Opening Hours

Animal Viewing Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10am - 3pm

General Hours: 
Most Days: 9am - 5pm
Wednesdays:  10am - 5pm
CLOSED: Sundays and Public Holidays

Our Shelter will be closed to the public the first Wednesday of each month.

Dog/Puppy Foster Care

Dog foster care is predominantly for adult dogs who find shelter life too stressful. On occasion we also require foster carers for orphaned puppies from newborn to juvenile age groups. In some instances, we require a foster carer for dogs and pups that need to be cared for while their owners’ circumstances change.

Fostering a dog is an incredibly rewarding experience! Giving a dog a temporary home, you are helping them find a permanent home and a chance at enjoying a long and happy life. Shelter life can be very stressful for dogs and by fostering them, they often relax and allow potential new owners to see their true personalities.  

If you decide to foster a dog/pup you will be given specific training and supplied with all medical and dietary requirements along with blankets, toys and any other items and behavioral guidance your animal(s) may need.

  • Willingness to have animals indoors.
  • Time and willingness to incorporate the animal into family life as much as possible.
  • Provide play, exercise, training, and enrichment opportunities.
  • Ideally no other pets in the household however this can be determined n a case-by-case basis.
  • A secure back yard with a well-maintained fence with no avenues to allow escape. (eg stored items near fencing that may provide a ‘ladder’ to climb the fence, high gates).
  • Willingness to follow guidelines and instructions from shelter staff.
  • Be prepared to return the animal to the shelter at the end of the foster period. This can be difficult due to the emotional commitment involved.


mum and bubs


Download and read the Dog/Puppy foster care manual, find out more about what is involved and determine if foster care is really for you. (Please note that a puppy foster manual is currently being developed).

Still interested? Great! Next we need you to register as a volunteer so that we can further explore fostering opportunities.

Fill out the application form below and email it to We look forward to hearing from you.


There are several categories of foster caring dogs and puppies. Read ahead to see which one might suit your situation:

Neo-natal: These are the younger of pups, aged from newly born up to about four weeks of age.

Caring for Neos can be hard work but incredibly gratifying because you are literally saving that puppies life and enabling them to grow into a strong and healthy dog that will have a good chance of living a happy life.

Typically caring for neo-natal puppies requires some experience with foster caring as it can be more challenging than caring for older pups. For example, Neos initially require feeding and toileting every two to four hours.

People who are retired or working from home are more likely to be in position to best handle the requirement of regular and frequent feeds.

Neo carers will need ready access to transport as frequent trips to the shelter to see the vet (or after-hours vet at Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services) may be required.

We may end up with one neo (a singleton) or a whole litter. Large litters will be split between two or more carers to avoid over burdening.

Pregnant mums: it depends on the duration of pregnancy left and then usually 6/8 weeks once puppies have been born. Putting pregnant mums out into foster is not common for the shelter but might happen on the rare occasion.

Weaned pups: Weaned pups will typically be around five or six weeks old and ridiculously cute. They’re young and adventurous but will still need a lot of care and supervision.

These pups require lots of socialisation which will include ongoing positive experiences with unfamiliar people ,new places ,other animals etc.The shelter will be able to provide all carers with a list of suitable activities that will be suited for your puppy during this vital stage in their development.

They’ll also need training, including house training so be prepared for some unpleasant odours or unwanted toileting ‘presents’ left for you to find!

Inspectorate pups/dogs: These are the dogs and pups seized by RSPCA ACT Inspectors. The type, size and temperament can differ enormously for Inspectorate animals.

How long they require foster care is very difficult to estimate so you’ll need to be open to a long-term foster situation as well as a very short experience. Short term foster could be awaiting a on a medical procedure that many be required or a dog that might be requiring short care for recouperation after medical treatment.

Longer term care is usually sort for dogs that might have been seized through the inspectorate and due to the court process for these such cases these dogs are in RSPCA care for longer periods, so a home environment is far better suited for these dogs.

Dogs that are also not coping well in the shelter environment often cope a lot better in a foster home. Sometimes these dogs can be dogs that are available for adoption and will be in foster till adoption. 

Dogs awaiting surgery: These are usually the shortest-term fostering situations with the dog or pup remaining in your care from a few days to a few weeks.

In some circumstances we require foster carers post-surgery to help the animal recover before it’s ready for adoption.

Dogs waiting for surgery are normally but not exclusively, medium and larger mixed breed dogs.

Dogs/pups not coping with shelter life: While shelter life is never ideal for any animal, some dogs and pups cope better than others. In instances where a dog/pup is severely stressed and it’s physical or mental health becomes at risk we seek foster carers to give them a more realistic feel of home.

These dogs are normally under socialised which means they might be fearful or aggressive.

Depending on how they respond to a home environment you might be caring for them for a few days or sometimes a few months.

Dogs being assessed for behaviour in the home environment: With some sheltered dogs and pups it’s sometimes difficult to assess how an animal might behave in home environment, which is where you come in.

Often dogs/pups respond quickly to home environments whereas some animals may take a few weeks or a month to get used to the new lifestyle.

This type of foster care is normally a short-term experience.

To become a dog foster carer for RSPCA ACT follow these steps: