“Being a foster mom has given me the opportunity to fulfill my passion. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to do something special with animals, just did not know what that would be until I became a foster mom. Thank you SDHS and all the wonderful people who work there for letting me be part of it all." - Karen W.
Join Karen and all of our wonderful foster volunteers as they make a difference every day in the lives of animals in our community.
Opening your home temporarily to an animal from the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA 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 provide us the opportunity to free up more kennels to help even more animals that are in need of immediate care.
As a foster volunteer you may host 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 homeless animal you are providing rehabilitation in a nurturing home environment and directly preparing them for adoption into a loving home.
Foster Volunteer Application
How do I submit an application?
- Download the Foster Application (above).
- Fill out the PDF online by using Adobe Acrobat or print the PDF and fill out using a blue or black pen.
- Email your completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org or send via mail to:
San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
5500 Gaines Street
San Diego, CA 92110
What happens next?
- After your application is received you will receive confirmation from one of our Volunteer Coordinators. You will be invited to attend a group interview session where you will receive more information about the San Diego Humane Society and have a chance to meet the foster supervisor to find out everything you need to know about the foster program. We will also take you on a behind-the-scenes tour. We look forward to getting to know you and showing you our campuses.
- Following the interview, the Volunteer Engagement department will validate your application and contact you if you have been selected as a Foster Volunteer.
- Once you have received your assignment, we will schedule training for you and a time for a San Diego Humane Society representative to visit your home for a safety check.
What are some of the requirements of becoming a foster parent?
- Must be at least 18 years old.
- Ability to lift, push or carry at least 25 pounds.
- Home safety check by an SDHS representative.
- Own a car for transporting to veterinary appointments, or in case of an emergency.
- All parties responsible for care of foster animal(s) must attend foster care training.
- Have a schedule that allows you to meet the needs of foster animals placed in your care.
- Provide proof from your veterinarian that all household pets have current vaccinations or current titer testing.
Is it difficult to say good-bye?
Fosters definitely need the ability to say goodbye. It can be tough, but making a difference this big isn’t always easy! Please remember that fostering is a temporary situation and letting go of one foster pet enables you to help another animal in need. Please know that although each adoption saves a life, a great foster parent can save many lives, by socializing and rehabilitating pets that might just need a little extra time and care to be ready for a new home.
Can I adopt my foster animals?
We hope that our foster volunteers are choosing to open their homes as a demonstration of their deep care and commitment to making a difference in the lives of animals in need. While fostering you may indeed fall in love and find the perfect companion for your family and our staff is available to counsel you should you wish to complete an adoption.
We discourage new fosters from joining the program simply to try out different animals in their homes before adopting. Many people who foster simply to look for a pet of their own do not stay on as fosters after they adopt. Losing foster homes has a negative impact on the number of animals we can help.
Will I need to provide food or other supplies while the animals are in my care?
The San Diego Humane Society is proud to provide all the necessary training, supplies, and support you will need to care for your foster animals. This includes little things like bowls, bedding, toys, and crates as well as things that can be a bigger expense like food, litter, medication, and all veterinary services. On occasion, you may be asked by the foster coordinator to purchase something small for your animal in an emergency. You will always be reimbursed for such requests.
Is there a time commitment?
The length of Foster assignments varies based upon the needs of the animals. You will receive an approximate duration before you commit to any particular animal. If you are unable to host the animal(s) for that length of time you are welcome to decline the assignment.
I found a litter of kittens, how do I find them foster homes?
Please see this page for more information on what to do if you have found an animal. Animals are selected for placement in a foster home from those already in the care of the San Diego Humane Society.
Where do I pick up my foster animals?
You will be picking up your animals from the San Diego Humane Society campus closest to your home. These campuses are located on Sherman Street in San Diego or Airport Road in Oceanside.