Animal Foster Program FAQs

Woman with dog

What is an animal foster parent/family?

An animal foster parent / family provides temporary, in-home care for friendly kittens, puppies, cats, dogs or little critters in need until they can be placed for adoption or transferred to an approved Transfer Partner. 

Why are pet foster parents needed?

Foster parents maximize the number of animals rescued, and they also help to care for animals that would be difficult to care for in the shelter environment.  This could be due to being young and not strong enough to fight germs, orphaned kittens that need supportive care, animals recovering from major surgery, animals needing some one-on-one behavioral rehabilitation or socialization and finally, some animals just need a break from the shelter environment. 

How long would I keep a foster animal?

The length of time a foster home is needed depends on the reason for fostering. Typically, pets stay in a foster home for 2 - 12 weeks. 

What does fostering do for the animal?

The animal learns manners and socialization and is much less stressed than it would be in a shelter environment. By teaching dogs manners and basic obedience skills, you help them to become the sort of companion that most families want. Often foster animals have come from a difficult situation and restoring their confidence and trust is an important step in helping them learn to be well-mannered, tolerant, loving and responsive. 

Can I choose a particular animal to foster?

Our primary goal is to find loving, permanent homes for our animals. We will guide you to the animals that are most in need of a foster home. We do our best to match those in need with appropriate foster home scenarios and skill levels. 

I already own an animal. Can I still foster?

Before you become a foster parent, consult with your veterinarian to make sure your own pets are up to date on their vaccinations.  You may wish to ask your veterinarian if your pets need any additional vaccinations. Your personal canine or feline pet also MUST be spayed or neutered prior to you becoming a foster. 

If I fall in love, can I adopt my foster animal?

Yes! Foster parents adopt many of our animals; however, we don't sign folks up to only want to find a pet to adopt. We are looking for folks who want to help us save as many lives as possible! 

Can I try to find a home for my foster animal on my own?

All foster parents are required to assist in finding a new home for their foster. This includes attending adoption events, updating your foster's biography and keeping updated photos of your foster on our website. When an adopter is found for your foster, all you need to do is bring the animal in and have the new adopters come to the Animal Center to complete the adoption process. 

What should I be prepared to do as a pet foster parent?

  • Maintain a peaceful, loving environment for the foster animal(s) and spend quality time socializing them
  • Visit the Wake County Animal Center medical staff for basic medical care and treatment of the foster animal(s)
  • Bring adult animal(s) to the Animal Center monthly for health updates and status checks
  • Bring puppies and kittens to the Animal Center every 2-3 weeks for health updates and status checks
  • Commit to the entire foster period for the animal(s) and return the animal(s) promptly at the end of the foster period as needed
  • Attend adoption events, write animal biographies for your foster and update photos
  • Be prepared for the possible illness or death of the foster animal(s)
  • Be prepared for the possible destructive behavior of the foster animal(s)
  • Be willing to provide basic obedience training for dogs in foster are
  • Be willing to communicate with the Foster Coordinator if any problems arise
  • Return the foster to the shelter as requested, either for adoption or to transfer to an approved Transfer Partner 

How do I apply to become a pet foster parent?

If you are interested in opening your heart and home to these deserving animals, please complete the Foster Program Application