Become a Foster Parent | PAWS Chicago

Become a Foster Parent

Foster Homes Needed For Our Sick and Injured Pets

PAWS Chicago is in need of special fosters who can provide a temporary home for sick pets who need time to recuperate. As a foster, you will help provide a loving home to expedite the pet’s recovery so he/she can begin the search for a family. 

Each week, dozens of cats, dogs, kittens and puppies, who are ill or are suffering from curable upper respiratory infections, are euthanized in Chicago.

PAWS Chicago transfers in as many pets as we have space each day, however, our isolation rooms for sick pets are regularly at capacity and we need to save more lives. To do this, we need your help!

To be eligible to foster sick pets, you should not have a pet living in your home to prevent the spread of disease. You must also be wiling to give the foster pet appropriate medications. Training will be provided. In most cases, the foster period will range from 3-8 weeks.


  • 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.

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
  • 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.

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.

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.

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