Foster homes are an important part of operations at Northeast Animal Shelter. By temporarily opening up your home to a dog or cat, you are giving our long term residents — or those who need a little extra TLC — a welcome break from the Shelter. Fostering also enables you to provide helpful information to adopters about how your foster pet behaves in a home. We provide the supplies, training, and medical care. You provide the love!
Foster parents should live within a reasonable driving distance of the shelter as pets often need to be transported back and forth medical appointments, or to meet potential adopters! Ideally, foster parents should not leave a foster pet home alone for more than 3 hours at a time.
If you are interested in becoming a Foster Family for NEAS, please complete our Online Foster Care Application!
Resources for current foster homes:
- Canine Foster Manual
- Feline Foster Manual
- Under-socialized Kittens
- Bottle Feeding Kittens
- Fearful Cats
- Pregnant Cats
- Fearful Puppies
- Fearful Dogs
Behavior Fosters Needed!
While most of our pets are eagerly waiting to find their forever families with wagging tails and loud purrs, some of our pets need a little extra care and time to decompress before they are ready for adoption! Some of these pets have tough beginnings and don’t know what love is.
The majority of our pets are transported to NEAS through our Saving Homeless Pets Across America program. They come from rural states where they have been found as strays, in hoarding situations, or pulled from overcrowded shelters. These animals can often be fearful and defensive due to lack of socialization and previous handling, or lack thereof. By bringing one of these special animals into your home and and showing them some time and patience, you are able to provide a better view into the type of forever home that would be a perfect fit!
Foster families taking a special needs pet are required to meet with our behavior team, or trained staff prior to taking the pet(s) home with you. You will be provided with education, training and support from our staff to start making a difference in the lives of pets.
The behavior foster opportunities generally last about two weeks, but could be longer in certain circumstances. We also have our “Sleepover” and “Weekend Getaway” programs that allow for shorter amounts of time in the foster home for notes, and a brief break from the shelter!
Fill out our online application so you can start helping today.
Why are foster parents needed?
At Northeast Animal Shelter, we strive to place as many adoptable pets as possible into permanent homes. Foster homes allow us to maximize space here at the Shelter, while providing extra care and attention to animals that need socialization, bottle feeding, extra supervision while healing from a medical procedure, or simply extra time understanding what it means to live in a home. By opening your home to a special needs pet, you create kennel space for adoptable pets ready to go into homes immediately.
Why should I become a foster caregiver?
Fostering is a rewarding, educational, challenging and fun experience for your family to enjoy! Ultimately fostering can be the one of the very best things an animal lover can do. You are able to make a difference and help save a life!
Fostering will change your day-to day routine and everyone in the home — including your current pets — will need to be on board. While providing a foster home is not without its challenges, you can rest easy knowing that you were an integral part of that pet’s journey!
What is involved?
Being a foster caregiver involves feeding, cleaning, grooming, and playing with your foster pet. However, some pets may require a bit more work. Because many shelter animals arrive with medical needs, stressed, or frightened they may require a bit of extra care! Taking notes, photos and communicating how the animal is doing with the Foster Care Coordinator are often forgotten aspects of foster care- these are important so that the shelter can find your foster pet the perfect home.
Fostering a pet in need is a time-consuming effort, but also one of the most rewarding ways to help homeless pets.
Will my household and lifestyle be a good fit?
It is important to consider the health and welfare of all the individuals in the home - humans and animals alike. If any of your family members have allergies, excessive stress, physical or mental health issues, career instability, financial difficulties, housing or space restrictions, fostering is not a good option for you at this time.
If you feel that you have the ability to foster and the entire household agrees, your next question should be “Do I have the time?”
Fostering a shelter pet is a job that, while very rewarding, can eat up a lot of time. Although you may not be physically interacting with the pet every second of the day, you will be responsible around the clock for the pet’s safety, comfort, and general well-being. We do require foster parents to be home every three hours for puppies, and every 6 hours for dogs. If your work or family schedule is already so hectic that adding another time-consuming responsibility will only create more stress, you may want to reconsider fostering at this time.
