Every shelter operates with its own application process, and different states have different rules, so it’s important to do your research before you consider adoption or fostering. Certain organizations have stringent protocols to follow before allowing you to adopt or foster, like home environment checks or financial screenings. Others use what is called an “open adoption” ethos that breaks down the barriers for people to take dogs home.
Although there are some variances in different systems, the general concept behind the application is similar. You'll be asked to answer general questions about your lifestyle, such as how often you are out of the house and what type of work you do, in order to help the shelter or agency determine the best match.
When it comes to fostering, different shelters may vary in their fostering requirements, but it’s typical for fostering minimums to be put in place for the benefit of both the foster parent and the dog. There is generally a two-week commitment, after which people typically stay with the dog until they're adopted.
To get the process started, the best thing to do is to reach out to a reputable shelter to ask any questions you have before starting the process.