Foster Care

View PAWS Chicago’s Fosters of the Week!

The PAWS Chicago Foster Care Program is a critical component to our rescue program. It allows us to offer our pets the love and nurturing of a home while they wait for adoption, heal or just need a break from the Adoption Center.

We rely on Foster Volunteers to provide these temporary homes and a variety of unique care needs, including: those who are too young for adoption, are recovering from illness or injury, need some one-on-one attention, or just a time-out from the Adoption Center.

So many animals are waiting at the city pound, uncertain of their fates. Become a foster and help us save more lives.

Foster offers a home environment to our Gold Star Dogs and those pets who need a break from the shelter environment. They also offer unique care to those pets who need a quiet place to heal after medical treatment or need some time to mature before heading to the Adoption Center.


Meet the pets who are in need of a foster home.

Photo by Brigette Supernova

Want to become a PAWS Chicago Foster?

What are my responsibilities as a Foster Volunteer?
As a foster parent, your role is to welcome a pet (or pets) into your home and provide food, water, toys, and most importantly, lots of love. You will also need to:

  • Have the ability to transport your foster pet to scheduled medical appointments, adoption events, training classes or PAWS Chicago locations.
  • Be willing to administer medications, special diets or continue in-home training.
  • Commit to foster for the agreed foster period.

How does PAWS support Foster Volunteers?
PAWS Chicago is committed to providing you with the support you need for the duration of the foster period. We will provide all medical care and work with you so that you can administer any in-home care required for the pet. PAWS will also provide you with all of the food and supplies necessary for the proper care of your foster.

What are the requirements to becoming a foster parent?

  • You must be 21 years of age or older.
  • You must have reliable transportation to:
    • PAWS Chicago Rescue & Recovery Center – 3516 West 26th Street, Chicago
    • PAWS Chicago Training Center –1933 N. Marcey Street, Chicago
    • VCA Berwyn Animal Hospital – 2845 S. Harlem Ave, Berwyn
  • All resident pets in your home must be spayed or neutered.

What types of animals need foster care?
Depending on your availability, home environment, lifestyle and interest, you can choose to provide a temporary home for adoptable pets with many unique care needs, including:

  • Animals who have minor, but contagious, health concerns or injuries
  • Puppies and kittens under six months who are too young to be spayed or neutered
  • Animals who need a break from the shelter environment
  • Gold Star Dogs who are socially or behaviorally challenged dogs and need individualized attention
  • Cats and dogs in our Crisis Response program
  • Senior or terminally ill pets in PAWS Chicago’s hospice program who need a comfortable home environment
  • Orphaned neo-natal kittens and nursing mothers
  • Animals preparing to go to an adoption event

Where do I pick up my foster animal?
We have two locations:

  • PAWS Chicago Rescue & Recovery Center – 3516 West 26th Street, Chicago
  • PAWS Chicago Training Center –1933 N. Marcey Street, Chicago

This will be arranged through your foster program coordinator, according to what is most convenient for you.

Can I still foster if I already have a pet?
Yes. However, in many cases, especially with sick or injured animals, you must have the ability to isolate the foster animal in a separate room or section of your home to avoid exposure of an illness to your pet or disrupt the healing time of your foster. A bathroom can be perfect for a cat or kitten. In addition, because foster periods are often short, there is little time to socialize your resident pet(s) to the foster, so in most cases, all animals benefit from being kept apart.

How long is a typical foster period?
Foster periods can vary from a few days to a few months depending on the type of foster you welcome into your home. For example, a young kitten may need to spend 2-3 weeks in foster while he grows strong enough for his vaccinations and surgery, while an injured dog recuperating from a surgery may need more time before he is ready for adoption. We will work with you to determine the best fit for you.

Who can I contact for more information?
If you would like more information about PAWS Chicago’s Foster Program, please contact us at 773-475-9464 or


Special thanks to Sabrina Nizzi for dog and cat videography.

Additional thanks to Sebastian Sparenga Photography, Caitlin Lisa, Heather Haseley, Dan Kasberger, Jennifer Girard, Malia Rae Photography, Richard Chen, Oscar Mendez, and Von Buzard for event and animal photography used on this Web site.

PAWS Chicago, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has been awarded a Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator, the country's premier independent charity evaluator. Contributions to PAWS Chicago are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. PAWS Chicago is only able to help homeless animals because of your donations. We receive no city, state or federal funding.

PAWS Chicago's Forms 990 are viewable at

Meet Your Match® and it's logos/colors is a program of the ASPCA®.

©2012 PAWS Chicago.   View our Privacy Policy