If you have a place in your heart and home for animals—but you’re not prepared to adopt—consider fostering for the Dumb Friends League. Our Homes with Hearts foster care program lets animal lovers bring pets from our shelters into their homes on a temporary basis to prepare them for adoption. We know it can sometimes be a challenging experience – in the love you invest, the commitment it takes, and, eventually, in saying goodbye to a pet that you’ve nurtured for an extended period of time. But know that what you do matters. Every pet that’s fostered has a better chance at a happier and healthier life ahead with a forever family.


  1. View our video to learn how animal lovers like you find fostering meaningful and rewarding
  2. Complete the application
  3. Attend an orientation
  4. Interview
  5. Attend Foster 101
  6. Have a home inspection
  7. Attend ongoing classes on caring for kittens, cats, puppies and dogs, and access our behavior counselors whenever you need them
Foster Application

Junior Foster Parent program

Our Junior Foster Parent program provides an opportunity for young people age 12-17 to gain hands-on experience with the responsibilities involved in caring for animals. Prospective junior foster parents complete an application, attend orientation, have a personal interview with our volunteer services manager, and attend Foster 101. Home inspections are conducted next to see where the foster animal(s) will be living, sleeping and eating. Junior foster parents then attend an orientation class. Following the interview, the new junior foster parent receives a call from a foster care coordinator offering a foster animal. Click here to apply.

What you can expect

Animals in need. 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 take home a rabbit to make room for new arrivals in our small-mammals area. We have lots of animals that need your care, especially older cats who truly benefit by spending time away from the shelter before they find their forever homes.

Supplies and care. We furnish all the supplies you need, including food, litter, bedding, toys and enrichment items, and medical care. Foster parents are responsible for traveling to and from the shelters for medical care and foster care appointments. The frequency of appointments varies depending on the reason an animal is being fostered.

Commitment. Fostering may last anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the pet’s needs.