Become a Foster Family

Hundreds of animals receive a second (or first!) chance thanks to the love and compassion of our foster families. Animals can come to us in very dire straits—either by being very young, very sick or very unsocialized. While we have a veterinarian on call and animal-care staff, the shelter—like a hospital—cannot provide the security and warmth of a home.
Great candidates for foster homes include:
• kittens and puppies who are too young to be spayed or neutered
• nursing mothers
• animals recovering from major surgery or minor illness
• animals that simply need extra training or socialization
It can be a lot of work to nurse orphaned puppies around the clock, medicate sick kittens, clean up after a nursing mother and her six pups or work with the dog that has never had training. But for those who are willing and able, it can be a very gratifying experience.

Vacation Fostering and Foster for the Holidays

Some animals benefit from a break from the shelter, especially around the holidays. Long timers who are getting overlooked in the shelter are great candidates for short-term fostering.  If you have a few days off or extra time and want to help around the holidays, take home a temporary pet! It is even better if you can consider being an Adoption Ambassador for your shelter-break foster.

We Are Great Partners

The Orange County Animal Shelter can provide supplies and guidance to make your fostering experience–whether it is your first or your fiftieth–the best it can be.  Also, check with your tax advisor to see if supplies you purchase for your foster animal might be tax deductible. Interested in fostering or learning more about the program? Apply using the link below, contact us at or call (540) 672-1124 and learn how you can be the difference. Support from animal lovers like you is needed for us to continue to be a No Kill community⎯thank you for doing your part!

Some Thoughts on Fostering a Pet
There I sat, alone and afraid, 
You got a call and came right to my aid. 
You bundled me up with blankets and love. 
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug. 
I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold.
 That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold. 
You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend. 
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend. 
And just when I thought you’d done all you do, 
There came along not one new lesson, but two. 
First you said, “Sweetheart, you’re ready to go. 
I’ve done all I can, and you’ve learned all I know.” 
Then you bundled me up with a blanket and kiss. 
Along came a new family, they even have kids! 
They took me to their home, forever to stay. 
At first I thought you sent me away. 
Then that second lesson became perfectly clear. 
No matter how far, you will always be near. 
And so, Foster Mom, you know I’ve moved on. 
I have a new home, with toys and a lawn. 
But I’ll never forget what I learned that first day. 
You never really give your fosters away. 
You gave me these thoughts to remember you by. 
We may never meet again, and now I know why. 
You’ll remember I lived with you for a time. 
I may not be yours, but you’ll always be mine. – Author Unknown