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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:


Behavior Foster Parent – Cats

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 or under-socialized cats that need a quiet place to land while they learn to trust again.  Most behavior foster homes have their foster cats in their homes for 2-4 weeks.

Typical Behavior Foster Parent duties include:

  • Having experience with under-socialized or high arousal cats
    • Under-socialized cats: these cats typically did not receive consistent positive interactions with humans as kittens and may hiss, swat and run away from humans.
    • High arousal cats: these cats have a tendency to get overly aroused by some interactions with humans and typically do not tolerate prolonged petting.
  • Offering appropriate exercise and socialization
  • Offering their foster cat a quiet area in the home where the pet can be away from noise and activity
  • Isolating foster pets from household pets, especially in the beginning
  • Being willing to be patient with potentially slow progress
  • Working with suggestions from ARL staff on how to set your foster cat up for success

Behavior Foster Parent – Dogs

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 and need a structured home environment.  Most behavior fosters will have their foster dog in their home for 2-4 weeks.

Typical Behavior Foster Parent duties include:

  • Having experience in positive reinforcement dog training
  • Offering appropriate exercise and socialization
  • Having experience with:
    • Highly exuberant dogs: dogs with lots of energy may also jump and mouth either trying to play or get attention.
    • Dogs with separation anxiety: dogs with separation anxiety may bark or howl, be destructive, and urinate and/or defecate in the house when left alone.
    •  Dogs with  possessive behavior: dogs with possessive behavior may show teeth, growl and snap when things that are important to the dog are touched or approached.
  • Working with large and sometimes rowdy dogs
  • Having patience to deal with housebreaking mishaps or chewing incidents
  • Understanding that many of our dogs would do best in a home without other pets or young children
  • Working with suggestions from ARL staff on how to set your foster dog up for success

 

*Please know that we are currently looking for people with behavior experience to assist us with some of our more challenging shelter pets. If you do not have skills in this area, please check back with us in the spring when we expect to have more general foster care opportunities available. 


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.

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Volunteer

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.

Questions

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.