Foster Care Volunteers
OHS cares for thousands of pets each year, and many receive needed care in volunteer foster homes.
Foster Volunteers Provide Essential Help
Foster volunteers provide temporary care for one or more shelter pets in their own homes until the pets are ready for adoption. Often, these pets are too young to be placed in the shelter or have special needs that require a nurturing home environment. Foster parents provide a clean, safe, loving environment for these pets and help them prepare to find new homes. After spending time in foster care, these pets are healthier and happier, which means they are well-prepared to be adopted by a loving family.
Types of Animals Fostered
Animals who are not ready for adoption for any reason are 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. You might also foster animals that need socialization and are not thriving in the shelter environment.
Foster stays may be anywhere from two weeks to three months or more. Foster animals are matched with foster parents based on the individual needs of the pet and the experience, preference and availability of foster parents. Once you become a foster parent, we ask that you try to foster at least once every six months. OHS fosters animals year-round, but the greatest need is May through October, during “kitten season.”
Because 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.
Bringing Fosters Back to OHS
If you love animals, you will naturally enjoy having a foster pet in your home—and it’s also natural 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 pets by preparing them to find forever homes is one of the most rewarding things they have ever done.
For current foster care volunteers who are returning a pet you’ve fostered to the shelter, please take a few minutes to fill out the appropriate questionnaire here (dog or cat). The information you provide about the pet’s behavior and habits will help our adoption counselors make the best match for your foster pet and adopters.
Foster Volunteer Application
To become a foster parent you must be at least 18 years of age and pass a standard criminal 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 receive an email invitation to our online Foster Care Orientation and quiz.
*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.
Please contact us.