Below you'll find answers to our most frequently asked questions about fostering:

What does Deacon’s Hope Rescue do?

Deacon’s Hope identifies dogs that are facing euthanasia in shelters across Ohio and neighboring states in an effort to save them before it’s too late. We also occasionally accept owner surrendered pets, and animals from welfare cases like hoarding, puppy mills, and natural disasters. We regularly post dogs on our Facebook page and in our Facebook Foster Chat group that we feel we have the resources to help. We specialize in German Shepherds, but will help any breed as long as we have the right foster home available for them.

Once you’ve chosen a rescue dog you’d like to foster – we’ll call on our network of volunteers to transport the dog to you. We then cover all vetting costs to get him/her healthy again. From simple vaccinations to growth removal or amputations, we’ll do whatever is necessary to get our newest “babies” ready to be adopted. We don’t take in animals and rush them out as fast as we possibly can. Our goal is to make sure each dog is ready, medically and emotionally, to move on and be successful in a new home. And your thoughts and opinions based on your personal experiences and interactions with your rescue are extremely vital to that decision making process.

We also do our best to provide food through donations from local stores and organizations – but we can’t guarantee that food will be available at any given time. There are weeks when we’re being offered more food than we can possibly store, and then there are times when we’ll go months without a single food donation. We’ll keep you informed through the Facebook Foster Chat group about what food we have available and when.

Finally, we offer our foster families as much support and guidance as we possibly can. Our Officers and community of volunteers will do everything in their power to make sure you have all you need to be successful as a foster parent. Chances are that anything you experience, one of our volunteers has been through before. Our Foster Chat is available 24/7, and while it may take some time to get an answer in the middle of the night – eventually one of our fosters who handle senior dogs will be taking a late night walk to the front door, likely with their phone in hand. We’ll be here for you every step of the way.  

What are DHR’s foster requirements?

Potential fosters must meet the following requirements:

  • We prefer a physically fenced-in yard or other physical enclosure to ensure the safety of your rescue dog, but since they will hopefully only be with you for a few weeks/months - we're willing to consider this requirement on an individual basis.
  • Must be willing to fully commit your time, love, and attention to the rescue dog of your choice and understand that we cannot immediately remove a rescue from your home for any behavior other than animal vs human aggression. (Full explanation below.)
  • Must understand that it could take a few days, or even weeks, for your new rescue to adjust to your home.
  • Must be eighteen (18) years or older. Minors are welcome as long as a parent completes the adoption application.
  • Must be willing to transport your rescue to vet appointments as necessary, as well as Meet & Greet appointments with potential adopters.

What do I do as the Foster? 


First and foremost – we ask that you give your new rescue a loving, safe, and supportive home environment. Many of the dogs we take in have been neglected and/or abused, and some have never even lived inside a home. They’ll need to be slowly introduced to normal household activities, like television noises, music, and even the vacuum cleaner. Just living with your rescue will go a long way towards preparing them for life in their forever home.


You’ll also be responsible for taking your rescue to vet appointments. We’ll work closely with you to set appointments within your schedule, and while some of our rescues need multiple appointments for various procedures, many need only one appointment for a general health check, spay/neuter, and to be brought current on vaccinations. Part of caring for your rescue is also following through with any vet orders like bathing schedules, giving medications, and monitoring behavior. If you ever have any questions, do NOT hesitate to contact the vet or one of our Officers or volunteers for support or guidance.    


If we don’t have food donations available, we ask that you provide food for your rescue dog. However, under no circumstances do you need to go out and purchase the most expensive food available. Purina Dog Chow or Pedigree will keep your new best friend just as healthy and happy as the fancy stuff. Just make sure you keep the receipts for any food that you purchase as it’s considered a charity donation and is 100% tax deductible. That also goes for toys, treats, blankets, or anything else you purchase for your rescue.


Large ticket items such as crates, gates, special food, etc. will be covered by us, unless you already own an item and are willing to use it for your rescue. Sometimes, if our crates are all in use, we may ask you to purchase an item and we'll either send you the funds via PayPal prior to the purchase, or reimburse you immediately afterward. All we ask is that you snap a picture of the receipt and send it to us for our records.


