Thank you for your interest in becoming a Foster Parent!
"Fostering is an important step on a pet’s journey to their forever home. A home environment is best for their health and wellbeing. Fostering cats and dogs allows them to thrive in a home environment and practice forming bonds with their caregivers. For pets who have been waiting longer for adoption, foster caregivers can help reassure adopters that these pets are a good fit for a home and speak to the type of home or family that would be the best match for the pet." -- Maddies Fund
They say it takes a village and we couldn’t agree more! Our Foster Department works closely with our foster volunteers to care for around 2,000 homeless animals each year. We always looking to welcome new foster parents to our team.
What is Fostering?
Temporary homes are needed for the following types of animals:
Fostering is when you open up your home and heart to temporarily care for an animal that needs to recover from an illness, injury, a baby animal who needs care before they're old enough to be adopted, or an animal with behavioral needs who can benefit from a quite home before they can begin their journey to find an adoptive home.
Why is Fostering So Important?
- Foster families play an essential role in animal rescue. They provide care and support for the most vulnerable animals in our shelter.
- While in a foster home, our animals learn how to bond with people, receive necessary personal care, and avoid exposure to common shelter illnesses, all while away from the stress of a shelter environment.
- Our fosters are able to learn more about each animal's personality and needs, which in turn helps the adoption staff to find fitting adoptive homes.
- Fostering also opens up space in the shelter allowing us to save more lives.
If you are interested in learning more about the Utah Humane Society Foster program, please read our Foster Program FAQs at the bottom of this page.
Being a foster parent is fun and rewarding. You are literally a lifesaver!
To fill out the Foster Care Application online, please complete the form below.
View Pets Who Need Help Now:
Foster Program FAQs
Can you temporarily foster my animal for me?
Our foster program was designed to help homeless animals to become well enough to be placed for adoption. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer foster homes for owned pets. Please see the Get Help section of our website to see what resources we can offer pet owners.
What kinds of animals need foster homes?
Our foster program was designed to provide a safe, quiet home for animals that are preparing to become available for adoption. Typically, this consists of underage puppies and kittens, nursing moms, animals recovering from illness such as kennel cough or upper respiratory infection, and animals recovering from injury/surgery. Once these animals have recovered in their foster home they come back the Humane Society to start looking for their adoptive family. Sometimes an animal may be particularly stressed in a shelter type environment and we may look for a foster home that they can stay in while they are looking for their adoptive home.
Can I foster if I have other pets?
Yes! Many of our foster families are pet owners, but there are few important things to consider. We don’t always know how our foster animals feel about other animals. It is important that you have a space away from other animals that your foster animal can live in incase they don’t get along or just want to rest. Spare bedrooms, bathrooms, and laundry rooms can make great options. It’s common for foster animals to need recovery time in a foster home prior to receiving their spay/neuter surgery, so we require that other cats and dogs in the home be spayed or neutered before bringing home a foster pet. It’s also important to makes sure that your animals are safe from illness by keeping them up to date on their vaccinations. The Humane Society is not able to provide or cover medical treatment if your pet catches an illness from your foster pet.
Can I foster if I work or go to school?
Yes! Most of the animals that need a foster home are able to be left in a safely prepared room, including adult animals, kittens over 1 month, moms with litters, and small mammals such as rabbits or guinea pigs. Young puppies may need frequent potty breaks, requiring the ability to come home a few times a day. Orphaned puppies and kittens under 1 month, affectionately known as bottle feeders, require feedings every 2-3 hours, around the clock, and would not be a good foster option for a family that is way from home a lot.
Do I have to own my home to foster?
No. We have many foster families that rent their homes. However, we ask that you confirm with your landlord that you are allowed to foster in your rental home. This ensures that we don’t put an animal through the undue stress of being quickly returned to the shelter if the landlord is not on board.
What am I agreeing to do as a foster family?
Our foster families agree to give their foster animals a safe, clean place to stay until they are ready for adoption. This includes providing for their daily needs such as food, medication, walks, and cuddles. We rely on our foster families to provide transportation to and from our adoption center for medical appointments, pick-up and drop-offs, and picking up supplies. Our foster families also agree to monitor the health of their foster animals and reach out to our Foster Department staff to resolve any concerns.
