Foster a Pet

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that the best place for an animal is in a home where they can receive the love, care, and attention they need to thrive. Shelters are stressful places for any animal, but especially for a pet that has been used to a home environment and the love of a family. With increased stress and anxiety in the shelter, pets are more vulnerable to disease and deteriorating behavior, making it harder to adopt them into new homes. Fostering an animal in a home frees up limited shelter space, allowing animals who really need sheltering services more resources. Since we rely on all of our foster volunteers to actively search for new homes for their foster pets, foster care plays a huge role in our ability to save more animals’ lives.

You need to be 18 or older (or you’ll need a parent/guardian to sign up). You’ll need a home or rental that will allow the animal. You’ll need to be able to pick up and drop off the animal(s) for any medical treatments (most common with puppies and kittens). You’ll need internet access, a working email address that you check regularly, and a working phone number. You’ll need to sign a couple of forms and waivers. And we provide the rest: behavior and training information, food, equipment, litter, enrichment toys, medications and medical treatment.

Pretty much any animal at the shelter! We will work with you to find a fostering situation that works best for both you and the animal. This might mean caring for an animal for as little as one day and night or for as long as a few months. Some animals require basic husbandry and care (i.e. mom cats with kittens) and some will need daily training and walks (i.e. a large dog learning good manners). We send out regular requests to foster volunteers with descriptions and needs of the animals looking for foster. If you want to foster a particular animal or want more information on an animal, you can always contact our New Hope Team.

We know that sometimes a particular foster pet may not be the right fit for your home, but we always have other animals seeking foster placement. We also have lots of resources available to help you address some common care and behavior concerns, but if you feel that your safety – or that of the animal – is at risk, please contact our New Hope Team right away.

If you think your foster pet might need medical assistance contact the New Hope Team during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by emailing and leaving a detailed voicemail at 505.983.4309 ext. 1270. You can also text 505.433.1389.

We’re so happy you asked the most important question! A foster home is a wonderful stop along an animal’s pathway through the shelter, but it doesn’t take the place of an adoptive home. We rely on our foster volunteers to get the word out about their foster pets and actively search for new homes. Our New Hope Team will let you know of events and other tips and tricks to help get your foster pet adopted, but we also have some helpful marketing resources available.

To become a foster, please complete the online application and check your inbox within a couple of days. Please send any questions to our New Hope team at the email above.

If you have more questions about fostering, please get in touch with our New Hope Team at 505.983.4309 ext. 1270 or email

Helpful Videos


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Marketing Your Pet

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Behavior and Training Resources

Santa Fe Animal Shelter has a comprehensive Behavior & Training resources and links to other libraries and training resources to help you help your foster pet learn and thrive!

Maddie’s Pet Assistant

Maddie’s® Pet Assistant (MPA) is a free app developed by Maddie’s Fund® to provide you with support after you bring a dog or cat home. Whether you are a seasoned foster caregiver, or just adopted your first pet – the app will provide help and maybe even teach you a few new tricks.