Most fosters end up adopting

  • sfritz5    September 28, 2018 at 08:12 AM

    We don't offer foster to adopt, but our fosters do have 1st option to adopt.

  • Terri    September 27, 2018 at 08:20 AM

    With the adoption of kittens, we've never had a request to "try it out" before finalizing an adoption. However, there have been a couple of times when we've offered a "foster to adopt" option for an adult cat. Several factors and/or concerns can cause a potential adopter to hesitate to adopt an adult cat. By screening potential adopters carefully, knowing our cats well, and being committed to making a good companionable match between a potential adopter and a cat, all of our foster to adopt arrangements have resulted in an adoption!

  • mvalenta    September 27, 2018 at 07:50 AM

    I selected "no" we don't do "foster to adopt," but I feel like I need to give more explanation. We do a lot of fostering! Most of our fostering is for lack of space in the shelter. The fosters take home an animal for two weeks to give the animal a break, save their life, and save the life of the next animal in need. Many people do use this as a trial foster. However, we keep the focus of the fostering to be animal-centric. This has led to less confusion (fosters never returning dogs because they "thought they adopted"), gives the animal's more grace (we focus on what the animal needs and not "seeing if they work out"), and completely removes the pressure of adoption. We have increased our adoptions from foster with this strategy!

  • Liz K    September 27, 2018 at 03:01 AM

    We've allowed folks to take home a dog or cat on a trial basis. We find this often leads to adoptions. We get their information on the adoption questionnaire and do the usual adoption screening to ensure a good fit, but don't finalize the adoption until they decide it the pet is the right one for them. We've had folks bring one pet back and try a different one that may be a better fit after a day or two. We usually allow a few days to a week and then the folks come back and finalize the adoption. We also allow our fosters to adopt (we have had quite a few "foster failures" that became permanent residents of their foster home). Many wait for one of our Clear the Shelter events where they can adopt for free. I don't know that we have a formal policy. We've pretty much dealt with this on a case to case basis. I find that any means of getting a dog or cat a good home should be used. A little bit of a pain to keep up with, but well worth it.

    • CHatch    September 27, 2018 at 07:18 AM

      Do you promote this on your website or have your volunteers or staff offer it as an option when showing the dog? Or is it just feeling out the situation and then deciding to offer it up?

  • Rebecca    September 26, 2018 at 01:28 PM

    I answered "no" to the first question in the survey because we don't seek out foster-to-adopt situations or advertise them as a possibility. However, we do allow fosters to adopt their dogs and many do (I have 3 times!). I couldn't answer the rest of the survey because I answered "no" to the first question. Anyway, I'm not sure if I should have answered "no" to the first question since we do allow fosters to adopt. Occasionally (if there are dogs we need to pull from shelters right away and we have no foster space) we recruit fosters from our adoption applicant pool, and in those cases we expect the foster will likely decide to adopt their foster dog. But we still have a "no trial adoption" policy. I'm not sure our organization is unique in that way, so others may also find the survey answers too restrictive to describe their practices.

  • JudyH    September 26, 2018 at 07:20 AM

    Most of our dog adoptions come from from foster-to-adopt. The majority of our dogs are medium to large size and the majority are not fostered so foster-to-adopt is the best way for all of us to learn how to dog behaves in a home. Many times puppies are adopted directly. We also do foster-to-adopt in most cat adoptions, especially if they have a cat or dog in the home already so they can see how they all get along. We are a small rescue group with a dog and cat shelter - Humane Society of McCormick County in SC.

  • Ed    September 26, 2018 at 05:35 AM

    We rarely do foster to adopt, & then only for hard to place dogs. We want our adopters to make the equivalent commitment as we do.

  • MarylinPointers    September 25, 2018 at 11:04 AM

    Tried to respond....... my response disappeared and I'm not about to retype it.

    • Dr. Sheila Segurson   Maddie's Fund Staff  September 26, 2018 at 01:39 PM

      Thanks for trying, Marilyn! I'm not sure what happened. Do you remember what question you were on when your response disappeared?

  • Paws4thought    September 25, 2018 at 07:38 AM

    Yes we always do foster to adopt. We feel its the best way to ensure that our dog is placed in the right home. We want everyone to be happy, both humans and other 4 leggeds