Thank you for considering becoming a foster parent!

Why Foster?  You supply the LOVE – we will supply the rest!

Fostering animals in need is extremely rewarding! Fostering increases the likelihood of adoption and keeps our pets happier and healthier while waiting for their forever homes. We depend on our foster parents to show these animals what a safe home and loving care is like. Most importantly, fostering save lives as it allows us to rescue more animals!

Foster Pets:

There are many different pets that come to Heartland Animal Shelter who benefit greatly from a foster home.

  • Pregnant cats and dogs: When a cat or dog arrives at Heartland pregnant, they require special love and care in a home environment until they give birth to their babies and care for them until weaning.
  • Young kittens and puppies: Some pets arrive too young to be housed in the shelter due to their undeveloped immune systems. Some of these pets require bottle feeding while others will be weaned. These pets will require constant care until they are old enough to return to the shelter to be adopted.
  • New dogs and cats: Sometimes, there is not room in the shelter for more animals but there are more lives to be saved! Fostering a new animal allows us time to find space in the shelter while the animal’s foster parent learns all about them (likes, dislikes, habits, etc.) so that when they return, we can tell adopters all about them and place them in the most appropriate home.
  • Pets with special needs: Some pets need special rehabilitation in a foster home and some simply find the shelter too stressful! These pets will benefit from a loving and caring foster parent until they are able to find their forever home.

Heartland’s foster coordinators will work with the potential foster parents to find their foster match.

Responsibilities of a foster parent:

  • When needed, the foster parent is responsible for administering medication, ensuring a special diet is followed, and/or continuing necessary training.
  • The foster parent is responsible for monitoring medical and behavior of the foster pet(s) and reporting this information to the foster coordinators.
  • The foster parent is responsible for providing transportation to shelter appointments, as required.
  • The cost of fostering a pet is now tax-deductible in Illinois!

How to get started:

Please complete a cat foster application or dog foster application and one of our program managers will be in touch. Thank you for opening your heart and home to an animal in need. We can’t save them without you!

If you have specific questions about dog fostering, please email


When you adopt from a no-kill shelter, you save two lives. The animal you adopt and the one that replaces him.