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Ho-Bo Care Foster Manual

Bringing Them Home





Hello and thank you for considering becoming a foster parent for Ho-Bo Care Boxer Rescue! By opening your heart and home to become a foster parent, you’re becoming an integral part of a dog’s journey to a new life. It can be

stressful; it requires dedication, hard work, serious time

commitments and most of all understanding that

everything won't always be smooth sailing. Please

remember you are making a difference in a dog's

chance at a better life!


Dogs come to Ho-Bo Care from many different

circumstances. Sometimes we know their whole life story and other times all we know is a name. Fosters allow a dog a safe place to transition to life in a home. Fosters are crucial in the adoption process as they allow adopters a glimpse into a dog's personality - their likes, dislikes, quirks, and more!



Ho-Bo Care is an ALL volunteer organization, meaning we all have jobs, families, and dogs of our own that take up our time. While we all do our very best to be responsive to your questions and concerns, it may take us a moment to respond to you. Please keep this in mind! 


Michelle Beston

Executive Director, Board of Directors 



Linda Hedley

Veterinary Liaison, Board of Directors   



Sandy Long

Secretary, Board of Directors   



Shanna Peters

Puppy Coordinator


Erin Valentine

Volunteer Director


Deb Nelson

Volunteer Director, Midweek Walking Coordinator


Jihan Boughman

Volunteer Director, Fundraising & Marketing Coordinator




  • How long does fostering last? 

    • This is the most common question we get and unfortunately there’s no one-answer-fits-all response. Fostering can last anywhere from a week to many months. If you have a time limit for fostering, please let us know immediately so we can plan ahead. 

  • Who is responsible for communicating with potential adoptive families/screening adoptive families/etc? 

    • We have volunteer adoption coordinators who will review applications, interview adoptive families, check vet and personal references and conduct home visits. They will be the link between you and any potential adoptive family. If you would like to be involved in the adoption process, please let your adoption coordinator know! You know your foster dog the best and can provide valuable information about what family will be the best fit. 

  • Can I adopt my foster dog?

    • Yes! While we’ll be sad to lose you as a foster, we value the bond you’ve built with your foster dog and understand that there are times when you feel you cannot live without them. Please let one of our volunteers know as soon as you’ve decided to adopt your foster dog to help avoid any issues with potential adoptive families. 

  • What happens if I need to go out of town? 

    • Ho-Bo Care has several volunteers in our foster group that specifically volunteer to dogsit temporarily. They are all volunteers, so may not be available for every request, but please let a volunteer director know and use the foster group as a resource to find a sitter. If no one can accommodate your request, Ho-Bo Care can use a boarding facility to temporarily house your foster dog. 

  • What if my foster dog is not a good fit? 

    • It happens! We always request that our foster families give it a solid try (those first few days are often the hardest!), but at no point do we want our foster families or their pets to live uncomfortably or risk getting hurt to accommodate a dog that is not fitting in. Please reach out to our volunteer directors and use the foster group when navigating problems integrating. And if your foster dog just isn’t working out, let a volunteer director know. 




Ho-Bo Care has access to supplies donated by our community. If you need supplies, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate. Many of our foster parents prefer to use supplies that they already have on hand, and that is OK. Below is a list of suggested supplies that all fosters should have on hand. 

  • Martingale Collar (required) 

  • 6ft leash

  • Wire or plastic crate

  • Dog bed

  • Dog bowls

  • Toys

  • Basic medical supplies (benadryl, vet wrap, ear cleaning solution)

  • Carpet/hard surface cleaner - accidents happen! 


The following is a list of tools NOT to be used on any fostered dog from Ho-Bo Care

  • Retractable leash

  • Shock/electronic/training/vibration collar

  • Prong collar

  • Choke chain 


*** And please remember that any supplies you purchase for your foster dog may be tax deductible! 




It’s always a great idea to be proactive and prepare your home for an incoming dog. Please be mindful of items that are within reach. Ensure wires, shoes, and kids toys are put away. Ensure garbage cans have lids, locks, or are stored inside a cupboard. Clear any food items off of your countertop and put them safely

away in cupboards. Pantry doors should remain closed

and dog food containers should be stored out of reach. 


