Foster - Michigan Humane (2024)

In-Home Heroes is Michigan Humane’s short-term, foster care program which saves lives by helping animals who need a little extra time and TLC prior to adoption. Often referred to as animal fostering, our progressive program is designed with a convenient, structured focus, providing the maximum value to the animals, and to their temporary caretakers.

Fostering may be for you if you can answer Yes to two or more of the following questions:

  • Do you love animals?
  • Have extra space in your home and extra time in your schedule?
  • Do you have prior pet care experience?
  • Are you a frequent traveler who can’t commit to long-term pet ownership?
  • Are you interested in opening your home and heart by becoming an in-home hero?

Animals may be placed in foster homes for a variety of reasons: illness, injury, they are too young for adoption, etc. We supply the resources – you supply the love.

  • Food and supplies provided
  • Help animals in your home, as your schedule allows
  • Program includes training and support
  • You choose which animals you can help

Interested in becoming a foster? Click here to apply!

Have questions about fostering animals?Please email the foster team at

Foster Program FAQ

Why foster?

Some animals need additional care which can be best provided in a home environment. Not only does foster care allow these animals to get the care they need, but it also provides additional space in the shelters for animals in our care.

Fostering an animal is also very beneficial to you as a caregiver. Every animal you foster helps save not only that animal, but many others in need of care and support too.

Is there anything that I should consider before taking the next steps to become an In-Home Hero?

Michigan Humanehascreated a program to best serve theanimals thatare in need offoster care. Below is a list of questions you should ask yourself to make sure that fostering forusis the best fit for you:

Do you have consistent, reliable transportation?

Do you have the availability (sometimes once a week or more, as needed) to bring a foster animal in for medical re-check and routine care appointments?

Do you understand and accept the fact that foster animals may have fleas and/or intestinal parasites? (Note: Michigan Humanewill make every effort to let you know if the animal you plan to foster has one or more of these parasites and treatment will be administered, but occasionally foster animals carry them without our knowledge.)

Do you understand and accept the fact that pets in your home (if any) may become ill by exposure to a foster animal? (Note: Michigan Humanerecommends keeping your animals separate from foster animals; at the very least, you should abide by a 10-day quarantine period prior to any introductions. However, these precautionscannot guarantee that illness may not still spread.)

Do you have reliable access to the internet for obtaining information about available foster animals?

If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, the Michigan Humanefoster program may not be the best fit for you. Please feel free to call and discuss any of these questions or your concerns with the Volunteer Department.

How long is the average foster stay?

The majority of cases are two to four weeks, though there is a need for long-term cases, as well, averaging about 10-12 weeks. It is important that all animals are able to stay in the foster home during their entire treatment and receive an “all clear” from the veterinarian before being put up for adoption.

What species of animals should I expect to foster?

The majority of animals that are in need of foster care are cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies. There is an occasional need for rabbits to be fostered and sometimes, though rarely, a need for birds, snakes, rats, lizards etc., to be fostered.

Each foster parent/family can choose what species they are most comfortable with taking into their home.

Will I need to provide supplies for my foster animals?

Michigan Humanewill provide all the essential supplies foster caregivers need,including:food, bowls, litter boxes, crates, toys, and medication needed to treat the foster animal. While Michigan Humaneis able toprovide most supplies to foster caregivers who require them, it is helpful for foster caregivers to provide some supplies of their ownwhen able to do so.Any additional supplies provided by foster caregivers will maximize the number of animals fostered by Michigan Humane, which can be thousands per year.

Can I introduce my foster animals to my pets?

Michigan Humanerecommends keeping all family pets separate from foster animals so that illnesses are not spread. If you choose to do an introduction, you should abide by a 10-day quarantine period.

Do I have to train my foster animal?

The vast majority ofanimals that benefit from foster care will be available for adoption following their stay in your home, so any additional training that can be provided to help teach proper manners while in a home is important. Visit our animal foster volunteer resource page for tips on how to train your foster animal.

Reinforcing good habits and manners with your foster animals is always recommended and appreciated!

What kind of care should I expect to provide for my foster animal?

The majority ofanimals that are in need of foster will need medications administered and basic animal care. Michigan Humane will provide you with the medication and dosing instructions, as well as information on care specific to each animal. We do our best to note special circ*mstances on the animal’s record. If you have any questions about a specific animal’s needs, please call the Volunteer Department to discuss.

What kind of special needs should I expect when taking in a foster animal?

Animals may be placed in foster homes for a variety of reasons, the most common being:

Upper Respiratory Illnesses (URI): Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, discharge from the nose or eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite, and elevated temperature. This is the equivalent to the common cold and is contagious to other animals, especially of the same species. Regular re-check appointments and medications are generally needed.

Intestinal parasites: Intestinal parasites can be very common in shelter animals. All animals are given a generaldewormer(pyrantel). Additionally, they are tested for specific parasites when weare able toget a fresh stool sample. If any parasites are identified the animal is treated accordinglyhowever some parasites are difficult to identify.

Weight gain: In some cases, kittens and puppies do not weigh enough to be spayed or neutered and safely placed up for adoption, so additional time in a home environment is most beneficial for them. Likewise, adult cats and dogs may be significantly underweight and would do well with some extra care. These animals may also be ill, or may come down with a URI from having been in a shelter environment, so it is important to monitor them for signs of illness and to let the Volunteer Department know if you notice any sneezing, coughing, etc.

Surgery recuperation: Some animals may need an extensive surgery, requiring additional recovery time that can be best provided in the comfort of a home. They may have special requirements, such as limited activity, pain medications or bandage changes.

Treatable skin conditions: Animals occasionally have demodex mange (A small mite that lives on the skin of dogs) or a flea allergy. Treatment for these can take up to several weeks and may require skin scrapes for testing and specific medications.

House training/litter box training: Young puppies and kittens, small breed dogs, and some larger adult dogs may require some help with this training. For kittens, the process is quite quick and simple; for puppies and dogs it may take longer and require a lot of patience. It is always important to monitor kittens’ litter box useand let the Volunteer Department know if kittens are consistently not using the box.

Basic obedience training (dogs): Occasionally a dog will need specific training assistance to help prepare him for his forever home. People with dog handling and training experience are always a great fit for these special animals.

Socialization: Some animals can be a bit shy or fearful and need time and interaction with people (the more the merrier!) to become comfortable. This generally requires a good amount of play and snuggle time for these pets. These animals may also be ill, or may come down with a URI from having been in a shelter environment, so it is important to monitor them for signs of illness and to let the Volunteer Department know if you notice any sneezing, coughing, etc.

Heartworm Treatment (dogs): Heartworm treatment is a long process and requiresseveral weeksin a foster home with extremely limited activity. The dogs will go through one or two rounds of injections, and sometimes need additional re-checks and specific medications.

Short-term fostering (less than two weeks):In an effort toprepare animals for adoption events, it is helpful for some to go into foster care for the week or two leading up to the event to make sure they do not get a URI. These animals generally just require basic care and will need to be transported either to one of our facilities or directly, to the event on a specific day/time.

Does Michigan Humane temporarily foster owned pets?

If you are interested in fostering an owned pet for a member of our community, find out more here.

If you need a temporary foster for your pet, visit our Safety Net Foster Program page for more information.

Foster - Michigan Humane (2024)


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