Foster Program

Fostering is one  of the most selfless and gratifying aspects of animal rescue. Please, if you have room for a sweet furry friend in your home, consider joining FOHA's foster team.

If interested in fostering a dog, please contact us via email fosteradog@foha.org or for cat fostering, please call 703-385-0224 or email adopt-a-cat@foha.org for more information.

What does a foster home do? 

Typically, our foster homes provide food as well as, obviously, shelter and lots of love to a cat, kitten, dog, or puppy in need. FOHA covers medical expenses, including any prescription food required.  Medical care is coordinated through our foster medical coordinators and typically performed by veterinary offices within FOHA’s support network.

Who needs foster homes and why?

FOHA is a shelter-based organization with the absolute advantage for adopters to be able to come out to meet and interact with over 100 dogs and 50+ cats awaiting forever homes, all at one location – this makes FOHA truly unique in our area. But not all animals benefit from being at the shelter, and sometime there just isn’t room or appropriate accommodations available for a given cat or dog, kitten or puppy, at the time of need.

Different cats and dogs seek foster homes for different reasons, and those reasons influence the time commitment required of a foster family. Not all animals at FOHA need or benefit from foster care – frankly, for most healthy animals ready for adoption, it’s best to be at the shelter where they can be seen by potential adopters and find their forever homes. FOHA determines which dogs and cats will benefit from foster care in light of medical condition, socialization, and other factors. These special cases are the ones who need special people who open their hearts and homes – our FOHA foster families.

Long-term fostering

FOHA seeks long-term foster homes for dogs and cats that cannot be best served in the shelter environment – a very pressing and consistent need. Older animals or those with chronic medical conditions are typically those for whom we seek foster families. Some animals may need rehabilitation, making a foster home more ideal for the animal’s physical or emotional well-being. For shy, fearful, or under-socialized animals, foster homes are critical to increasing the chances of adoption.

We typically ask our long-term fosters to commit to helping their foster charge be seen regularly at FOHA on-site or off-site adoption events. Showing your foster pet for adoption is an important commitment in addition to the daily care provided within the home – and is critical to the success of FOHA’s adoption efforts. Most foster homes also allow potential adopters to meet the foster pet either at your home or nearby – such as at a dog park.  We find our adult cats in foster care prefer to meet potential adopters in their foster homes rather than at the shelter. 

Short-term fostering


Short-term fostering can range from just a week or two to multiple months. Longer time commitments apply to fosters of kittens and puppies, who stay in foster care typically until they are adopted. Short-term foster homes also enable FOHA to save more animals or ease the burden on other foster homes:

  • No Room at the Shelter – where we are asked to save an animal from an immediate need situation but no room is available on-site, we look to foster homes to take a dog or cat for a given period of time or until room is available at the shelter
  • Quarantine – If our intake quarantine areas are full, foster homes with no other pets in residence help us save animals from kill shelters that we might not otherwise be able to help.
  • Vacation coverage – when a foster family is on vacation, other short-term foster families often step up to take on a dog or cat. You benefit from a shorter time commitment, and the animal benefits from continuing to stay in a home.

Think fostering might be for you?

Contact us for more information about our foster program and the animals currently needing foster care.