Find a quiet place in the home to set up a feeding station

for your dog. Please be mindful that feeding stations

should ALWAYS be away from other pets. Many dogs come

to us from situations where food was scarce and they prefer to be alone while eating. Consider where you want your dog to sleep and where you want them to be when you’re not home. Not all dogs require a crate, but crates are a fantastic tool to keep your property and other pets safe when you’re not there to supervise. They also offer your dog a place that is just theirs and many dogs love the comforts of a crate. 






Our adoption coordinators will work with you to find a dog needing foster that fits well with your family. Ho-Bo Care does not allow foster families to choose which dog to foster based on looks. We will do our best to pair you with the dog that most needs you and who we believe would flourish in your home. We do understand that the dynamic in some homes is more suitable to a certain age or sex, so if you prefer to foster a male/ female or puppy/young/senior dog, please let our adoption coordinators know early on in the process.




We will do our best to assess a dog's comfort level around children prior to sending them home with you, but please be cautious when your new foster dog is interacting with children! Negative dog/child interactions are the number one reason dogs end up in shelters across the US. All interactions should be supervised and structured to prevent accidents. Discuss the importance of remaining calm and gentle around your foster dog with kids and ensure your dog has a place to escape to if they become overwhelmed. 


Inappropriate dog/kid interactions include:

  • Taking food or toys from the dog

  • Putting their face in the dogs face

  • Lying/leaning/climbing/hugging the dog

  • Climbing into the dogs crate

  • Roughhousing with the dog




In most scenarios, Ho-Bo Care volunteers will help you to introduce your resident dog to your new foster dog. If the initial meet does not go well, we will not send that dog home with you. If your new foster dog and resident dog get along well you will most likely be bringing your foster dog home with you that day. Please come prepared with a crate for the drive home. 


The most important thing to remember when incorporating a new dog into your home is to take things SLOW! Sure, we already know they get along, but they haven’t built a relationship yet. Remove items from the home that have the potential to cause conflict (toys, food, etc) and allow the dogs time to get to know each other in a calm environment. Here’s a helpful document from one of our trainers to get you started.




Many dogs need time to decompress once getting to their foster home. Some dogs may have come from situations where they were mistreated or where they had no home. Each dog will recover from their ordeal in their own time and the most important thing you can offer as a foster parent is your patience and compassion! 


You may have heard of the rule of 3’s. Decompression is usually broken down into 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months. 


In the first 3 days your dog may be feeling overwhelmed with all the changes they’re experiencing. They may not want to eat or they may eat ravenously, they may not want to play or may be so amped up that they can’t seem to settle,

they may shy away from any affection or follow your every

move and cling to you like glue. Take a deep breath! These

first few days are often the hardest. Give your dog the time

and space they need to learn their new environment. Keep

all interactions with other pets and family members

structured and planned. You’re dog is likely already

overstimulated, so please, no busy trips to the park or pet store in these first few days. Start to establish a daily routine and be patient when teaching your dog your expectations. Please be consistent when relaying your expectations during this time period! And always reinforce wanted behavior with praise and treats! 


At around the 3 week mark your dog is probably starting to feel comfortable in your home. They’re learning your routine and starting to show their personality. Oftentimes this is when behavior problems will start to arise, so being consistent in your routine and expectations is critical. This is a good time to start exploring with your dog. You’ve built up some trust and can start to slowly expose your dog to new situations and work on training. Remember, the more we know about a dog's likes, dislikes, and personality, the more successful we will be in finding them the perfect forever home! 


If your foster dog is still with you at the 3 month mark, they are likely feeling very settled into your home, your family, and your routine. That initial sense of fear or excitement has likely subsided and you’re seeing your dog's true personality. 


