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Dogs Trust appeal for foster carers in Northern Ireland

Adam McGahan Dogs Trust foster dog.

Adam McGahan Dogs Trust foster dog.

The team at Dogs Trust Ballymena is appealing to dog lovers in Northern Ireland to help care for more dogs in need by becoming a volunteer foster carer. 


The charity is facing a record number of enquiries from people considering handing over their pet, and with rehoming centres feeling the strain, more than ever volunteer foster carers are needed to provide a temporary home for dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes. 


Foster carers open their homes to dogs on a temporary basis until matched with their forever families.  All costs are covered by Dogs Trust, including food, bedding and vet treatment.   


One such foster carer is Nuala Donnelly and her partner Adam McGahan who have been fostering since October 2021. They recently waved a fond farewell to their seventh foster dog Staffordshire Bull terrier Iggy who went off to their new forever home. 

Nuala Donnelly with Dogs Trust foster dog.

Nuala Donnelly with Dogs Trust foster dog.

Nuala said: “It’s one of the best decisions we have ever made to foster for Dogs Trust. 


“We like the new experiences caring for different breeds, quickly learning the dogs likes and dislikes. We really enjoy their differing personalities and the warmth having a dog in the home brings. Caring for a foster dog makes us go for walks and we instantly feel happy with a dog in the house.  The support you receive from Dogs Trust is brilliant, one of the team is always on hand if you have any questions.   


“To anyone considering fostering I would say it is such a worthwhile thing to do. From a nervous soul to a dog that is full of life and colour, you are giving them comfort in a home environment and a helping hand before they find their forever home which is so rewarding. I can’t imagine not having a dog in my life, and as we don’t own a dog at present, fostering is a perfect way to help lots of dogs.” 


There are currently 18foster carers in Northern Ireland that receive support from the charity’s Home from Home foster team at Dogs Trust Ballymena rehoming centre, however there is a waiting list of dogs needing help.   


Stephanie Scott, Coordinator of the Home from Home fostering scheme at Dogs Trust Ballymena, says:

“We are facing a crisis as our kennel space in Northern Ireland is really stretched. We need to act now to be there for as many dogs as possible.   


“Fostering a dog is a great opportunity for dog lovers who are currently unable to have a dog of their own. It offers flexibility and we cover all essential costs. By volunteering you will be playing the most important role, giving stability, love and care to a dog in need as you prepare them for life in their forever home. 


“Our foster carers give our dogs valuable experience of home life, and they get to know what makes them tick; they can tell us everything from what are their favourite toys and treats to the kind of walks they enjoy to where they like to sleep. All this information gives us the best chance of ensuring our fantastic rescue dogs find their ideal forever home. If you think you can open your heart and your home to help a dog get back on their paws, we would love to hear from you.” 


All foster carers must be 18 years or over and either have their own garden or access to an outside space. Foster dogs cannot live in homes with cats or with children under 10 years of age.   


You can find out more about fostering for Dogs Trust on our website:


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