How Do I Begin Fostering?

To start the foster process,  fill out the FOSTER APPLICATION and email it to us at FOSTER@COUNTYPETS.COM.  This does not obligate you to foster - it simply provides us with some details to better serve you. 

Foster For Harris County Pets!

Welcome and thank you for fostering!  Foster parents are a vital part of our life saving efforts here at Harris County Pets!  Foster parents for Harris County Pets must live in Harris, Brazoria, Chambers, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery or Waller County. Please fully read the FAQ's below prior to applying to become a foster. Fosters are required to to bring the foster animal to and from our facility for various reasons. 

Click here to access the FOSTER APPLICATION.  It is a simple application so we can collect information to better match you with the perfect foster pet! 

Routine medical care for a foster animal is done through the Harris County Pets, free of charge to the foster. We may also be able to provide you with food, kennel or pee pads, etc. for your foster animal. The foster staff will review with you any needed supplies. 

Programs We Offer:

Foster Friends (longer-term)

Animals that may be adoptable, but need help with socialization, minor illnesses, grooming, or if there just isn't space at our facility. Animals in the Foster Friends Program are available to rescuers, adopters, and transporters to tag and we will continue to network these animals to our rescue and transport partners, as well as through social media for potential adopters. 

  • A foster animal cannot require any type of medical treatment that is not available from our medical staff.
  • A foster animal cannot be human aggressive.
  • A foster animal may be chosen for a transport or rescue at ANY time. If you plan to adopt, please let us know IMMEDIATELY via email. All Foster Friends remain on the website for rescue and adoption and the animal will be sent to our Transfer Partners for potential placement.
Foster for Transport (shorter-term)

These are animals chosen by our Transfer staff for transpot to other areas of the Unites States via our Transfer Partners.

  • Each animal will have a specific time range that a foster parent is needed (usually 1-3 weeks for /kittens puppies or up to 5 weeks for adults) 
  • Most Transfer Partners have different requirements for how long we must hold before transfer and vaccinations. Because of these requirements, these animals are not available for local adoption and need not be marketed. 
  • We will communicate with you to arrange your foster’s transfer date and any possible treatments needed.  
  • Once an animal enters foster care, we will submit the animal to our transport partner and transport date will be set.
  • You will need to be available to come back to our facility for medical treatments or a vaccination prior to transport.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is fostering?

The term fostering means temporarily caring for a pet who is not yours. Most commonly, people foster cats and dogs - taking care of them for a short period of time until the pet is adopted. 

Families take in a pet who would otherwise be in the shelter, thereby freeing up much-needed space for another pet who has no other safe place to go. This saves the life of the pet in foster and the pet who takes their place at the shelter.

Does it cost money to foster a pet?

Nope! Fostering is not just fun, rewarding, and essential—it is also completely free! Harris County Pets can provide you with any basic supplies you may need to get started and all basic veterinary care during your foster period! Fosters have to provide a safe and loving temporary home for the pet.

How long will I be expected to foster?

Fostering can be for any amount of time! You can take in a pet for an afternoon, a weekend, or a couple of weeks.

Can I adopt my foster pet?

Absolutely, if the pet is not slated to leave on a transport. Some places call this "foster failure"—we prefer the term "foster success." In fact, 44% of pets fostered are even adopted by their foster families.

Fosters help market pets within their network so the pet can be adopted more quickly. So there is no pressure to adopt your foster pet—but if you decide to, we will celebrate and support that choice. 

Can I foster even if I have pets at home? How about if I work full-time?

Yes! Many of our foster parents have pets of their own, and many fosters work outside of the home. We can help discuss finding a foster pet who might be the right fit for your household.

Which pets are available for fostering?

Animals available to foster are selected by foster staff based primarily on age, behavior, and medical history. A foster animal cannot require any type of medical treatment that is not available from our medical team. A foster animal cannot display any concerning behavioral issues that may require extended training intervention.

Can I foster if I live in an apartment or do not have a fenced yard?

Yes, but we suggest you know your limits. If you are fostering a dog, commit to leash walks. You may also need approval from your apartment manager or landlord which may have weight and breed restrictions along with a deposit.

What are the primary responsibilities of a foster family?
  • Provide a safe, clean, caring environment
  • Provide food, water, toys/enrichment, and shelter
  • Provide exercise and socialization as appropriate
  • Monitor any medical and/or behavioral problems
  • Transport to/from any necessary medical appointments
What if I cannot foster any longer?

We understand that life happens and we encourage you to try to network your foster in order to find another home. If you absolutely need to bring your foster back to the shelter, he or she may be at risk of euthanasia unless another foster is found or there is no room at the shelter.