Please communicate with our Ho-Bo Care volunteers every step of the way! 




Ho-Bo Care does occasionally have access to donated food. If you need food, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate, but cannot guarantee the same food week after week. Please also remember that boxers and bully breeds tend to have more sensitive skin and not all foods will agree with your dog. If you need help finding a food that works best for your dog, please let a volunteer know. 


Ideally your foster dog would be fed two times a day. In certain situations, your dog may require more frequent meals, but this will be communicated to you prior to taking your dog home. No free feeding allowed. Please offer your dog an area away from all other pets during feeding time. Feeding does not have to be boring! Spice it up by incorporating a little training or enrichment:


  • Have your dog sit and wait while you place their bowl on the ground

  • Feed their meal one kibble at a time during a 5 minute training session


  • Feed your dog from a snuffle mat, puzzle, or other food dispensing toy

  • Hide food and encourage them to use their nose to find it

  • Play a game of hide and seek and reward your dog for finding you




Sometimes we know a lot about the dogs that come into our care, more often though, we know very little. Things like potty training, crate training, and basic obedience may be a mystery until a dog is in a foster home. Oftentimes, part of your role as a foster parent will include at least some basic training. Please visit the training resources in our foster portal to learn tips and tricks on basic training and common behavior issues. 




Ho-Bo Care has several rules in place to protect our dogs, our foster families, and our community. 

  • Please leave your dogs purple collar and medallion on them at all times. This is their identification collar & tag. 

  • Please walk your foster dog on a martingale collar or approved harness. The purple collar is not suitable to be leashed. A martingale collar will constrict so your dog cannot slip out of it. It should NOT constrict so much that it is choking your dog if fitted properly. 

  • NO dog parks! Our foster dogs require time to settle in and feel comfortable and dog parks are not a comforting environment for a nervous dog. Additionally many (even well adjusted) dogs do not enjoy the chaos of a dog park. There may be dogs there carrying diseases and fights may break out which would cost Ho-Bo Care money that could be used to save another life. 

  • NO shock collars, prong collars, or choke chains. Ho-Bo Care does not allow any aversive or balanced training to be used on our dogs. Force Free only! 

  • Please do not allow your dog off leash outside of your fenced in yard. This may lead to them becoming lost, hit by a car, or getting into a fight. 

  • Please do not change your foster dog's name. This causes problems when documenting medical records and confuses potential adopters. 

  • Please notify a volunteer director immediately of any significant event involving your foster dog (dog fight, bite, injury, lost dog, etc)






Please understand that often the dogs that arrive in our care come to us with little to no information known about them. We rely on our fosters to provide information about the dogs basic manners, potty training, leash walking, behavior around food, general personality, etc to pique interest from adopters. 


Our primary avenue for communication is through our Facebook Group, Ho-Bo Care Foster Parents. Please use this group to share your ups & downs and everything in between! Our adoption coordinators are members of our Foster Group and the more updates they see about your dog, the more likely they are to make a recommendation to a potential adopter. When choosing what to share, consider things you would want to know if you were looking for a new dog companion. 


Are they potty trained? Crate trained? 

Do they do well being left home alone? 

Do they love to play or are they a couch potato? 

What does a typical day for your foster dog look like?

Do they love affection or are they more independent? 

What types of dogs (if any) do they enjoy spending time with? 

Have they learned any cute tricks or excel at obedience cues? 


And remember! Pictures speak a thousand words! Flattering photos of your foster dog will increase their chances of adoption tenfold. Use portrait style photos to capture their good looks and unique features. Use action shots to capture their personality. And use videos to highlight any special skills or quirky behaviors.  


Additionally our Foster Group acts as a support group for our foster parents. Please use this as a resource when working through behavior issues or other trying times. We are all there to support one another and chances are that what you’re struggling with, others have been through too! 

We always encourage our fosters to help market their foster dogs. You are their greatest advocate! Post them on your personal Facebook page with a link to, tell friends and family about them, and engage with people when out and about. Ho-Bo Care can supply “Adopt Me” bandanas/leashes to our fosters upon request. These may help your dog get noticed any time you leave the house! We also encourage our fosters to keep a few business cards on hand to pass out to anyone that expresses interest in your foster dog. You can find a printable version of our business cards here. Remember that all adoption inquiries must be directed to Ho-Bo Care. 




When an adopter expresses interest in your foster dog, you will be contacted by one of our volunteer adoption coordinators. Feel free to ask questions about the potential adopter and share your thoughts on whether you think your

dog would make a good match. Your input is valuable and

can help set your foster dog up for a successful forever



Our adoption coordinators will schedule a time for the

family to come and meet your dog. Typically adoption

introductions happen Sunday mornings at our vets office in North Denver. If the family meeting your foster dog has a current dog, we will conduct an introduction between dogs at a volunteer's home. The adoption coordinator will work with you and the adopter to arrange and manage the introduction and adoption. 






Routine veterinary care will take place at our vet's office in Arvada, CO. All dogs will be spayed/neutered and vaccinated prior to adoption. Outstanding medical needs will be addressed, but Ho-Bo Care does not conduct exploratory tests without cause. If your dog is showing signs that they are sick or need veterinary care, please let a volunteer director know and we will help you make an appointment at our vet. All veterinary costs are covered by Ho-Bo Care. When making an appointment for your foster dog, here is a sample of what to say: 


Hi this is _(your name)_ with Ho-Bo Care Boxer Rescue. I am fostering _(dog name)_ and need to make an appointment for _(reason being seen, specify whether urgent)_. Their tag # is _(tag #)_. 




If you feel your dog is having a medical emergency, please contact one of our board members or volunteer directors immediately. Emergent vet care is a huge expense for our rescue, so please only seek out emergency care when necessary. We can generally get dogs into our regular vet within a day or two, so if a regular check up is all they need, let us know and we can get them in for routine vet care quickly. 


Signs of a medical emergency include, but are not limited to: 

  • Severe or persistent diarrhea

  • Sudden respiratory distress

  • Sudden dizziness/inability to walk

  • Convulsions, seizures, or sudden collapse

  • Refusal to eat and straining to defecate

  • Trauma resulting in deep cuts/bleeding


Ho-Bo Care works with many emergency vet clinics throughout Colorado. You will be directed to the hospital closest to you in the event of a medical emergency. Please review the map of emergency clinics Ho-Bo Care works with to determine which are closest to you. 




Ho-Bo Care provides many resources on basic training and common behavior problems on our foster portal, here. Additionally, the Foster Group on Facebook can be a great resource when working through minor behavior issues. Occasionally people face more serious behavior problems that require the assistance of a professional trainer. Ho-Bo Care has great relationships with several positive, force-free dog trainers throughout Colorado. If you believe your dog requires the assistance of a professional trainer, please let a volunteer director know. 




If your dog is lost or stolen please alert one of our Board of Directors or Volunteer Directors immediately. Let us know when and where they were last seen and the situation that led to them becoming lost. Time is of the essence, so please alert us as soon as you’re aware of them becoming lost.

Please use resources such as NextDoor, Facebook, and printed flyers to help get the word out in your area. Use this link to make the flyer. 

Daily Expectations
Get Them Adopted
Medical Emergencies

"I foster because it gives me purpose.

There is no greater gift than to help a dog that has been discarded, feel loved again.

Watching the moment they put their guard down and learn to start to trust.

To them finally getting comfortable enough to know they are safe so they can relax and sleep peacefully.

That no matter their past, there is much more in life than cowering in the corner, there’s a forever family somewhere awaiting.

I foster because even though I cry when they find a forever home, there is always another one that needs my help."
                   ~ Tina, current Ho-Bo Care foster


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