Maddie’s ® Marketing Pets for Adoption and Foster Apprenticeship

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Does your organization feel like they you doing everything right, but still can't find more fosters or adopters? Are you looking more fosters or adopters for pets with medical issues or behavioral challenges? How can your shelter be transparent with fosters and adopters, but focus on the positive for marketing? We will teach you how to successfully and strategically grow your foster program through marketing. Foster care is a safe, humane alternative to housing animals in a shelter. When utilized in the APA! Model, foster care can increase your organization’s lifesaving capacity. Learn how you can raise your placement numbers, implement strategic measures, manage a population-based foster program, and reduce operating costs. Learn how to increase the capacity of your existing foster program through effective assessment and implementation of best practices and policies. Leave ready to grow and save even more animal lives!

Who Should Apply?

This apprenticeship opportunity is for shelter/rescue organization directors, staff and volunteers who are interested in learning how to be the most effective at implementing a foster program in their organization. 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 dogs and cats in their homes.

How Does it Work?

This apprenticeship is three days, plus travel. Students will spend three days at Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Animal Center in Austin, Texas.

Students will be guided through activities to:

  • Learn strategies to market pets in a variety of situations, including needing space, large impounds and moments of crisis
  • Set goals and timelines based on objective data; Learn how to manage your data via a web based or other foster tracking system
  • Design marketing and fundraising campaigns
  • Create widespread foster engagement
  • Learn how marketing can be your most lifesaving tool to recruit, train and retain foster families and a volunteer team to support them
  • Maximize placement of large adult dogs in foster and adoptive homes


January 27 - 28

May 12 - 13

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
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