Foster an Animal
Thank you for your interest in becoming a PAWS foster parent volunteer. PAWS saves more than 1,000 animals each year through our Foster Care Program.
Foster parents provide temporary care for cats, kittens, dogs and puppies in their own greater-Seattle area homes. Some animals need as little as two weeks of care, while others may need care for up to three months.
By offering your time, energy and home to an animal in need, you prepare the animal for adoption into a permanent home as well as help prevent overcrowding in our shelter. PAWS is always looking for more foster homes, especially throughout the busy spring and summer seasons.
Most common reasons animals require foster care:
- Kittens and puppies who are too young to be spayed or neutered and adopted out into permanent homes. When the animals are eight weeks old and weigh at least two pounds, they can be spayed or neutered and made available for adoption.
- Cats or dogs who are nursing a litter of kittens or puppies. Although the shelter is a safe environment, it is not the best for raising babies.
- Cats or dogs who are being treated for injuries or illnesses.
PAWS provides: all veterinary care and medicine for foster animals, plus plenty of support to foster parent volunteers.
Foster parent volunteers provide: time, pet supplies, such as cat litter, food, a place in their home and lots of love.
How foster care works
- When PAWS receives animals who are not ready to be put up for adoption, we contact foster parent volunteers. If a foster volunteer is not available to foster at that time, we simply try another person. There will be plenty of other opportunities to foster, so there is no pressure to take an animal.
- Foster parents come to our shelter located in Lynnwood, Washington to pick up the foster animal to take home. At that time, volunteers receive information about the animal’s condition and needs.
- Foster parents may need to bring the animal to PAWS periodically to be examined by our veterinarian, receive vaccinations or other treatment.
- Once the foster period is over, the foster volunteer returns the animal to PAWS.
- PAWS’ medical team will complete final steps necessary to prepare the animal for adoption.
Want to know more about volunteering to foster an animal? Check out these frequently asked questions.
If you are interested in volunteering with PAWS, please follow these steps:
- Be of age. The primary caregiver of the foster animal must be at least 18 years old. However, young people can help at home and potentially receive school credit. Inquire more about school credit at the orientation.
- Be in the area. Foster volunteers must be able to get to our shelter in Lynnwood, Washington on a regular basis. Please consider the potential commute before applying to volunteer.
- Register for New Volunteer Orientation. Choose the class time that works for you and submit an online application to tell us a bit about yourself. If you have any questions about the New Volunteer Orientation process or signing up, please give us a call at 425.787.2500 x822.
- Attend an orientation. You will learn about all volunteer positions available at PAWS, our history and policies. During orientation, you will also be shown how to register for foster training and any other areas that interest you.
- Attend foster training. You will learn about program expectations, basic medical information, and have all your questions answered.
- Start saving lives. PAWS will match you with the foster animals that suit your lifestyle.
Please note that PAWS cannot accommodate those seeking to fulfill court-ordered community service.