Weekend Foster PAALS

“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”
(Lewis Carroll)

Title: Weekend Foster PAALS
Manages: One lovable puppy/dog in training for service work
Salary: Unconditional canine love

The PAALS Weekend Foster position is extremely important to the PAALS program and its success. As a puppy or dog weekend foster, you establish the foundation of training and socialization critical to a service dog’s future success as a lifelong partner to someone in need

As a PAALS Weekend Foster you will help create a life changing canine while enjoying a puppy or dog every weekend. This is a perfect fit for working folks who love dogs, but don’t have time during the week to care for one. It’s also a great way to teach kids how to give back by nurturing a dog that will go on to care for someone who needs them most.

Please read the Weekend Foster Job Description and the FAQ’s at the bottom of the page before applying.

If you are ready to apply to become a PAALS Weekend Foster, click on the button to complete an online application.

Apply to be a Weekend Foster

Weekend Foster PAALS: Elizabeth Chamblee
Videographer: Mac Renwick (Clemson student)


Weekend Foster PAALS FAQ’s
Answers to the most common questions we are asked

  • Providing a safe and loving home for a Service Dog in training on weekends and holidays
  • Providing transportation to routine veterinary care which may include vaccinations, preventative medicines, spay or neuter, and emergency care
  • Provide predetermined dog food
  • Provide a crate large enough for the dog to sleep in
  • Learning basic Dog Handling skills so that you are consistent with PAALS methods
  • Teaching and enforcing basic Obedience and proper house Manners
  • Learning the basics of canine Education to improve your dog’s skills at home
Both Weekend Fosters and Pupsitters are required to attend the same initial training class and apply with the same application. Usually people decide to become a Weekend Foster or an occasional Pupsitter at the end of that training class.

Weekend Fosters are asked to commit to at least six consecutive months of taking a dog home every weekend. Pupsitters fill in when a foster family can’t take a dog on a specific weekend because of illness, family vacation, etc. Pupsitters receive an email whenever there is a Weekend Foster opening for a weekend.

Weekend Fosters are expected to attend at least two Friday evening training sessions and participate in two public outings with PAALS training staff each month. Pupsitters do not have this requirement, but are encouraged to attend training sessions when they can to continue to improve their skills.

The first step is to be a PAALS volunteer. If you are not, already a PAALS volunteer, please apply for that position before applying to become a foster.

If you are already a PAALS volunteer and have completed the Volunteer Orientation training, the next step is to complete and submit the online Weekend Foster application.

Once your application is received, a staff member will review it to see if it contains all the necessary information. If additional information is needed to evaluate your application, a staff member will contact you.

The application will then be review by a member of our training staff to evaluate you situation as a foster. If some information needs to be clarified, the training staff member will contact you.

After approval by the training staff, you will be contacted to schedule a home visit. A home visit by a PAALS training staff member is required before you can be approved as a Weekend Foster.

When your application is approved, you will be notified and you will be placed on a list to be notified when the next Weekend Foster training class is scheduled. This class occurs over one weekend: Friday evening, all day Saturday and a half day Sunday. After the class, you will generally take a puppy home for Sunday night. At this point you have qualified to become a Pupsitter PAALS.

To move from a Pupsitters to a Weekend Foster, you are required to take an additional two consecutive weeks of one evening class per week.

All PAALS volunteers must attend a general orientation class. Pupsitters and Weekend Fosters must also complete additional training specific to that task. If at the end of training you still don’t feel confident in your abilities, you can ask one of the PAALS staff members to work with you individually.
No. The Volunteer Orientation and Weekend Foster classes do NOT entitle you to take the dog out in public with you.

If you would like to have public access with your dog, you must pass a public access test. Before you can take this test you must put in at least 10 hours of additional training, have a minimum of 5 months of participating in our programs and have attended a certain number of Friday evening classes.

Yes, Children can do things like feeding, walking with an adult also holding a leash, grooming, and learning basic cues. But no matter what the age and maturity level or your kids, YOU are primarily responsible for the dog’s care if your child is under 18. No child under 14 is allowed to walk the dog alone.

Please understand that having a dog, especially a puppy, is a lot of work (it’s actually a lot like having a toddler in the house). YOU must also attend the classes, pick up and drop off the dog, and enforce all the rules. YOU are responsible for the dog’s safety and well-being. And you know you’ll be the one walking the dog in the rain!

Having other pets does not disqualify you from being a Pupsitter of Weekend Foster family as long as your pets are friendly, healthy and up to date on all vaccinations. Your instructor will teach you how to properly introduce them.
That depends on your level of commitment. You may choose to pick up and drop off a dog every weekend, every holiday, or as an occasional Pupsitter. But no matter how often you take a dog you still have to take the required classes.

We will give you a dog whose age and temperament suits your lifestyle. The amount of time you spend with the dog when you’re at home is up to you. We do require that any time you are not actively supervising the dog; it must be in a crate.

Probably not. We will match you based on the dogs we have available, temperament (yours and the dog’s), level of experience, home situation (location, family members, etc.)
PAALS asks for a minimum of six months for Weekend Foster commitments. We’d love it if you became a permanent part of the family.

Each dog is usually in a Weekend Foster home for 6-18 months, but we may decide to take back any dog at any time. We often exchange dogs between schools, trainers or puppy raisers. Or we may decide to release a dog that is not able to complete the training.

Many people think it will be too difficult for them or their children to give up a dog they took care of for several months. Some cope by taking a variety of dogs instead of just one, others take a new dog the minute they give up the first one, or they support the program in other ways.

This is why we insist that puppy raising is a donation to the program, not just an opportunity for you to bond with a dog. Giving your dog back is never easy, but it can be one of the highlights of the whole experience if you are dedicated to helping someone who needs that dog for safety, confidence, emotional support and independence.

When the dog’s training is complete (usually at 20-24 months of age), it will become a fully qualified service dog and be paired with one of our clients in waiting.

We pair the dog and the client during a two-week “boot camp”. After this intense training period for the clients, we hold a graduation ceremony with the trainers, puppy raisers, clients, and their families. That’s when you’ll know it was all worthwhile.