Foster an Animal

Temporarily opening your home to an animal allows our shelter to take in more animals that need help. In addition, fostering offers the one-on-one attention and loving comfort that only a home setting can offer, which is precisely what some animals need to heal. 

As a foster volunteer you may host animals with special medical or behavioral needs, mother animals with nursing litters or underage animals who need special feeding and socialization, like puppies, bunnies or kittens. By fostering an animal you are providing rehabilitation in a nurturing home environment, directly preparing them for adoption into a loving home.

Foster FAQs

What are the requirements of becoming a foster pet-parent?

  • Foster applicant must be at least 18 years old, but all members of the family can help care for the foster animals!
  • All parties responsible for care of foster animal(s) are encouraged to attend the foster care training.
  • You must be able to lift, push, or carry at least 25 pounds.
  • You must have reliable transportation for transporting animal(s) to vet appointments, or evacuating them in case of an emergency.
  • You must have a schedule that allows you to meet the needs of foster animals in your care.

Can I adopt my foster animals?

YES! While we hope our foster volunteers choose to open their homes as a demonstration of their deep commitment to making a difference in the lives of animals in need, we understand that you may indeed fall in love and find the perfect companion for your family!

Is it difficult to say good-bye?

Yes it is. Fosters definitely need the ability to say goodbye, but rest assured our Foster Care Team will help you through it. Please remember that fostering is a temporary situation and letting go of one foster pet enables you to help another in need. Although each adoption saves a life, a great foster parent can save many lives by socializing and rehabilitating pets that need a little extra time and care to be ready for a forever home.

Is there a time commitment?

The length of foster assignments varies based on the needs of the animal. You will receive an approximate duration before you commit to an animal. Some of our youngest foster animals need around the clock care including feedings every 2-3 hours while other foster animals can be left at home for up to ten hours at a time. We will match you with a foster assignment that works with your schedule, availability and interests.

Where do I pick up my foster animals?

You’ll be given options of animals from a variety of locations. You will pick up animals from the San Diego Humane Society campus where the animal is located. We have campuses in San Diego, Oceanside and Escondido so you can select animals at the locations that are most convenient for you.

Will I need to provide food or supplies?

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 bowls, bedding, toys and crates as well as bigger expenses like food, litter, medication and veterinary services. If you would like to prepare your own foster kit, or donate to the Foster Care supply, please visit our Amazon Wish List for a list of frequently needed supplies.


  • Sign up for a Volunteer Foster Info Session! Info Sessions are typically hosted monthly, on an as needed basis, at each of our campus locations. At this session you will learn more about our organization, the volunteer foster program and our volunteer policies and resources. Session RSVP links are posted below.
  • Apply! If after attending our info session you decide we are the right organization for you, you can then complete an online volunteer foster application. This will be emailed to all attendees after the Info Session.
  • Get Started! The Volunteer Engagement team will review all applications and be in touch with next steps to get started! Once you have joined the team, we will provide any additional training needed determined by the foster assignments you select. This may include online or hands on training.

If you would like to learn more about fostering puppies, kittens and adult animals with San Diego Humane Society, please RSVP to any Info Session below. These are offered monthly.

San Diego Humane Society volunteer foster applications will be sent to all Info Session Attendees after the session. Space is limited, please sign up soon!

San Diego Campus: Jan. 30 530 – 730 p.m. – RSVP HERE

Escondido Campus: Feb. 2 from 2-4 p.m. – RSVP HERE

Oceanside Campus: Feb. 20 from 6-8 p.m. – RSVP HERE