Foster animals

Foster Animals

Open your house to a pet who needs a home

When your community has dogs or cats that need extra love and care (usually because they are very young, sick, or the shelter has limited space), your family can provide a temporary home.

Possible recipients

The grateful inhabitants of your local animal shelter.

What you’ll need

  • A love of animals.

  • The time and commitment to help the animal you foster.
    (Typically, your family’s main responsibility will be to handle and cuddle the animals frequently so they can become well-socialized pets for the families that eventually adopt them.)

  • The financial ability to care for an additional animal.


  • Call your local animal shelter to find out your fostering options. They will likely require an application and offer an initial training course to get you started.

  • Ask which supplies and services (food, vet care, etc.) the shelter provides and which you will need to contribute.

  • Prepare yourselves and your home for the new addition.

  • Always supervise interactions between foster animals and young children.


  • Do you have other pets? How do you think they might feel if we were unable to care for them?

  • How can we understand the needs and moods of our new foster pet? What cues tell us if they are hunger or lonely? If they want to be cuddled or want time to rest?

  • Why is it important to help living things other than people?

  • What are other ways we can show animals we love them?

Click the image to access this book.

Click the image to access this book.


  • The Little Blue Dog by Karen Roberts
    You're family will love this sweet story of life from the perspective of a shelter dog is sure to spark big conversations about love, home, and belonging, necessary comforts for people and pets alike.

  • Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Boelts
    A young boy thinks about the life of his dog before he adopted him from an animal shelter.

  • The Shelter Dog by Christine Davis. Ages 4-8. Hero, an angel dog, decides he wants to go back to earth to be a shelter dog so a loving family can choose him as their pet. Slowly he realizes that living in a shelter isn’t as nice as it appears.

  • Three Stories You Can Read to Your Cat by Sara Swan Miller
    Three silly stories about the adventures of being a cat.

Take it further

  • Gather the kids to make dog biscuits or toys for the animals you foster. If you have extras, the shelter would love to have them!

  • Create fun “advertisements” to help your foster pets find their forever homes. Share your ads on social media, create posters to display on community bulletin boards, or even make a short video to share.

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The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.