Become a Volunteer Foster Caregiver
The Oregon Humane Society cares for thousands of animals each year, and many of these pets spend time in foster care before they are ready to find their permanent homes.
Opening your home temporarily to an animal from OHS is a special way to show your passion for helping animals. Many of the animals looking for foster homes face challenges that can best be overcome with the loving support of our fantastic foster volunteers. Our foster homes also help create space in our shelter facility so we can help even more animals that are in need of immediate care.
As a foster volunteer, you might care for: animals with special medical or behavioral needs; puppies or kittens under eight weeks of age and in need of special feeding and socialization; or mother animals with nursing litters. By fostering a shelter animal you are providing rehabilitation in a nurturing home environment and directly preparing them for adoption into a loving home.
Learn more about our foster program below. Questions? Please contact us.
Ready to apply to be a foster-only* volunteer? Fill out our online application.
*If you would like to also volunteer your time in person at the shelter, please fill out the general volunteer application instead, found here. The foster application is for volunteers who are only interested in fostering, and do not plan to volunteer at the shelter.
Learn More About Being a Foster Volunteer
A volunteer foster parent temporarily helps care for one or more shelter pets at home until the animals are ready for adoption. Our foster parents provide a clean, safe, loving environment for homeless pets and help them prepare to find a new forever home.
Animals who are not ready for adoption for any reason will be candidates for foster care. As a foster parent, you may give a mother cat and her kittens a place to live until the kittens are old enough for the entire family to return to the shelter for adoption. You could care for a cat with an upper respiratory infection until he feels better, or help rehabilitate a dog with a broken leg that is healing. We may also foster animals that need socialization and are not thriving in the shelter environment.
Depending on each animal’s needs, foster stays may be anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months or more. We match our foster animals with foster parents based on the individual needs of the pet and the experience, preference and availability of our foster parents. Once you become a foster parent, we ask that you try to foster at least once every six months. We foster year round, but we tend to have the greatest need from May-October, when we receive most of our kittens.
Since most foster animals have limited immunity, it is best to keep them physically separated from your own pets (preferably in a different room), at least at first. When outside, puppies and dogs must be supervised in an enclosed yard or on a leash. Kittens and cats must be kept indoors at all times.
If you love animals, you will naturally enjoy having a foster pet in your home—and it’s also natural for some people to feel sad when it’s time for the pet to return to the shelter for adoption. But our foster parents agree that helping save the lives of tens—or even hundreds—of pets by preparing them to find forever homes is one of the most rewarding things they have ever done.
To become a foster parent you must be 18 years of age and pass a background check.
The first step to becoming a foster volunteer is to fill out our online foster application.* Once you have filled out the application and passed a background check, you will be scheduled for your Foster Care Orientation here at OHS.
*If you would like to also volunteer your time here at the shelter, please fill out the general volunteer application instead, found here. The foster application is for volunteers who are only interested in fostering, and do not plan to volunteer at the shelter.