Fostering & Rescue Waggin

Fostering 101

Fostering a shelter animal saves not one life, but two. When you foster cats, kittens, dogs, or puppies for the Little Rock Animal Village in your home, you create space for more pets at the shelter. Fostering is the most direct way to help an animal; you are giving it a second chance at life.

Fostering is fun. You will never be bored! There is always something to do with a foster from cuddling, teaching good manners, to playing fetch. Every animal is different and you will find immense pleasure watching an animal’s personality unfold one day at a time.  Taking a foster into your home gives it the opportunity to learn how to be a “pet,” something stray animals may have forgotten or never learned.

Fostering can be done by almost anyone, anywhere. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, in the city or out in the country, we can find a foster match for you. Thousands of animals enter the Little Rock Animal Village each year. They come in all sizes, shapes and personalities. If you have an active lifestyle, we will find a foster dog that will run with you. Are you a couch potato? We will find you a lap dog. Do you prefer cats? We can set you up with some kittens that are not old enough to be adopted or an older cat that needs to recuperate from surgery, an illness or accident.  Do you like the challenge of training a puppy? Whatever you want, we have an animal that is just right for you. 

Fostering can be a short-term or a long-term proposition. We have several types of fostering opportunities.
  • If you want a short-term foster, you might want to foster for the Rescue Waggin’. The Village has a grant from Petsmart Charities that allows us to send dogs and puppies to other states with low shelter populations. Rescue Waggin’ fosters are generally in your home for less than a week.
  • If you have training skills (or a desire to learn some) you can take in a dog with a trainable behavior issue such as jumping up, mouthing or food guarding or a cat that is afraid and hides at the back of her cage. Dogs, in particular, have more confidence when they have skills such as knowing how to sit and walk on a leash. Having these skills also makes them more adoptable. You can take the animal in for as long as you can before returning it to The Village or you can promote the animal on your own, to help it find a home.
  • Are you the nurturing type? The shelter can be a stressful place, so taking a foster into your home can often speed up the healing process for an animal with a mild infection or one that is recovering from an injury. During the spring and summer we get in hundreds of kittens who aren’t old enough to be put up for adoption, but have already weaned.
Fostering costs next to nothing. All animals that are old enough are altered before leaving the Little Rock Animal Village and all adoptable animals are given routine vaccinations upon entering. The Village provides all medications and veterinary care. All you need to foster an animal is food and a quiet space away from other animals.

Fostering is an education for the whole family.  Taking a shelter animal into your home provides a wonderful learning experience for children that they may not be able to receive elsewhere. Fostering teaches responsibility and empathy because you are caring for something that is very vulnerable. Children learn first-hand the satisfaction of volunteering.

Fostering can be emotional. Some people fear getting too attached to an animal and in all likelihood, you will develop a bond with the animal you have nurtured. This is absolutely normal, but when you return your foster to the Village, you can take pride in the knowledge that you have helped him (or her) on his way to a loving forever home.  Remember:  It is not about you. It is about the animal.  

If you have more questions or are interested in fostering a dog, contact Tracy Roark at If fostering a cat is more up your alley, contact Debbie Heller at

If you would like to print out the foster application, please click here.

Rescue Waggin

"Rescue Waggin" is a nation-wide program by PetSmart Charities and sponsored by Pedigree. The program is designed to transport dogs from over-crowded shelters to areas that have high demand for healthy, well adjusted animals. LRAV proudly participates in this program each and every month. LRAV dogs are selected to "ride the Waggin" through an evaluation process that ensures a mild disposition with people, food and other animals.  Selected animals must be friendly, social and display no forms of aggression.

Arkansas statlaw requires any dog or cat released from a shelter in Pulaski County to be spayed or neutered before leaving. So, all Rescue Waggin animals are fully vetted and sterilized before the trip.

The Rescue Wagon program has two trucks that come to Little Rock on a monthly basis. One trip carries as many as 50 dogs, but a normal LRAV load is 32-35. Animals leave LRAV and are transported to receiving shelters all over the middle and eastern US, including Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, and more!

Check out this video of the 304 dogs that have been rescued by Little Rock Animal Village working with the Rescue Waggin' program just over the last year!

Rescue Waggin' Program

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