Become an HSC Foster Family

Become an HSC Foster Family

Fostering is a critical part of saving the lives of homeless and abandoned animals in our community. It’s not an easy job, and we’re grateful you’re considering becoming a part of HSC’s Foster mission. 

Foster families are vital to what we are trying to accomplish at the Humane Society of Charlotte. Our Foster volunteers help prepare young, shy, senior or animals recuperating from injury or illness, ready to be adopted into forever families. Their time in your care and subsequent adoption not only saves the lives of the animals you’re fostering but also allows us the extra room to bring more animals into our shelter. 

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Foster FAQs

Are you able to separate the foster animals from your own?
We recommend you separate the foster animals from your own companion animals at least when you are not there and for a trial period. This makes sure everyone gets along. A separate room or enclosed area with NO carpet will work best. Bathrooms make a great foster area. Remember to keep the toilet seat closed (kittens will try to jump in).

Are you aware that there is a great deal of clean-up and even possible damage to your home when you take a foster?
Foster animals have ruined drapes, carpeting, clothing, and other valuable items. Preparing your home and the area the animals will stay in can prevent most accidents, but not all of them!

Are all family members whose lives will be impacted by the fosters willing to have these animals in your home?
Fosters may be noisy; they may be messy; they may break or otherwise damage items in your home. A part of your living space will have to be closed off and dedicated to them. You will have to spend significant amounts of time with them and may have to make multiple trips back to the shelter with them even if they are healthy (kittens, for example, need to have their weight gain checked regularly).

Are you able to monitor the health of the foster animals?
You will need to pay attention to your fosters. You’ll need to spend enough time with them to know their normal behavior patterns. Only then will you be able to spot the signs of illness, or worsening of symptoms, in time to avoid your foster needing expensive veterinary care—or perhaps even dying. The Foster Handbook describes what to look for, but if you’re not paying attention, no amount of information will safeguard the health of your fosters.

Can you get to us quickly in case of an emergency?
If animals in your care need medical treatment, you must be able promptly to transport the animal either to the shelter or to a designated veterinarian for proper medical treatment.

Are you emotionally prepared to return the animal after the foster period is up?
It can be very difficult to let go once you have become emotionally attached to the animals! Remember the day will come for you to bring your foster animals back to the shelter. You will be giving love and attention to the animals every day while they’re in your care. . . then one day they’ll be gone. Your only comfort will be knowing that they are much more likely to find a loving, permanent home because of YOUR work! 

Can you place your trust in the staff to decide what is best for the animal?
Sometimes adoption is not an option even after the animal has been fostered. Knowing that an animal you have fostered may not be adoptable can be very hard to manage emotionally.

Do you feel comfortable explaining to friends that these animals are not yours to adopt out and that they must go through the regular adoption process?
As a foster, you may get “first dibs” on adopting your foster animal. However, animals must be cleared medically and behaviorally by shelter staff prior to finalizing an adoption. This includes, but is not limited to, completing their spay/neuter if not already altered. If you are interested in adopting your foster animal or have an interested adopter, please let our shelter staff know.

If you’re ready to help the Humane Society of Charlotte as a foster volunteer, please become a registered volunteer by completing our online application.

If you have any additional questions, please contact our HSC Foster Coordinator at

Behavior Foster Program 

Interested in fostering animals with behavior challenges? 

HSC has launched a new program to further assess and/or train shelter animals with known behavior concerns! 

Animals in a shelter environment are constantly under high levels of stress which may cause significant changes in their behavior that would otherwise not be present in a home setting.  

Becoming a Behavior Foster enables you to take these animals into your home and furthers our mission of strengthening the human-animal relationship by giving us the knowledge of their true personalities and helping us identify their best outcome. 

What type of behavior challenges do these animals have? 

Common behaviors we see include fear of people or new environments, play biting, excessive barking at other dogs or people, and more. Rarely, we may see minor cases of aggression as well.  

For more information on becoming a Behavior Foster and what it entails, email us.  

Note: You must be an existing foster through HSC before becoming a Behavior Foster.