What does a foster volunteer do at Animal Humane Society?

Tan Foster dog named Drumstick

Drumstick had a broken leg and needed physical therapy and the extra care from Nick, an AHS foster volunteer, to recover. 

There is nothing like the joy of becoming part of an animal's journey! For foster volunteers at Animal Humane Society, this means experiencing firsthand how their love makes a life-changing impact on animals in need.

June is National Foster a Pet Month

June is National Foster a Pet Month. More than 2,000 animals that come to AHS each year require special care  — like animals recovering from surgery or illness — before they can be adopted. Through our foster program, thousands of animals have received the special care they need prior to adoption.

foster dog on couch

Lonnie had hip surgery and recovered in the comfort of Nick's home.

Foster volunteers play a crucial role in the lives of these animals by providing care unique to an animal's needs outside of the shelter environment.

AHS foster volunteer, Nick, shares his experience — including "failure" — while caring for foster animals:

What inspired you to become a foster volunteer at AHS? 

"My love for animals and a desire to be involved in my community inspired me to volunteer with AHS. I loved the fact that fostering let me build longer relationships with dogs and give them love, support, and stability in a calm environment outside of the shelter."

How does AHS support you as a foster volunteer while you're fostering an animal? 

"AHS is fantastic at supporting me when I'm fostering. From providing me with supplies to being available to help with issues that may arise while fostering.

I was fostering a dog with hip dysplasia and discovered she had a tapeworm. AHS helped diagnose her over the phone and I was able to get medication for the dog the same day. I've also had unexpected schedule changes and have had to return a foster dog early, which AHS handled smoothly."

AHS staff member carefully cleans Peaches as she recovers.

Foster success: Gus came from a humane investigation hoarding case. He had non-contagious mange and needed meds and special baths. Thanks to Nick, he made a speedy recovery and found a new family.

Do you have a foster story that stands out to you?

"I've had such a good experience fostering dogs over the past few years, but my most recent experience is actually what is called a ‘foster fail.’ I failed as a foster home because I ended up adopting the animal in the end!

Alfie was a little Maltese-toy Poodle mix who came to AHS with two broken front legs. He needed foster care as he recovered from surgery and it just so happened that I was also recovering from surgery at the same time. Alfie was supposed to be carried from room to room so he didn't stress his legs. I wasn’t allowed to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for six weeks after surgery, but he was only seven pounds, so it seemed like fate!

Once I had him, I learned that he was just the sweetest, goofiest little cuddle bug and I fell in love. We spent weeks napping together, watching birds out the window, and waiting for winter to turn into spring. By the time his eight weeks of fostering were up, I realized there was no way I could say goodbye.

Alfie is now a permanent addition to my home and we're both very happy. I do plan to continue fostering, especially for dogs who could benefit from the socialization of having another dog around. And the best part is, my mom spent so much time with Alfie this spring that now she wants to be a foster volunteer too!"

Become a foster volunteer at AHS

National Foster a Pet Month is the perfect time to consider becoming a foster volunteer – and right now, we are in need of large dog fosters! Make a tangible difference in the lives of animals by helping them prepare for their new beginning — learn about the process of becoming a foster volunteer at AHS!