Maddie’s® Fostering Animals with Contagious Diseases Apprenticeship

Apply Now

Learn how to safely reduce operating costs and increase capacity for care in your organization. In cities across the country, animals are safely recovering from contagious diseases in foster homes. These types of programs are a win-win for lifesaving shelters. We know that stress can stunt healing and that isolation in shelters can lead to more stress and more time spent healing. Sending pets to foster allows these sick dogs an cats time to recover in caring homes, rather than in the isolation of a shelter. Learn how to free up kennel space, help manage shelter disease and engage the public. Foster care is a safe, humane alternative to housing animals in a shelter and should be extended to pets with contagious diseases. When utilized in the APA! Model, foster care can increase your organization’s lifesaving capacity and lower your overhead costs. Learn how to increase the capacity of your organization by sending sick pets to loving homes.

How Does it Work?

Students will train with an experienced foster manager to learn the philosophy behind the medical foster programs at Austin Pets Alive! Students will learn all of the methods of how to implement a program like this in their own organizations.

  • Work hands-on to send contagious pets to foster
  • Understand how and when to safely place contagious animals in foster homes
  • Reduce operating cost and increase capacity for care
  • Decreasing the length of stay for sick animals
  • Recruit and train foster caregivers on how to care for animals with the disease
  • Create SOPs, foster contracts, and agreements to keep the community and pets safe
  • Start sending animals with Calici, Distemper, Parvo and Ringworm to foster

Who Should Apply?

This apprenticeship opportunity is for shelter/rescue organization directors, staff and volunteers who are interested in learning how to increase their capacity for care. Organizations with limited staff and financial resources are especially encouraged to apply, as the programs taught may actually reduce operating costs.


Today in Austin 98% of dogs and 96% of cats that enter the shelter system have a live outcome. This is in large part due to the collaboration between the Austin municipal shelter, Austin Animal Center, and its largest rescue partner, Austin Pets Alive!. Both organizations utilize a large network of fosters to increase their capacity. The APA! foster programs utilize a network of over 80 volunteers to support the administration of the programs, which have over 1000 animals in foster homes at any given time. The AAC foster program has over 300 animals in foster at any given time as well. Both programs embody the idea that "people are the solution" and empower the foster caregivers to advocate for the dogs and cats in their homes.


April 27 - 28

Open Enrollment


“Being able to take home standard operating procedures from a city that focuses on maintaining No Kill is a game changer in bringing our community forward from the animal control mentality to engaging the entire community in achieving high standards of animal welfare.”

Maddie's® Lifesaving Leadership Master Class Student

“It was fantastic. I enjoyed it [the apprenticeship] so much and took away more valuable information than I ever thought possible… thank you as does all of the Eastern Madera County SPCA. You have made an imprint on my life that I will be forever grateful for.”

Maddie's® Dog Foster Program Apprenticeship Student

"While participating in an apprenticeship at APA! I learned more effective and cost-saving ways to better serve the animals in our care, while also providing established protocols and procedures to staff members. I was able to more easily and clearly create a framework for common symptoms and illness. Other takeaways from the apprenticeship would be HR development, crowdfunding, and drug and illness protocols."

Maddie's® Clinic Apprenticeship for Managers Student

"I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to attend your master class. I was shocked at the amount of information I learned from your class. Your candor and non-judgmental attitude made receiving information when I was admitting I had been wrong so much easier. Again, thank you for the opportunity, and I look forward to staying in contact with you!"

Maddie's® Feline Lifesaving Master Class Student

"Thank you for giving us the tools we need and the continued offer of support. I feel confident that between this course and the feline course I’m attending next month, our shelter is going to be able to save most of that last 10% and that is HUGE. You are amazing. Your staff is amazing. Your volunteers are phenomenal. Thank you."

Maddie's® Canine Lifesaving Leadership Master Class Student
Back to All Apprenticeships

Stay Up To Date

American Pets Alive! will never share or sell your personal information.