Become a Foster | PAWS Chicago

Becoming a Foster

Welcome a homeless pet into your home

    PAWS Chicago’s Foster Program is critical to our rescue work. It enables us to increase the number of homeless pets we can save by placing them in temporary foster homes. Foster homes also give pets a warm, loving environment to heal, grow and flourish. As a foster parent, your role is to welcome a pet (or pets) into your home and provide food, water, toys and lots of love. There are many reasons a pet may need a foster home:

  • Underage: Puppies and kittens are not ready to be adopted until they’re at least eight weeks old. They need time for their immune systems to develop, to receive life-saving medical care and to be healthy enough for their spay/neuter surgery.
  • Sick/Injured: Foster homes are a great place for our sick or injured animals to heal, whether they’re recovering from something as routine as a spay/neuter surgery or something more complicated, like an orthopedic surgery.
  • Behavior/Socialization: With people and animals constantly coming and going, our Adoption Centers can be overwhelming for some animals. They might need a home environment or some one-on-one attention. Other animals come to us abused, neglected or simply lacking the training or socialization they need to find the right home. Our foster homes provide the enrichment, training or behavior modification needed for these loving pets to attract the perfect family for them.

More information:

The basics

  • In order to foster a PAWS Chicago animal you must:
  • Be 21 years or older.
  • Have reliable transportation to one of the PAWS Chicago locations for pick-up and drop-off and in case of emergency during our daytime and evening business hours:

  • Medical Center: 3516 W. 26th St., Chicago
  • Lincoln Park Training & Foster Care Center: 1933 N. Marcey St., Chicago
  • Lincoln Park Adoption Center: 1997 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago
  • North Shore Adoption Center: 1616 Deerfield Road, Highland Park
  • Have reliable transportation to one of these emergency hospitals in the event of an after-hours emergency situation:
  • VCA Berwyn Animal Hospital: 2845 S. Harlem Ave., Berwyn
  • VCA Aurora Animal Hospital: 2600 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora
  • VCA Arboretum View Animal Hospital: 2551 Warrenville Road, Downers Grove
  • Premier Veterinary Group: 3927 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
  • Premier Veterinary Group: 13715 Cicero Ave., Crestwood
  • Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners: 820 Frontage Road, Northfield
  • Premier Veterinary Group: 1810 E. Belvidere Road, Grayslake
  • Be able to transport your foster pet to scheduled medical appointments, adoption events, training classes or other PAWS Chicago locations.
  • Be able to isolate PAWS Chicago foster pets from your own pets.
  • Commit to only fostering for PAWS Chicago during the duration of your foster to prevent risk of disease transmission.
  • Have all resident pets in your home spayed or neutered.

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Levels of Fostering

Our foster parents and animals fall into one of three categories, depending on both the experience of the foster parent and animal’s situation. We pair up foster pets and parents based on the pet’s needs and the foster family’s experience level. 

Learn more about foster levels for cats and kittens.

Learn more about foster levels for dogs and puppies.

  1. Basic Foster: Take in pets who are ready for adoption, but need a temporary foster home, either while we wait for space at one of our Adoption Centers to open up or for a specific adoption event.
  2. Core Foster Help sick/injured pets or weaned puppies and kittens that require more time and attention than our Basic Fosters.
  3. Advanced Foster: Our Advanced Foster animals require special skills and time commitments from their foster parents, including bottle-feeding, helping pregnant moms give birth and wean their litters, supporting behavior modification and enrichment, and giving animals the love and comfort they deserve at end-of-life by providing hospice care

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How We Support Our Fosters

We are committed to providing you the support you need for the duration of the foster period. We will provide all medical care and work with you to ensure you can administer any in-home care required. We will also provide you with all of the food and medical supplies necessary to care for your foster. We work hard to ensure that you have a positive, rewarding experience with the PAWS Chicago Foster Program. We do our best to meet the needs of both the foster animal and your family.

If you need support or have any questions, please email foster@pawschicago.org or call 773-475-9464.

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Ready to Become a Foster Parent?

    APPLY NOW!

  1. COMPLETE THE FOSTER APPLICATION.
    This form tells us about your experience with animals and which of our facilities you are able to get to.
  2. YOUR APPLICATION IS APPROVED. Once we review your information and approve you, we'll start sending you emails with animals available for fostering.
  3. EMAIL US.
    See an animal you'd like to help? Email us at foster@pawschicago.org and we will arrange a time for you to pick up your newest foster animal.

See Animals in Need of Foster