Foster Program

Fall in love with fostering!

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Dr. Seuss

Our foster families are life-saving superheroes!  Never forget what a profound impact you make by standing up for someone who is vulnerable. Fosters, feel proud of your incredible, brave, lifesaving work, and celebrate your awesomeness.  You are AMAZING and you are changing the world!

Fostering a pet can be a wonderful, rewarding experience for you and your family.  You can feel good knowing you are helping to save an animal’s life. By fostering, you can potentially help even more animals find permanent homes than you could possibly adopt yourself!

Learn more about our foster program>>

Ready to apply? Let’s get started>>

Read some of our foster success stories>>

Foster homes fulfill a critical component of our life-saving work by extending the best possible care beyond the capabilities within our shelter to help more homeless pets in our community!

We are always in need of foster homes for the most at risk animals including:

  • Moms with nursing kittens or puppies
  • Orphaned kittens and puppies
  • Animals too young for spay/neuter
  • Animals recovering from surgery, injury, or illness
  • Animals who need more socialization or behavior training than we can provide
  • Animals who are too frightened, stressed, or just not thriving in the shelter environment
  • A pet who’s owner is temporarily unable to care for them, but want to keep their pets
  • Hospice Care for our shelter pets who are at the end of their life
  • Animals in need of urgent care when our shelter is full

By fostering an animal in your home, you are:

  • Freeing up a spot so our shelter can take in another homeless animal
  • Giving your foster pet the time and home environment they need to be ready for adoption
  • Helping to socialize and learn more about the animal so we can find the best home possible

Learn more about our program>>

“Unless someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr. Seuss

What does fostering an animal involve?

Fostering a pet means bringing an animal into your home to provide a temporary, nurturing environment until they can be returned to our shelter or adopted into a permanent, loving home.  Any individual or family with the compassion and willingness to help animals in need may apply to serve as a foster parent.

Foster terms can range from just a few days or weeks to a month or more, depending on the preferences of the foster parent and needs of the animal.

We will provide basic supplies and any special items, prescribed food, or medical care if needed.  Many of our foster families are willing to provide food, litter, bedding, toys, or other types of supplies which certainly helps us out even more.

We ask you to keep a log of the animal’s general health and behavior to provide us with periodic updates by phone or email on the status of your foster pet while in your care.


How does the program work?

The first step is to complete our Foster Home Application (PDF). We will review your application, discuss requirements of the program, answer your questions, and determine if fostering is right for you. We are open to many possibilities to customize the program with you to serve the best interest of our animals.

Once you are approved as an HSLC Foster Caregiver, we work to match you with suitable pets in need of a foster home.  We will discuss the type of care and home environment needed plus length of time expected to ensure a “right fit” for you and the pet.  If a home visit or “meet and greet” is required with other animals (dogs) in your home, we will coordinate a convenient time with you.

Once we have a mutual agreement for you to foster the pet, we will schedule an appointment for you to take the pet home.

The HSLC retains ownership of all animals while in foster care and will work toward finding a suitable, permanent home or returning the animal to our shelter as needed. We work with our foster family to arrange visits with pre-screened, potential adopters either at our shelter or at the foster home if all parties are in agreement.

Upon our request or if the foster caregiver can no longer care for the animal, we require that the animal be returned to us by scheduling an appointment with as much advance notice as possible.

Our goal is to make each foster experience rewarding and successful for you and our pets. We hope to build a lasting relationship with our foster families resulting in many happy outcomes!

Let’s get started>>

Read some of our foster success stories>>

Ready to apply?

Print and complete our Foster Home Application (PDF) and return to us by FAX to 517-552-8051, drop off at our shelter, or scan/email to  We will review your application and contact you soon to discuss your interest and answer your questions.

Not sure yet if fostering is right for you?

Let’s talk!

Send an email to with your interest and questions about fostering and we will get in touch with you as quickly as possible. Be sure to include your name, phone number and best time to reach you.

We have many fostering needs throughout the year, but our biggest, most urgent need is typically during “kitten season”!

Kitten season typically starts in spring, peaks in early summer, and ends in fall. This time of year, our shelter can quickly become overwhelmed with many unwanted and orphaned kittens who not only need good homes, but require extra medical care, nurturing, and socialization before they can be adopted.  We do our best, but a shelter is not the ideal place for this type of care, so we rely on volunteer foster homes to help!

If you are interested in fostering kittens or other animals for us, please call our shelter at 517-552-8050 or send email to

There are several ways you can help foster kittens depending on your experience and time available…

  • Orphaned kittens under 8 weeks of age require vigilant monitoring, frequent bottle feeding, and skilled handling to survive during this critical period.
  • Nursing moms with babies are more self-sufficient, but also need careful monitoring and a safe place to grow and become socialized before they can be adopted.
  • All kittens need lots of tender loving care and human interaction beginning at a very young age to become properly socialized and ready for adoption usually by 8 weeks of age.
  • Once ready for adoption, kittens over 8 weeks old are typically brought back to our shelter and quickly adopted.  At this point, we may also need foster homes if our shelter space is limited, for kittens that would benefit from further socializing, or for those who are sick and need a temporary place to recover.

Learn more about how to help during kitten season!>>

In the words of Gandhi… “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.

Make an animal’s last moments their best moments… Become a hospice foster

Many of you may remember our sweet beagle, Begonia who was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer and sadly passed away within days of placing her in a loving hospice foster home in the fall of 2016.

There was such an outpouring of love and support to help Begonia and many people expressed interest in hospice fostering.  Since time is of the essence with hospice animals, we need a short-list of fosters to call upon when the need arises again.  Could this be you?

If so, we would love to hear from you.  Begonia’s foster mom will be available to answer your questions and share how her experience enriched her life.

Read Begonia’s full story>>

For more information, contact our shelter or email


Announcing the Begonia Hospice Foster Program

In honor of Begonia, we are so pleased to announce the beginning of our Begonia Hospice Foster Program to provide compassionate, end-of-life hospice care to displaced, homeless animals by removing them from the shelter environment and thoughtfully placing them into an appropriate, loving foster home.

HSLC believes that every animal, including shelter animals, deserve the dignity to have an end-of-life experience that anyone would wish for their own pets.  As much as HSLC works to make our shelter environment a comfortable place for homeless pets to stay while they transition into their forever homes, it is not a suitable environment for hospice animals.  Every pet at the end of their life deserve a place of love, comfort, and compassion and to pass with dignity and grace.

Our goal is to match a shelter cat or dog in need of hospice care with an appropriate, approved foster who is prepared to provide hospice comfort care in a compassionate, loving home environment.  All costs for medical care are covered by HSLC.

How you can help…

      • Fosters in the Wings… Could this be you?
        Time is of the essence when it comes to hospice care, so we need fosters lined up and ready to say “yes” when the need arises
        Let’s get started>>
      • Foster Funds. Consider making a donation?
        Ongoing funding is needed for medical care and food for our hospice foster homes.
        Contact our Development Director to learn more about making a donation for this program or donate on line via PayPal.
        Please indicate under “Special Instructions” that this donation is to support our Begonia Hospice Fund. Thank You!

Donate Securely On-Line via PayPal

      • Begonia Hospice SponsorYou can make an Impact!
        Should a certain pet or story tug at your heart, but you can’t physically take the pet into your home, you can sponsor a cat or dog and help provide the funding needed for food and medical supplies during their time with their hospice foster family.  You will receive photos and updates of the pet’s journey and know that you had a special part of providing healing care and comfort to a pet in need.
        Contact our shelter or email for more information about becoming a hospice sponsor>>