How long do foster animals stay in your home?
Most foster needs are 1-2 weeks, however, some animals will need a longer stay in their foster homes. Foster animals recovering from surgery or being treated for heartworm may need a foster home for 1-6 months. Our Foster Department staff will let you know the length of stay that the animal needs before you commit to fostering it.
Do I get to choose which animal I foster or will they be chosen for me?
Once approved you will work with the foster team to determine which animal will be a good fit for your home. Based on your individual home environment we may have suggestions or reach out about a certain animal that we feel will be a good fit, but you make the final approval of any animal you foster. You can also reach out to the foster department if you see an animal on our “Needs Foster” list that you think might be a good fit for your house. Please understand that some animals may have certain needs or behaviors that may make the animal not a good fit for every home.
Do I have to pay to be a foster family?
No. The Humane Society of Utah will provide food, treats, necessary medication, a collar/leash for dogs, a carrier for cats, and a carrier and enclosure for small animals. Other supplies such as crates, x-pens, toys, beds, potty pads, litter and litter boxes, and more are usually available as well. As a private, nonprofit rescue we rely on donations and always appreciate when our foster families are able to supplement their supplies. We will also provide all medical care for our animals. Our shelter vet is able to attend to most medical needs through appointments at our shelter. However, some animals may need to see a specialist, such as a physical therapist. Our foster families provide the ride and we pay the bill.
How do I become a foster family?
You start by filling out a foster application. A Foster Department staff member will reach out, usually within a week, to go over your application. If approved, we will then email you an online orientation and instructions on accessing all the foster programs and resources.
What happens if I turn down a foster animal or can’t commit when first called?
If you are called about a possible foster and you are not able to foster, you may say “No” and continue to be considered active in the program for future foster care opportunities. Our Foster Department’s main goal is to get animals quickly into an appropriate foster home, so we do ask our foster families to respond as quickly as possible. You are always welcome to think about it while we continue to reach out to possible foster homes.
Can I foster more than one animal or litter at a time?
It’s important that animals in a foster home get time for care and socialization as well as a space of their own in the home. Due to the time and space commitment of a foster animal or litter, we typically only have one at a time in a foster home. If you have the time and space for more than one foster we are happy to talk to you about possibly fostering more than one animal at a time. However, to make sure that we don’t accidently spread illness in our community, we require that you only foster for one organization at a time.
I saw an animal available for adoption on your website that I liked, can I foster it?
Once an animal is available for adoption they stay onsite at our shelter to meet with potential adopters. Animals in foster homes are not easy for interested adopters to meet with, creating a barrier to finding them an adoptive home. For this reason animals already available for adoption are not available to take home as a foster animal.
What happens if my foster animal doesn’t get better in my home?
Most animals that go to foster homes are able to recover and move on to adoption. However, even with the best of care it’s possible for an animal to continue to decline in their foster home. If extensive or significant medical treatment is required, the Humane Society may request the return of the animal to provide direct vet care. Fostering an animal usually improves an animal’s chance to be adopted, but it does not guarantee that an animal will be adopted.
What if I want to adopt my foster animal?
Let the Foster Department staff know once you decide that you are interested in adopting. Once your foster animal is cleared for adoption they will let you know where and when you can put in your adoption application. All staff, volunteers, and fosters are required to go through the regular adoption process.
What if my friend wants to adopt my foster animal?
Fosters are welcome and encouraged to alert the Foster Department of prospective adopters, but under no circumstances are foster families to place their foster animals in other homes or make any promises to possible adopters. All potential adopters must go through the regular adoption process as well.
How old do you need to be to foster for the Humane Society of Utah?
To submit an application you must be at least 18 years old. Fostering is really a family affair, which is why we want all member of the family or household onboard. We understand that the daily care and time spent with our foster animals will likely be divided among family members. We do ask that all foster animals are supervised by an adult anytime they are around children.
Can I foster an animal for Court Ordered Community Service hours?
Fostering does not qualify for court ordered community service hours. Please see our Volunteer Department page for more information regarding our Community Service Volunteer Program.
If you have any questions that were not answered above, please contact the Foster Care Department.
We sincerely appreciate your time and interest in helping animals in need, thank you!