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Give a dog or cat a break

Although Mayhew’s accommodation is fabulously comfy and homely, some animals simply don’t cope well with a rescue environment. In this kind of situation it’s much nicer for an animal to have a temporary home environment where lots of one-to-one attention can be given. Fostering also frees up space at Mayhew for other animals in need of our care. Many animals we see would be euthanised if rescue centres couldn’t help to re-home them. Very simply: fostering saves lives by freeing up space.

Become a foster carer

Mayhew is always on the lookout for new foster carers. Fostering is rewarding but requires a high level of time, emotional commitment and patience.

I want to foster a dog

You would be an ideal dog foster carer if you:

• Have previous experience of dog ownership and are confident with handling.
• Are able to foster long term (3 months+).
• Are happy and able to give the dog a minimum of 1 hour off lead (long line) exercise a day.
• Don’t leave the dog alone for more than 4 hours.
• Live within an hour’s drive of The Mayhew as will be required to drive to the home for dog collection and drop off, supply collection and vet visits.


We are also seeking experienced dog owners to help as fosterers for our Pet Refuge scheme. If you would like to be considered as a Pet Refuge fosterer specifically, please note this on your application. Thank you.

Please note that once the dog is up for adoption you should be contactable over the phone during viewing times (Monday – Friday from 12 noon – 3.30pm, Saturday from 1pm -3.30pm and Sunday from 1pm -2pm) in order to arrange a viewing time for the potential owner.

Alternatively you can get in touch with our Dog Fostering Co-ordinator via email or at 07951 652 822.

I want to foster a cat

You would be an ideal cat foster carer if you:

• Live in the following postcodes: HA0, HA1, HA3, HA9, NW2, NW3, NW4, NW6, NW8, NW9, NW10, NW11, UB5, UB6, W2, W3, W5, W6, W7, W9, W10, W11, W12 and W13 as you will be required to drive to the home for cat collection and drop off, supply collection and vet visits. However, if you are happy with the travelling times we are open to people from other areas as well.
• Have some previous experience of cat ownership even if just as a child and be confident handling and picking up cats.
• Are able to keep in contact whilst a foster cat is in your care and provide updates via email, text or phone.
• Are willing to permanently keep a foster cat indoors.
• Some experience of medicating cats is a bonus but not compulsory as we can provide you with training.
• Are emotionally able to return the cat to the centre for rehoming when asked.

• Any working pattern is OK but those who only work part time or shift patterns or work from home or unemployed are especially sought. Full time Mon-Fri workers will be considered, however please note that this limits the type of cat you can foster.

Alternatively you can get in touch with our Cat Fostering Co-ordinator via email or at 020 8962 8000.

About fostering

There are two types of animals available for fostering: those looking for a permanent home and those on our Pet Refuge scheme.

Once we have reviewed your application, we will contact you for an informal chat and if both parties are happy to continue the process, arrange a visit from one of our Volunteer Home Visitors to confirm that your home environment will be suitable for animal fostering.

Expenses and health issues

Mayhew is unable to provide travel expenses but we can provide food, bedding, toys and all other equipment needed, however as a charity we welcome and appreciate any help towards these provisions from foster carers.

If your fostered animal becomes ill, you must agree to bring it back to Mayhew for veterinary treatment, or in case of an emergency out of normal Mayhew hours, contact RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital on 0870 908 5316 / Mayhew 020 8962 8017. Please note Mayhew will not pay for private veterinary fees.

Selecting a foster animal & falling in (or out!) of love

We will work with you to ensure the animal selected for you to foster is the most suitable for your circumstances. This may mean that sometimes we do not have a suitable animal available, for example if you’re a parent and we don’t have a dog that would be good with children. In such circumstances we ask for your patience and will contact you when a suitable animal becomes available.

From time to time things may not work out in the foster home. This may be a result of inaccurate information given by the previous owner, the animal displaying new behaviour in the home environment that we had not experienced at Mayhew, or the foster carer realising that they cannot cope with what they had signed up for (particularly in the case of behavioural issues). On these occasions we will always have the animal back to Mayhew either the same day or the next day, as space allows.

Approximately a third of foster carers will go on to permanently adopt the animal they have on foster. Please do not underestimate the emotional attachment you will form with an animal, often in a matter of a few days. We are really looking for foster carers who are not simply fostering in order to try an animal out before deciding whether to keep them.

It should be noted that as a foster carer you are not treated as a priority for permanent ownership. If we have someone who has already been sent to view an animal in your home and then you decide you want to keep the animal, you would be second in line.

It is also important to realise that Mayhew must consider your home to be a suitable permanent home for a fostered animal before adoption can take place.

Fostering requirements for animals looking for permanent homes

Animals awaiting a permanent home from Mayhew may be with us as a result of being handed over by their existing owner, being brought in as a stray, or being rescued from a welfare situation. Some can wait for permanent homes longer than others, and we are keen to foster out these animals for the reasons previously mentioned. These animals will typically be larger canine breeds, cats with ongoing health conditions, animals with behavioural issues and elderly animals. We also foster out feral kittens in need of constant socialising and one to one attention. In these cases, a lot of time and patience is involved and the foster carer must be fully committed to the task at hand.

To foster animals looking for a permanent home you will need to be located within the M25 and be willing and able to travel to and from Mayhew to collect the animal and bring it back to us. Please bear in mind that we will not be able to predict when a suitable home may be found, so you may find that you take an animal on foster on a Monday and have to return it on a Friday. In this case you will be making two return trips to us within a matter of days. In extenuating circumstances we may be able to find a volunteer driver to collect a animal, but much depends on how far away from Mayhew you live.

If you choose to foster animals looking for permanent homes, you will need to be comfortable with prospective adopters visiting your home to meet the animal. Visitors to your home will have already been interviewed and vetted by The Mayhew’s Adoption Officers, who will have considered the visitors suitable owners for the animal. These visits are another reason why we cannot foster animals too far away from Mayhew – people may not be willing to travel to Birmingham to view an animal!

Once we have found an animal a permanent home, we arrange a final vet-check prior to re-homing. This will usually need to take place on a Friday, the day before the animal goes to their new home. All animals re-homed that week are collected by the new owners on a Saturday. Occasionally we may be able to arrange for the final vet-check to be carried out on a Saturday morning, but that will depend on the availability of a Mayhew vet. Foster Carers can choose whether to return the animal to us on the Friday for the vet-check and then leave them in kennels for the evening or whether to take them home after the vet-check and return to Mayhew by 11am on the Saturday.

Pet Refuge scheme fostering requirements

Our Pet Refuge Scheme offers a lifeline for owners who are temporarily unable to look after their animals due to illness, hospitalisation, mental health issues, domestic violence or other emergencies. These owners are without family or friends in a position to help but once back on their feet will continue to care for their animal in the long-term. In these cases we always try and find foster homes as then there is no need for the animal to stay at Mayhew. Our Pet Refuge Scheme offers care for up to three months, after which we would ask the owner to consider permanently re-homing their animal.

To foster animals on the Pet Refuge Scheme you can live outside of the M25, but you must still be willing and able to travel to and from Mayhew to collect the animal and bring it back to us. When the owner has confirmed they are able to have their animal back, we will arrange a mutually convenient time for it to be returned to us.

We also require volunteer drivers with their own car to help with transportation of foster animals to and from their temporary carers. Please get in touch if you can help.