Foster Process

Step 1: Understand Your Responsibilities as a Foster

The responsibilities of the foster care home are:

  • Treat your foster pets like you would your own pet - lots of love, socialization, training, exercise, and quality care.

  • Transport your foster pet to veterinary appointments, as needed.

  • Transport your foster pet to adoption events, as needed.

  • Provide photos, bio information and videos, if possible, to Paws for Life so we can effectively market your foster pets for adoption.

  • Communicate with the foster care coordinators on a regular basis, informing them of any behavior issues, potential medical issues, needed supplies (prior to running out completely) and updates to pets’ online bios and information.

Step 2: Apply to Become a Foster

The first step in the foster care process is to complete the application, either online (below) or at one of our adoption events. If you don't have a specific animal in mind, you can describe what you’re looking for and our foster care coordinators will recommend which pets they feel are the best match to your household.

Step 3: Get MATCHED!

Step 4: Welcome your New Foster Pet Home

Once we receive your application, you’ll receive a phone call from a foster care volunteer to answer your questions and to discuss your household and your expectations for a new foster pet. After you and Paws for Life decide which animal(s) you want to foster, we will schedule a meet-and-greet at your home, at an area shelter, or at an upcoming adoption event.

If needed, Paws for Life volunteers will help you introduce your new foster to your resident pet(s). The first two weeks are usually the most stressful – for both humans and pets. Everyone is learning about each other and your new foster pet’s entire world just turned upside-down. They have to adjust to new people, new home, new routine, new expectations, new everything. On average, it takes 14 days for a cat or dog to truly settle in and start to be themselves. Some pets adjust faster than others. Be patient and give them time.


Along with your new foster pet, you will receive helpful behavior handouts and resources should you need help or have questions. You will also receive contact information for our cat and dog behavior coordinators and foster care coordinators.

Step 5: Adopting

All Paws for Life volunteers have the first right to adopt. This means that if at any time, you decide you want to adopt your foster pet, you just have to inform the foster care coordinator of your decision, sign the adoption contract, and pay the adoption fee. We will then remove that pet from the listings of animals available for adoption.