How to Help

I Want to Foster

A foster home is…

A foster home is a temporary living situation for pets while they are awaiting placement in a permanent home or to move to one of our partnership organizations. Foster families provide shelter, food, care and love. If you’re looking for the companionship of a pet without a long term commitment or looking for a way to volunteer from home – consider becoming a foster parent! We provide everything you need as long as we have the donated items on hand.

Typical Time Commitment

Fostering isn’t one-size-fits-all, so the time commitment varies. How long you keep your foster pet can depend on the pet’s needs and your needs, but it typically ranges from a few hours to several months. No matter what length of commitment you’re looking for, we can find a match for you! See below for a range of fostering opportunities in order of least commitment to the most.

Foster field trips

Held on Saturday afternoons, Foster Field Trips are a zero-commitment way for you to help a shelter dog have the best day ever! We match you with a pup who is ready for a fun-filled adventure. You collect photos, videos, and information from your day to share with the world and help your field trip dog find a home! You can find the sign up for each week here.

Transport foster

MAS has wonderful transport partners like Animal Humane Society, who drives into town twice a month to transport around 20 dogs back to Minnesota. Once we have identified what dogs are going to AHS, we want to get them out of the shelter and into a foster home ASAP! Transport fostering is an easy “on-ramp” into fostering because there’s usually a defined end date to your foster engagement (changes to the transport schedule that are out of our control can and do happen, but we try to communicate those to our transport fosters ASAP). See dogs in need of transport fosters here.

Pets recovering from illness

When we have pets in our care recovering from an injury or illness, and our vets believe that recovery can happen successfully in a foster home, you can sign up to provide that pet a comfortable place to recover. Pets are only eligible for this program if our veterinarians believe that recovery can occur in a home environment based on the follow-up care required.

Puppies & Kittens

We often take in puppies and kittens who are too young to stay in the shelter because they either can’t eat on their own and they need to be bottle-fed every 2-3 hours, or they can eat on their own, but their immune systems are too vulnerable to safely stay in the shelter. We need LOTS of foster families for these littles, and we prefer to send them in pairs or threes when possible. We also almost always need foster homes for nursing mom cats and their babies.

Adoptable Adult Dogs

This is our general foster program, and this is the foster population where the time commitment varies the most. It can depend on the dog’s behavior, medical condition, how much you market your foster dog for adoption, whether you join MAS in practicing an “Adopters Welcome” philosophy for selecting adopters, and more. We recommend checking out our Foster Resources page for adoption promotion tips. On average, foster parents have adoptable foster dogs in their care between a couple weeks and a few months. Any dog that is legally City of Memphis property and does not have documented behavior issues that pose a risk to public safety is eligible for foster.


We have a critical need for foster homes (as well as rescue and transport partners!) for nursing moms and their litters of puppies, which we will keep together as long as Mom is taking care of them. A kennel in a loud, scary shelter is no place for a mom to raise her babies. There are too many shelter germs she just can’t protect them from, and moms may feel the need to be on alert 24/7 which can present as behavior problems that she may not typically have. We need fosters for mom and puppies until puppies are weaned, which is usually when they are about 8 weeks old. When puppies are very young, fostering a family is easy because mom does all the work. As puppies get older and start moving around, that’s when the fun starts! You can see the families who are currently in need here.

Responsibilities of a Foster Family

  • Provide a safe, clean, caring environment
  • Provide food, water, litter, toys/enrichment, and shelter
  • Provide exercise and socialization as appropriate
  • Monitor any medical and/or behavioral problems
  • Transport to/from offsite adoption events as needed
  • Upon receiving your foster pet, it is recommended that you isolate them from other animals in your home for 7 days. This isolation is especially important for cats and bottle baby kittens.

MAS will provide supplies such as food, kennels, etc., as supplies are available. MAS provides all basic medical care for foster pets, and care beyond the basics as resources allow.

Adopting your foster pet

We love to see foster parents permanently adding their foster pet to their family, and we happily waive adoption fees for our foster parents. The only time we ask that our fosters not adopt their foster pets is when they’re fostering for our transport program, but we’ll tell you upfront if this is the case.

Get Started!

Fostering for MAS is easy! Fill out our foster application online and someone will contact you for next steps. Or feel free to fill out the application and then stop by at your convenience during our adoption hours.

If fostering for MAS doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, learn more about fostering for one of MAS’s Pet Placement Partners! Most of the rescue groups we work with are foster-based and aren’t able to save pets from the shelter without foster homes!