Become a foster volunteer

foster dog in home

Through Animal Humane Society's foster program, thousands of animals have received special care before getting a second chance at life. More than 2,000 animals who come to AHS each year need foster care before they are ready to find new homes, and this need continues to increase.

With the help of foster volunteers, AHS is able to not only offer animals the specialized care they need, but to free space in our shelter locations to help even more animails.

We are currently seeking foster support for large dogs (50 pounds and up).  We are not accepting applications for felines or small critters at this time.

apply to be a Large dog foster volunteer

What's it like to be a foster volunteer at AHS?

As a foster volunteer, you see first hand how your time and love make a life-changing impact on animals in need. You play a crucial role in an animal's journey by providing care unique to an animal's needs outside of the shelter environment. 

In some cases, this means providing a safe space for an animal to rest and recover after surgery, and in other cases it means providing an animal with a comfortable home temporarily while their parents navigate an emergency situation. 

Want to hear from an actual foster volunteer? 

AHS foster volunteer, Nick, shares their experience – including “failure” – while caring for foster animals. 

Read More

Whatever the circumstances are, AHS is here to support you through your foster journey. The food, medication, kennels, toys, and other basic supplies you will need are provided, along with training and care instructions. Vet techs and behaviorists can also offer their help if needed.

Foster volunteer requirements

  • Foster volunteers must be 18 years old or older.
  • AHS shelters are located Minnesota. Applicants must live within 60 miles of Golden Valley, Coon Rapids, or Woodbury to be considered for this volunteer role.
  • Foster volunteers should have a comfortable, safe environment to provide an animal, as well as plenty of love to give! 
  • We are currently seeking individuals with large dog (50 pounds and up) experience.

Application process

Step 1:  Please watch this videobefore completing your volunteer applicationIt covers important information you need to know about volunteer at AHS, and some of the topics covered in the video will be discussed during your volunteer interview.

Video URL

Step 2: Submit your application to foster.

Step 3: After you’ve completed the application, you’ll be instructed to schedule a virtual interview with a Volunteer Services Coordinator.

Step 4: Attend your virtual interview. If accepted into the program, AHS requires a $35 application fee, which contributes to the costs of administrative processing and volunteer training.  You will also receive an AHS volunteer t-shirt as a thank you. If you are passionate about our program and are unable to pay the fee, please reach out to [email protected] to discuss options.

Apply to be a Large dog foster volunteer

Foster volunteer FAQ

Do foster volunteers get to choose the foster animals they bring home?

Foster volunteers have access to view the available foster animals, along with any information we may know about them. These animals are placed into homes on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Foster volunteers are never expected to take an animal that is not a good fit for their home or family. Foster animals are not yet available for adoption, so are not listed on our website.

What types of animals can I foster?

At this time, we are currently seeking foster support for large dogs (50 pounds and up) only.  We are not accepting applications for felines or small critters.

Most of the foster animals at AHS are cats and dogs. Occasionally, we have critters available for foster, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, or hamsters. The animals that go out to foster care at AHS fall into two categories:

  • Animals that aren’t quite ready for adoption, but most likely will be with extra time and attention from foster volunteers. Animals that are candidates for foster care include kittens and puppies who are too young for spay/neuter surgery, animals recovering from surgery or illness, and pregnant or nursing animals.
  • Animals that are participants in Community Outreach programs geared to keep people and their pets together.  These are owned animals whose owners are attempting to secure housing that includes their pets or fleeing domestic violence.  To learn more about these programs, please click here.
I want to foster in hopes of adopting once I find the right fit. Is this an option?

Yes! Some animals that go to foster care are able to be adopted by the foster family once the animal is cleared for adoption by AHS. Any exceptions will be communicated prior to the foster placement. Foster volunteers must complete the regular adoption process with Adoption Services staff.

Is my family allowed to help with fostering?

Yes! Family participation is allowed and encouraged. The registered foster volunteer must be 18 years old or older, and will need to be the primary point of contact, caretaker, and advocate for the animal throughout their entire foster stay.

What are some things I should take into consideration prior to applying to foster?
  • Are you able to keep foster animals separate from resident pets?  AHS recommends a 10-day quarantine period, just as we recommend with adopters – this is for health and behavioral reasons. While all foster animals receive a veterinary examination and necessary immunizations, illnesses can be passed from foster animals, and keeping separated from owned animals reduces likelihood. AHS will cover exams/treatment for foster animals, but cannot treat or reimburse for veterinary care for resident pets due to illness or injury from the foster animal.
  • Where will you house the animal when unattended?  Start thinking about where the animal’s “safe space” will be in your home.  When it comes to fostering canines, AHS recommends a quiet, easily cleanable space where a kennel or crate can be set-up. Some foster volunteers choose a spare bedroom, some choose a laundry room or large bathroom.
  • Do you reside in a rental property?  If so, please be sure to check with your property management company to see if there are any pet restrictions (species, breed, size, etc.) or monthly fees. Animal Humane Society is unable to reimburse any pet fees that management companies may charge. 

Have additional questions about volunteering at Animal Humane Society? 

See our Volunteer FAQ. If you have any questions or concerns during the application process that are not answered in the FAQs, please contact us.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline