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City Initiatives on the August 6th Ballot

Two dogs and a kitten that were fostered.

Temporarily opening your home to foster a shelter animal in need offers the one-on-one attention and loving comfort that only a home setting can offer, which is precisely what some of our animals need. It not only helps the animal in foster and opens space at the shelter for other animals in need, it also provides valuable information about the animal’s personality outside of the stressful shelter setting.   

Each year, we receive hundreds of animals with issues that delay their adoption. They may be sick, injured, orphaned babies too young for adoption, or moms with litters of puppies or kittens. Some may need training or behavior modification, but so many of them just simply need a break from the shelter. Foster families give these animals the time and hope they need to finally find an adoptive family when their time is right. 

Foster families provide the TLC and individualized care until they are ready for adoption. Foster times vary and short and long-term opportunities are available. A mom and litter of newborn kittens may need 8 weeks of care or an animal healing from an injury may need a few weeks. An animal that is stressed in the shelter can benefit from a weekend of relaxation in a home. Fostering is fun and many foster families experience much satisfaction from knowing they made it possible for their foster pet to find their new family.    

You can decide which type of foster you would like to provide, based on your interests, experience, and home environment. We provide training and supplies for each type of assignment; you provide the loving home! The animals with the greatest need to be with a foster family include:

  • Dogs
    • Adult dogs that have potentially been long-stay residents at the shelter. Long-stay can include animals that have been at the shelter over 30 days.
    • Adult dogs with medical needs or behavior plans
    • Moms with puppies – we have perhaps a handful of mom/puppy groups each year
    • Orphaned puppies – both singles and litters in need of socialization, training, crate training, potty training, etc.
  • Cats
    • Adult cats that have been long-stay residents at the shelter.
    • Moms with kittens – we have many groups during kittens season, typically from March to November, with a few cases occurring from December to February.
    • Kittens, kittens, kittens – this would be our greatest need for cats during kitten season (late spring through summer). Ages vary from newborn bottle babies and older. 
  • Other Animals – although this is not our greatest need, we occasionally have animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles and birds that may benefit in a foster home.

    Get started by completing a foster application today.

Foster FAQs

  • The primary volunteer for the family must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have reliable transportation for transporting animal(s) to and from the shelter as needed.
  • A schedule that allows you to meet the needs of foster animals in your care.

We do! Training will be customized to each animal’s needs.

The length of foster assignments will vary based on the needs of the animal. We will have an approximate idea of the length of time needed when we reach out seeking a foster. Some of our youngest foster animals may need around-the-clock care, including feedings every 2-3 hours, while other foster animals can be left at home for up to 10 hours at a time. We will match you with a foster assignment that works with your schedule, availability, and interests.

Supplies are a shared responsibility of the shelter and each foster home. Dry food, kitten formula, bedding, cages, and other supplies are readily available at the shelter. Specific supply needs will be discussed for each foster assignment. If you would like to prepare your own foster kit, or donate to the Foster Care supply, please visit our Amazon Wish List for frequently needed supplies. 

To ensure healthy behavioral development of kittens and puppies under 8 weeks of age, we always try to send them to foster in pairs or litters. If we do have a singleton, we strive to match them with an age-appropriate buddy while they develop, when possible.  

We recommend complete separation of foster animals and resident pets for the health and safety of all involved. If a foster volunteer chooses to allow their resident pets and foster animals to interact, this must be done in a safe and supervised way. Your resident pets should be up to date on all necessary vaccinations and never be left alone with a foster animal. Information and resources on safely introducing animals can be found here. Please note, Independence Animal Services is not liable for any illness or injury between foster and resident pets.

Our Volunteer Coordinator will handle an alternative foster placement or schedule your animal to be housed in the shelter while you are out of town. We ask that you do not take them with you or use private pet-sitters, since these private parties have not gone through the foster training. We are here to support our fosters so you can enjoy your time away!

Yes! We love when our foster families fall in love with their foster pet and choose to adopt! You should let our Volunteer Coordinator know as soon as you know that you wan to adopt one of your fosters.

Yes, it can be. Please remember that fostering is a temporary situation and letting go of one foster pet enables you to help another in need. Although each adoption saves a life, a great foster parent can save many lives by socializing and rehabilitating pets who need a little extra time and care.

If you have any other questions or concerns, you can reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator at