Become a Foster Parent to Needy Animals!

Thursday, August 9, 2012 - 11:00am
happy dog

Do you have room in your home and your heart to be a lifeline for needy animals? Shelters often need outside help caring for pets until they’re ready for adoption. Becoming a foster parent is a great way to make a hands-on difference in the lives of animals in your community! Shelter pets who may benefit from some quality time with a family often include newborns and those recovering from surgery.

Fostering is a wonderful way to help your local shelter create more space for needy animals, and it’s a great way to enjoy the many benefits of having a pet in your life without the long-term commitment.

Still need convincing? Check out our Foster Stories for real, first-person accounts of how rewarding fostering can be!

P.S.: Live in NYC and want to become a foster caretaker? Learn about the ASPCA’s Foster Care Program and enroll today! Remember, many shelters across the country sponsor similar programs, so be sure to check with your local shelter if you’re interested in fostering needy pets.

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Fostering is so rewarding. I worked in a kill shelter for 8 years and saved many lif's that way. Sometimes I had up to 12 cat's and kittens at my house, all have happy homes now and are happy with there new family's.


How do I get started on fostering pets?


Find a local rescue or shelter (google makes this SO easy!) & most have Foster Training & will go over the details with you! Most will pay for all supplies & medical treatment needed for your foster, so all you are investing is your time & love!

Lois Morris

Over the past 9+ years, I have fostered nearly 400 animals for 1 private shelter and 1 city shelter, mostly cats and kittens. All that have lived have gone on to be adopted, many into wonderful, loving homes. A few have passed away, but this is part of fostering, and all were loved and well-cared for up until their demise. Fostering takes a 'mind set' and is a real life lesson... you must see yourself as a vehicle to placing these otherwise-doomed babies into loving homes where they are cherished and cared for. Will they all get wonderful homes? Probably not...but the majority will, it is a life lesson in giving up control of what you cannot orchestrate, and taking a leap of faith that your fosters will live happy lives. I have followed up on many of my adoptions, and it is so rewarding to speak to a new adopter who is so excited and happy about their new pet! Fostering gives shelter animals a "leg up" in that they are socialized, and many get used to living with other animals prior to adoption (I have both cats and a dog of my own who help with that!). It is often hard to give up your foster animals, but what if you kept them all?? I know that my fosters have gone on to better situations, both for them and my own animals, than if they ALL stayed with me! If you have the space and the heart and will, fostering is hard work, but so fulfilling!


I want to foster so bad! And keep up the good work, fosterers!


I recently had my first foster experience. Someone threw a laundry basket with puppies out of a car window. They were about 5 days old and needed immediate attention. I bottle fed and burped them every three hours and they lived in our bathroom tub for 4 weeks. Then as they grew bigger and more mobile we kept them in a play pen. They were so dependent on me and it was so rewarding watching them grow. When they became old enough for adoption I thought I wouldn't be able to let them go. But when I met their new families it became easier to let them go. Four months later their new families still send me videos & pictures of my foster pups. When I see their faces it brings a huge smile to my face knowing I saved their lives. By far the best experience and i'd do it again in a heartbeat.

betsy fenton

My husband and I really want to foster jut none of our local shelters have this program. Any suggestions as to where we can go to do this?


I have always wanted to foster. My mom does a lot of foster and shelter work. The only thing that stops me is my dog. He doesn't always get along with other dogs. Don't get me wrong, heloves playing with other dogs at the dogpark. But he is very territorial when it comes to strangers in his home - especially strange dogs. I wouldn't want to bring in a foster dog and then he and my dog not get along. And even if they did get along my dog has some bad habits and dominant behavior that I would not want the other dog to pick up. Does anyone have any suggestions for me or similar experiences that they have worked through themselves? Thanks for your help! Keep up the great work everyone! Thank you for all you do!


Over the last 8 years I have fostered over 150 cats and kittens for our county's animal services. I couldn't have done it without the support of my husband and kids. It is definately a family effort. A few of these kitties were hospice cases and they spent their remaining days on this earth in our loving arms. A few we adopted ourselves because for one reason or another we knew they could not survive going back to the shelter. But for all the rest we were a temporary respite, a place to heal or grow stronger, a place where their true personality could shine so the shelter staff could better match them to a forever home. It is so rewarding, but not for everyone. I have shed more than a few tears, but when I hear back from adopters months and sometimes years later, sending me pictures and stories of their treasured pet, it makes it all worth while. If you can't foster, then volunteer to go in to your local shelter and walk dogs, clean kennels, educate the public about spaying and neutering, work on fundraising, update websites, or whatever you can offer.


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