Foster a Pet

Lend a Paw – Save a Life

Paws For Life uses volunteers to foster the homeless dogs and cats we rescue until they find their forever home. We need loving homes like yours to continue helping these animals in need. Fostering is really great for families with children — it helps them see how important it is to take care of our pets and to find them that perfect home. For a short period or long term, please consider helping an animal!

Reasons to Foster Pets

  • It saves adoptable animals from probable death at overcrowded shelter.
  • It removes animals from a traumatic shelter environment and gives them a happy home to live in (and be trained) while they await their forever home.
  • It gives the foster parent the benefits of having a pet without the long-term commitment (or gives their pet a playmate).
  • It allows the foster family to learn the animal’s personality so they can help the forever family determine whether it’s a good fit for them (animals don’t behave like themselves in shelters — how would you act in jail?).
  • It allows the foster family to screen applicants and ensure that the pet is going to a good home.
  • If you plan to adopt a dog or cat in the future, it gives the foster parent incredible insight into what they do or don’t want in their own pet.

Things to Know Before Fostering an Animal

It’s emotionally grueling.

If you’re fostering dogs or cats, you are likely an animal lover with a big heart. It’s so easy to get attached to a dog or cat, even after just a few days or weeks. Be aware that it is going to be hard letting them go, even though you know they are going to a good place. Prepare to feel very sad every time you ‘lose’ a foster baby.

You may also find yourself upset when your friends or family members insist on buying dogs from breeders. You just have to keep reminding yourself that your foster baby is in a happy forever home where they will be loved until the day they die, and that you’re doing your part to save lives.

It’s time-consuming.

Sometimes the dogs and cats need to be taken to the vet for shots or treatments (paid for by the rescue group). Some puppies need to be let out every few hours. Some dogs need potty or manners training. Sometimes you have to take the pet to three different potential forever homes before you find the right match. Some animals are scared and need some good TLC. Don’t foster if you don’t have some free time.

Also, if you already have your own pet, it is highly recommended to take time off between foster pets in order to give your animal a little one-on-one love.

Want to Help Out? Start by Volunteering.

Before you can help out with this opportunity, you’ll need to sign up as a volunteer. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to contact the rescue group and express your interest helping out with as a foster. Learn more about becoming a volunteer.

Ready to Rescue? Here’s How to Get Started.

  • Figure out what type of animal you want. Dog or cat?
  • Decide whether you are interested in a specific breed or if you want to help all breeds.
  • Tell Paws For Life in what capacity you can help. Can your home only accommodate small animals, or can you foster big dogs? Can you handle puppies and kitties, or only mature animals? Can you take more than one animal at once? Keep in mind that small dogs and puppies/kitties are the most in demand, and get adopted the quickest — sometimes even just days.
  • Large dogs and older dogs and cats are less in demand, and it can take weeks or months.
  • Paws For Life will notify you when it finds an animal that fits your criteria and hand it over to you. Paws For Life supplies all that is needed to care for your foster.
  • Treat the animal like your own, and train them if possible. Meanwhile, the Paws For Life will be doing outreach to find a forever home and screening applicants.
  • Receive information about the first potential forever family. Call or email them to discuss the pet and set up a visit.
  • Meet the potential forever family. For dogs, you will usually take the dog to their home for a visit. If both you and the family think it’s a match, that’s often the end of the story — you leave empty-handed. Sometimes they will want a few days to think about it, and other times they will say it’s not a good match. If things don’t go well, try again with the next name Paws For Life gives you.

Also, be warned that many foster parents end up adopting at least one of their foster babies, so if that’s out of the question for you, be sure to stick to it (and have someone hold you accountable if needed!).


Can I become a foster volunteer if I have pets of my own?

We welcome pet owners as fosters, in fact it really helps foster animals with socialization if they live with other pets in their foster homes. We will work with each foster parent individually to match them with the best foster based on their personal pets’ personalities and life styles.

How long do animals need to stay in foster care?

Typical foster stay is two weeks to several months. We go to adoption events every Saturday to show our fosters.

What expenses are involved with foster care?

Families provide housing for the animals in their care. They also provide exercise, socialization and lots of love! Paws For Life provides all vaccination, medications, and even spay/neuter costs. We also provide food for the animals in your care. The most important thing is you are helping save an animals life!

Are you ready?

Fill out a foster volunteer application now!

Apply to Foster