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?

  • One member of the family must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must be able to lift, push, or carry at least 25 pounds.
  • You must own a car for transporting animal(s) to vet appointments, or evacuating them in case of an emergency.
  • All parties responsible for care of foster animal(s) are encouraged to attend the foster care training.
  • 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.

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 things like 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 every month, on an as needed basis. At this session you will learn more about our organization, the volunteer foster program and our volunteer policies and resources. Sessions are posted to this webpage at the start of each recruitment month.
  • If after attending our info sessions you decide we are the right organization for you, you can then complete a volunteer foster application.
  • 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 necessary hands on training determined by the foster assignments you select. This may include online or hands on training.

If you would like to learn more about fostering with San Diego Humane Society, please RSVP to an Info Session below. Official San Diego Humane Society volunteer foster applications will be sent to all Info Session Attendees after the session.

Space is limited.

Escondido Campus: May 26, 1:30-3:30 p.m. – 30 openings

Oceanside Campus: June 20, 6-8 p.m. – 30 openings

San Diego Campus: June 16, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – 100 Openings