The amount of personal attention needed will vary greatly from pet to pet, but you can expect to spend anywhere from three to seven hours a day interacting with a foster pet, and even more if you are planning to foster puppies or kittens! Teaching dogs or cats the lessons they will need to become happy, thriving, lifelong members of a family takes time and patience.
Can I keep the pet I foster if I want to?
It is only natural to become attached to a pet you take care of and nurture. If you do fall in love with a foster pet, we can assist you through our adoption process. However, we hope that you continue to foster in the future!
Do I get to choose the pet I foster?
We place animals in foster homes based on need, temperament and matched to your abilities. As an approved foster family, you will receive emails from the Foster Care Coordinator about which animals need foster care and you are welcome to let us know if you’re available to help said pet!
What about expenses?
Northeast Animal Shelter covers all medical care, food and supplies that the foster animal will need. You provide the care and love!
All animals are checked by our staff veterinarian before entering foster homes, but things can always pop up! All veterinary care is paid for by NEAS.
We ask that you keep us up to date on any changes in the animal’s health or behavior. All medical care will be facilitated here at the Shelter under the supervision of our medical team, and must be approved by our Foster Care Coordinator.
Will I have difficulty letting go?
It can be hard giving your foster pet back. Think of fostering like baby-sitting. You know you cannot keep the children you watch and fostering is no different! While it is impossible not to get attached to a sweet pet living in your home, it’s important to remain committed to the end goal: finding them the perfect permanent home! You can rest easy knowing that your care and love has given them the tools they need to be adopted, and that you’ve been a monumental part of their happy life.
I already own a dog and a cat. Can I still foster?
Of course! We do ask that you keep foster and resident animals separate when you can not physically be with them, and certain foster pets may need to be the one-and-only due to medical or behavior needs. Foster cats should be kept away from resident pets for the first week to allow them time to adjust. Before you bring a foster animal home, consult with your veterinarian to make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations, and to see if they recommend any additional vaccines.
What happens when I arrive home with my new foster pet?
When introducing a pet to a new environment, do so gradually. Remember that the pet might be frightened and could bite, run away, scratch or cower in a corner. Depending on the pet and his/her history, your Foster Care Coordinator will discuss the best way to help the animal adjust, and you can always refer back to the foster manual. Please “animal proof” your home prior to bringing home a foster pet!
If you have children, we request that you monitor their contact with foster pets at all times. We cannot guarantee any pet’s behavior and this will help to protect both the child and the pet. Foster pets are under a lot of stress and do best in a quiet environment.
NO FOSTER PET IS ALLOWED OUTSIDE UNATTENDED OR UNRESTRAINED. NO CAT SHOULD EVER BE OUTSIDE FOR ANY REASON UNLESS IN A CARRIER.
Common Foster Situations
Field Trips: (Dogs Only) A few hours at a time. Excursions and Outings during shelter hours for our dogs to get out to see the world, and for us to know a bit more about them!
Weekend Getaway/Sleepovers: (Dogs Only) (1-2 days) Help give a pet a break from the shelter for a few days! Many of our animals would love to spend time with you while the shelter is closed to the public!
Space: (3-7 days) There are times when we have an overwhelming amount of pets who need our help. By fostering, you are helping us to save even more lives.
Orphans/Pregnant/Nursing: (approx. 3 months) Fostering for pets near labor, nursing, or puppies/kittens in need of bottle feeding.
Socialization: ( 2-3 weeks) Occasionally we have puppies/kittens, teens and adults that need some extra time working on socialization or other skills before they are ready for adoption!
Medical Cases: (1-2 weeks) Some of our animals need a bit of time to recover either after surgeries or with medical conditions. A home setting promotes faster healing.
Behavioral: For some pets, a shelter is a stressful place and they are looking for a chance to open up in a practice home. Some pets require more life skills or simply someone to really care and help them adjust to their life changes!
That could be you! Don't worry, our behavior team is here to assist you.
To become a foster parent for dogs or cats, please fill out our
We can save so many more cats and dogs if we have YOUR help.