Foster a Dakin Animal

Kitten sleeping in her foster home


You can be a lifesaver - be a foster hero for animals in need! Foster parents take home animals too young, sick/injured, or scared to be placed immediately up for adoption. They care for the animals in their homes, and work to get them ready for adoption. Foster placements can be as short as a week, or up to a few months.


  • Moms with litters/pregnant moms
  • Kittens under 8 weeks of age without mom
  • Sick animals needing medical care & treatment to get ready for adoption
  • Orphan kittens, needing bottle feeding around the clock
  • Adult cats too scared at the adoption center to eat/have normal behavior
  • Animals participating in our Safety Plan for Animals program

Cats/kittens are OK in foster homes with other animals, as long as they are kept in a separate space from the resident pets. This could be a bedroom or even a bathroom. They don’t need much space, just enough to get better. We expect that all cats and kittens that go to foster will either have, or develop, medical issues that require treatment (which we provide). We’ll teach you how to give the medical treatment they need at home!


  • Dogs too scared at the adoption center, and need a foster home able to handle their fear (you may not be able to touch them for a couple of days at your house)
  • Sick animals needing medical care/treatment to get ready for adoption
  • Dogs too overstimulated in the adoption center’s busy environment
  • Dogs needing behavioral treatment before adoption
  • Orphan puppies needing bottle feeding around the clock (these are rare)
  • Moms with litters/pregnant moms (these are rare)
  • Animals participating in our Safety Plan for Animals program

Many of our dogs needing foster care require homes without other pets or children; some are OK with other pets and children.

Small animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, etc)

  • Moms with litters/pregnant moms
  • Sick animals needing medical care/treatment to get ready for adoption
  • Animals needing temporary housing (ex: When we get 50 hamsters/rats/ mice/others all at once, and need short-term help with their care)

Small animals are fine in homes with other pets as long as they are kept separate. We provide cages for small animals in foster care.

This chart will give you an idea of how often we need fosters for these different types of animals:


In all cases, Dakin makes arrangement for and pays for medical care.  Foster parents provide food, cat litter, and other supplies for foster animals.

Fosters make it possible for Dakin to serve more than 20,000 animals and their people each year. The first step volunteering with Dakin Humane Society is to watch our online foster orientation. You'll learn more about Dakin, what the requirements are to foster, what the process is like to foster, and much more. Fosters can be as short term as a week or up to a few months, most animals that go into foster have medical needs as well - it all depends on each individual situation.

Learn more and get started!

Step One:  Watch our online foster orientation to learn more about Dakin, how fostering works, and how to get started: 



Step Two:  After you’ve watched the orientation, complete this form After completion, a pop up will appear on your screen with the link for our foster application. Processing your application will generally take 1-7 days. Once approved, you will begin receiving emails each day, with a list of animals who need foster care! 

For dog fosters only; before you begin volunteering, you will need to watch the video on dog behavior from Maddies University.

-Go to:

-Create a login, and then click on Staff and Volunteer Portal

-Go to webinar/e-learning, and find the video “Canine Body Language in the Shelter”

-Once you have watched the video, take the quiz, and email Megan Tolpa ( the results/certificate

Other information about fostering

Minimum Age: For everyone!  Primary foster parent(s) must be 18 years or older; however, children are very welcome to assist with foster care when safe and appropriate.  Primary foster parent must have transportation.

Commitment Level: You choose!  You can decide to foster anywhere from two weeks to two months or more.  And you can choose to foster just one time or many, many times.  The more you foster, you more lives you help save!

Be sure to check out our Resources for Foster Parents section for all the information you'll need as a foster!

If you have questions about fostering please contact Megan Tolpa at 413-781-4000 x 112 or contact us by email.