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Becoming a 

Foster Parent

While many animals are adopted shortly after they arrive at the shelter, others need a little TLC before they’re ready for adoption… this is where our amazing foster parents come in!

Our foster parent program is made up of community volunteers who take animals into their homes and give them care to help prepare animals for their forever homes. The shelter provides food, blankets, towels, crates and medical care for the animals; the only expense to the foster family is time and love.

Please be aware that we cannot temporarily foster public animals. All animals must be surrendered to the Idaho Humane Society before being considered for our foster program.


Those who are interested in becoming IHS foster parents must reside in Ada County or Canyon County.

Cats and kittens

Foster homes for cats or kittens are always in demand. In order to foster cats, you must be able to separate them from your own animals for several days until they are more secure with their surroundings. Mothers and kittens must always have separate living quarters so that mama cat has a secure place to take care of her young. Most foster parents use a spare bathroom or utility area for the family. Cats must stay indoors at all times.

Dogs and puppies

To foster a dog, you need to be able to offer the foster dog a place inside your home. All of your personally owned pets must be spayed or neutered and up-to-date on their shots. Fosters must be 21 years of age or older.

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Give your foster animal lots of attention and affection

The animal may have had a difficult life before coming to your home. Your love and attention will help heal the animal’s psychological wounds.

Learn as much as you can about pet care

Before you bring your foster animal home, learn as much as you can about caring for that particular type of animal. Read about feeding, grooming, and training. Study our guidelines carefully and discover the warning signs if your foster animal may need veterinary attention.

Make your home pet-friendly

Before bringing your foster animal home, make sure to pet-proof your home. For example, remove poisonous plants and protect your furnishings. Keep the animal’s room warm and comfortable. Also, take steps to prevent the animal from escaping.

Keep your pets up to date on their vaccinations

All animals should be current on vaccinations that protect them from diseases. Before you bring home a foster animal, please consult your veterinarian to ensure your animals have received the preventive treatment they need to keep them safe.

Keep foster animals away from your pets, at least initially

A foster pet may come into your home harboring contagious diseases. Even though your pets are vaccinated against many diseases, it’s a good idea to keep the foster animal away from your pets for at least two weeks as an added precaution.

Recognize your limits

Fostering requires a great deal of time and energy – both emotional and physical. Don’t overextend yourself by fostering animals too frequently or you may burn yourself out.

Return the animal to the shelter on time

The shelter depends on you to make its program work. If you have an animal that must be returned to the shelter at a particular time, make sure to do so. If a friend or relative wants to adopt the animal you are fostering, that person must also go through the shelter’s adoption process.

Understand that some foster animals will not survive

Many animals that arrive at the shelter come from unknown backgrounds. Despite your best efforts, the animal you foster may develop a severe illness that cannot be treated. Do the best you can to help the animal, but accept that you cannot save them all.

Understand the requirements to become a foster parent
  • Have the support of all individuals living in your home.
  • Have the consent of your landlord.
  • Read our guidelines and attend the foster parent orientation.
  • Complete the foster care application.
  • Have your own pets current on all their vaccinations.
  • Understand that the Idaho Humane Society is not responsible for any damage or injury done by a foster animal in your care.
  • Understand that all animals remain the property of the Idaho Humane Society.
Enjoy being a foster parent

Although fostering takes a great deal of time and commitment, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Becoming A Foster Parent

  1. Fill out the Foster Application.
  2. Once you complete the application, our Volunteer Manager will respond within 24 hours (unless you are applying on Friday, in which case they will respond on Monday) with instructions on how to create a profile in the IHS Volunteer portal and next steps to become a foster parent. If you have questions on the process of becoming a foster parent, please email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Our foster program is housed at our Dorman Campus located at 4775 W Dorman Street, Boise, Idaho 83705.

Foster Wish List