Foster for NAHS

Is Fostering for You?

Foster families feed, socialize, train, and sometimes medicate the animals in their care for the duration of the foster period. They offer a safe, comfortable, stable environment, and provide tender loving care. Depending on the animal(s) in your care, fostering might also include meet-and-greets with potential adopters.

Intrigued? Read through the list of frequently asked questions to discover more about fostering animals in need.

What kind of animals can I foster?

NAHS accepts cats and dogs of all ages and sizes. Those most often in need of foster care are pregnant cats and dogs, and orphaned kittens and puppies too young for adoption. We have expanded our foster care program to include adult cats and dogs currently available for adoption, but who need a break from the stress of shelter life.

How long will I have my foster animal(s)?

It varies and depends on the needs of the animal. The foster period can be as short as a few days or as long as a few months. To accommodate vacations and other plans that might take you away from home for a period of time, long-term care animals might reside in several foster homes until their time in foster care is complete. NAHS’ animal care team works with you to coordinate a schedule around your needs.

Will fostering cost me anything?

There is an initial $50 program fee:

  • $25 is for the foster license through the Illinois Department of Agriculture.  The foster family is required to pay for the license the first year, and NAHS pays the fee every year after.

  • $25 is for the general volunteer program fee.  There is an annual $10 renewal fee after the first year.

When you pick up your foster animals at NAHS, we can provide a small collection of supplies (e.g., food, bowl, cat litter). We would appreciate, however, your purchasing additional supplies as you need them so our shelter supply is not depleted. Any expenses fosters incur toward the care of NAHS foster animals can be declared as a tax-deductible donation.

Any medical care or visits to the veterinary hospital are paid for directly by NAHS. Fosters must, however, use NAHS partner hospitals.

I have my own pets. May I still foster?

Yes! Many of our foster volunteers have their own pets, but you’ll need to provide proof that your own pets are up to date on core vaccines. It’s best, though, to keep your foster animals separate from your own animals. If you’d like to introduce your foster animals to your own pets, we ask that you speak with an NAHS animal care staff member first.

What if it isn’t working out?

We want to ensure our animals and our foster volunteers are happy. If an animal isn’t working out for you, we’ll work with you to overcome the problem, or we’ll search for another foster home where the animal might be a better fit.

Ready to foster?

If you have additional questions about our foster volunteer program, please contact Katie Aseves, NAHS’ volunteer foster coordinator, via email.

If you think you're ready to become part of our life-saving foster community, click here. Once you've completed the Foster Parent Program Application, you can fax it to us (630-420-9380), scan and email it to, hand-deliver it, or send it through the mail.