Having your rescue dog meet with their potential new family is what we all do this for – so we ask that you handle the meet & greet with the approved adopters for your rescue. But don’t worry - you’ll have input on every step of the adoption process. We’ll talk with you about potential adopters and weigh your opinion very heavily as you’ll know your rescue’s needs and personality best. And since you know them best, when it’s time for them to meet potential families – we’ll have you contact them via whatever means you’re most comfortable with (phone, text, email) to set up a meet & greet appointment.

Meet & greet appointments for your rescue dog can be set at your discretion. If you’re comfortable going to a potential adopter’s home, or allowing an adopter to visit your home, we leave that decision to you. If you’d rather meet in public – we encourage you to pick a place that you’re comfortable with. However, if your rescue is a puppy - we simply ask that you choose a public meeting place that doesn't see much animal traffic simply as a measure to protect your pup from Parvo.

Although we’ve checked references and done our best to make sure each approved adopter is a good match for your rescue – your safety and the safety of your rescue is ALWAYS our top priority. So please always choose the communication method and meeting places that are most comfortable for you.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Gayle Schmidt (DHR President) or Donna Smith (DHR Vice President) should always be your first point of contact in an emergency situation. Their personal phone numbers will be given to you as soon as your foster application is approved and you're invited to join the Facebook Foster Group Chat. For general questions or concerns about your rescue pet or anything else, please use the Facebook Foster Group Chat. All of our officers and volunteers monitor that chat, so it’s usually the quickest way to get a response.

What happens if I can’t handle my rescue dog?

If a dog exhibits behavioral problems aside from animal vs human aggression while in your care, we will support you in every way possible. However, we cannot remove the dog from your home immediately for other behavioral issues. Many of our mainstay foster families have multiple animals in their home at any given time, or animals with special needs, and are unable to accept another on short notice. When you submit a foster application, you'll be asked to agree with and understand that should a problem arise - you’ll be asked to remain a foster until a suitable replacement is found. If you refuse to keep the dog you committed to foster, we will pick-up our rescue and you will be placed on our Do Not Foster/Do Not Adopt list which is shared with other rescue organizations. Fostering surrendered, abused, and/or neglected animals is a serious commitment. The number of animals we're able to save directly corresponds to the number of available foster homes we have. We are more than willing to work with our fosters should unexpected personal circumstances arise, but we simply don't have the resources to redistribute our rescue dogs as a result of broken foster commitments.

What happens if my rescue dog is aggressive towards me or a member of my family?

We take animal vs human aggression very seriously at DHR. Your safety as one of our volunteers is of the utmost importance to us. If your rescue is displaying aggressive behavior towards any human – please let Gayle or Donna know immediately. Most dogs will bark at a stranger, and many puppies will mouth and bite while playing, but if your rescue is snapping or biting at humans – we need to know as soon as possible, even if there are no injuries. Unfortunately, human aggression and a bite history will make any rescue unadoptable. If after checking for health issues that might cause the behavior, our vet deems the rescue aggressive, we will have no choice but to approve euthanasia. Deciding to put a rescue dog to sleep is the most difficult choice we have to make. It’s never made lightly, and is only done when all other avenues have been exhausted.

What happens if I fall in love with my rescue and want to adopt?

If you fall in love with your rescue and just can’t imagine them living with anyone else – please let Gayle or Donna know. In most cases, we just follow through with the adoption process as normal. However, we do ask that you consider continuing to foster for us if possible. Finding fosters is often a very difficult process for us, so losing one has quite an impact on our rescue efforts.

What happens after my rescue pet goes with their forever family?

If you’re willing – you pick a new rescue to foster!  🙂 We can only save dogs when we have loving foster homes with open doors. It takes a truly special person to foster animals over and over again – but without big hearts like yours we can’t do what we do. So, with that in mind, we humbly ask that you please consider continuing to foster for us.