Foster a Pet

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is often seeking responsible and patient individuals who are willing to open up their home to animals in need.

Taking an animal out of one of our Animal Care and Adoption Centers opens up precious space for other animals in need.  You can help us expand our services and find more animals loving homes by fostering a pet.  The length of commitment varies from a week to several months.

We have a number of general foster homes that support most of our animals’ needs.  But, we are currently seeking folks with a little more experience in the areas of:

Cat Behavior

While many of our cats are off to their new homes within a matter of days, some need more time and patience.  We often have shy cats or under-socialized cats that need a quiet place to land while they learn to trust again.  Most behavior fosters have their foster cats in their home for 2-4 weeks.  We are looking for people that:

  • Can give their feline behavior fosters a quiet area in their home where the pet can be away from noise and activity
  • Can keep their foster pet separated from other household pets
  • Have experience with anxious cats or spirited cats
  • Will be patient with potentially slow progress


Dog Behavior

While many of our dogs are off to their new homes within a matter of days, some need more time and patience.  We often have rambunctious canines that are struggling in the shelter environment and need a structured home environment.  Most behavior fosters have their foster dogs in their home for 2-4 weeks.  We are looking for people that:

  • Have experience in dog training or are willing to learn
  • Are willing to work with rowdy behavior
  • Are comfortable large dogs
  • Have patience to deal with housebreaking mishaps or chewing incidents
  • Are understanding that many of our dogs would do best in a home without other pets or young children

Kitten Bottle Feeding


During the warmer months we often have kittens arrive at our door without their moms.  These kittens need to be housed in a nurturing environment with someone who has the capabilities of feeding and stimulating these kittens every three to four hours.  Most bottle feeding kittens are in their foster home for 4-8 weeks.  We are looking for people that:

  • Have a safe and warm area to house their foster kittens
  • Are retired, work from home or live with multiple people that can pitch in to make sure that the kittens’ needs are being met
  • Have the time and energy needed to keep up with bottle feeding kittens needs and demands
  • Are able to bring their foster kittens back to the ARL for routine checkups and vaccinations.


Medical Concerns

Not as common, but we occasionally have animals that need extra special care.  These foster animals may require exercise restriction, daily medications or medicated baths during their time in foster.  Most medical fosters have their foster animals in their home for 2-4 weeks.   We are looking for people that:

  • Will provide a warm and loving environment for their foster pet
  • Have experience or are comfortable with animals with medical concerns
  • Are available to bring their foster pets back to the ARL for follow up rechecks for their conditions




Current Foster Care Opportunities

ARL’s foster care opportunities vary depending on the current need, so do not hesitate to submit an application.

Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent

  1. Fill out an application.
  2. See if you’re a match. We review all foster care applications to match people with the appropriate animal cases since there are animals with various foster care needs. If you’re a match, you will be contacted by an ARL staff member within 4 weeks. *Please note: ARL’s foster care availability varies depending on the current need and the submission of an application does not guarantee a match.
  3. Get supplies. Available upon request, ARL can provide foster parents with food, toys, a crate, and medical care.



There’s more than one way to help animals in need! Interested in volunteering your time in another way? Check out all of ARL’s volunteer opportunities.


For questions regarding ARL’s volunteer or foster care programs, contact Debby Chaplic, ARL’s Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement, at dchaplic@arlboston.org or (617) 226-5670.