The Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC) receives approximately 3,000 pets each calendar year. With limited space and resources, having trained and ready foster parents helps to significantly increase pet adoptions and save lives!

Foster families open their hearts and homes to provide a temporary crash pad (usually 3-4 weeks) for pets who are too young to be adopted, sick, injured, not socialized, or if space becomes an issue here at the shelter. As a foster parent, you provide the tender loving care, and HSHC will provide for the pets’ medical needs. When the pet is ready to be adopted, you bring the pet back to the shelter to be placed up for adoption. This is one of our most rewarding programs!

Why Foster

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Foster pets make great temporary house guests. They’re happy to be out of the shelter and they don’t care if there’s potato chip crumbs between the couch cushions. (In fact, they might like that quite a bit.) Fostering a pet does not require that you have loads of free time or advanced dog training skills. In fact, our goal is to match you with foster pets that match your lifestyle.

1. Foster homes help adopters see pets at their best. Some animals can handle a shelter environment better than others. Many get overly excited or too anxious to let their true personality shine when they’re in a kennel. In a foster home, pets can relax, so that potential adopters can get a good sense of how they’d be in a home. Foster homes are especially ideal for animals with special needs — animals who might require a little extra attention after surgery or senior pets needing a comfortable place to take it easy.

2. Fostering pets is fun. Taking a walk in the park is fun, but it’s a whole lot more fun strolling with a foster dog at your side. Playing with your foster cat is a great way to unwind and provide the attention she craves.

3. You can teach pets new skills in your home. Dogs and cats are enthusiastic students. Most of them want to learn new skill that can make it easier for them to find a home.

4. You could be a pet matchmaker. Every time you take your foster dog on a walk, or out to a dog-friendly establishment, it’s a chance to connect with potential adopters.

5. Put your Instagram account to good use to help animals. Many pets adopted from HSHC find homes after a foster parent shares a post on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

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6. You’ll be providing invaluable insight. It’s difficult to know all the important things about a shelter animal, such as how they feel about other animals or kids.The information you gather will help us match the pet with the perfect home!

7. Fostering is a temporary commitment with permanent rewards. If you’re unable to adopt a cat or dog right now but want to open your space (and heart) to a shelter animal, look no further than being a foster parent.

8. You’ll be saving more than one life. Every time a shelter animal is able to leave the shelter for a foster home, space is created for another deserving homeless pet who needs a second chance

9. Some of the expenses of fostering a pet for HSHC can be deducted from your taxes as services rendered, because we are an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) organization. Things like pet food and supplies, and even the paper towels you may need to clean up after your foster-furball may qualify as expenses for fostering a pet. You can even deduct cents per mile for trips made solely for the shelter. Your tax professional can let you know the current mileage deduction rate. Just like any other deduction, you just need documents to support the expenses. So keep your receipts and canceled checks. Also, keep track of and notate any expense that is not obvious. Of course, it is best to talk to your tax professional to see exactly which of your foster expenses are tax deductible.

10. You are saving a life. You feel good, HSHC can help more animals, and your foster pet is happy, healthy, and well-socialized. Talk about win-win-win!

How to Apply

Individuals interested in becoming a foster parent must fill out an application. When our Foster Team receives your application, they’ll review it, approve it, and contact you to schedule your training.

Click here to complete a Foster Care Application.