be a foster

Supporting shelters during COVID-19: We are committed to supporting our shelter partners’ most critical needs as they face the dual responsibilities of protecting human health and saving animal lives through this crisis.

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Foster & Adopter Live Stream Support Webinars

Have you welcomed a foster or newly adopted pet? We’re here to help! We are hosting a webinar series to provide you with additional resources during your new adopter or foster journey. Check out our previously recorded webinar series below.

Benefits of Fostering

Fostering opens up an additional spot at your local shelter or rescue to help even more animals. It also allows the pet to get used to home life and takes them away from the stress of a shelter. This allows a pet’s true personality to come out and shine. Plus, it can be a fun and educational experience for you and your family.

Find a Shelter or Rescue Near You

Shelters and Rescues across the nation are looking for foster parents for various pets in their care. Get in contact with your local shelter to see how you can help.

Can't Foster But Want To Help?

If fostering isn’t possible for you right now, don’t worry. You can still help save lives by donating today!

Fosters to Follow

Fosters to Follow

 

The Petco Foundation and BOBS from Skechers are honored to recognize these 22 National Foster Heroes who are making a difference in their communities and demonstrating the lifesaving impact of fostering pets. During the response to the COVID-19 crisis, we saw a significant spike in the number of people fostering pets. Our goal is to continue this trend, inspire more people to join the pet fostering movement and make pets sheltering in foster homes, versus animal shelters, the new normal.

Roxie L.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control
Phoenix, Arizona

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Roxie's Bio

Foster Hero, Roxie Lusk, long lost count of the number of pets she’s nursed to health and happiness at 1,000. Roxie has always had animals in her life, so it was only natural for her to accept more as foster pets when she moved to her 2-acre Sunburst Farm which she shares with her husband, Perry, and their pet dogs, horses, goats and miniature cow. She remembers at one time having to care for more than 35 puppies and seven mommas.
“Having to load all those puppies up for vaccinations and run to the shelter was hard work,” Roxie recalls. “But it was worth it.”
“Roxie is more than willing to take on litters, which is critical for a shelter that sees almost 30,000 animals a year,” said Tina Clouser, senior shelter associate with alternative placement services at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control in Phoenix, AZ.
Roxie started fostering for the shelter in 2011 and never looked back. She’s made a huge impact on each animal, offering them not just a quiet, healthy and safe place, but also the extra love they need.
“I enjoy giving them comfort,” said Roxie. “I’ll crawl in with them and hold them and socialize them until they are ready to go to their family.”
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control agrees that Roxie makes a difference not just for the community, but for each puppy that gets her special kind of foster love. “Roxie says she sees it as bond that can be shared by everyone who chooses to foster," said Tina.

Liz J.

Pima Animal Care Center
Tucson, Arizona

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Liz's Bio

Liz stepped up to foster, Joker, one of our toughest behavior cases, through 6-8 weeks of surgery recovery after a double femoral head ostectomy (FHO). This dog THRIVED with her care. At first, he was young, reactive, jumpy, mouthy, not kennel-broken or house trained, with no real home history. Without Liz he may have continued to deteriorate to a point where he'd be beyond physical and emotional recovery.
Liz took a highly reactive dog, who likely lived outside his whole life prior to coming to PACC, and nursed him back to health, mind, body and soul. He is officially the perfect dog now, which few of us at the shelter knew was deep in there all along. Liz saved Joker's life without question.

— Rachel Jones, Pima Animal Care Center

Heather H.

Front Street Animal Shelter
Sacramento, California

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Heather's Bio

Front Street Animal Shelter had so many people step up to help with fostering during the COVID-19 pandemic. When we needed additional support caring for pets during the crisis, the story of foster care provider, Heather Higgins, and shy foster dog, Luna, is just one of our foster stories I was able to follow from the beginning. Heather did not hesitate to take whatever animal needed immediate foster placement, and she welcomed Luna to her temporary foster home. I was able to watch the story of a shy mother Pit Bull/mix of several puppies (puppies adopted just prior to evacuation) blossom into what has been a beautiful story.

Heather was able to provide a calm environment for Luna and in doing so, found that Luna was comfortable with their resident cat and dog. During Luna's time in foster with Heather and her family, Luna mastered the art of sit, down, leave it and no. Heather's resident dog, Nesta, even taught Luna how to use the doggy door. Heather was able to allow Luna the time she needed to find the gem that was always within, the big cuddle bug, the perfect dog that any family would be lucky to have. Heather has been the most amazing advocate for Luna, she was able to document Luna's progress and provided photos to prepare Luna's adoption profile.

Heather also stepped up big time when it came to Luna finding a loving home, Luna had 15 interested parties! Heather started the process by exchanging phone calls, emails and providing video chats. Before finalizing the adoption, a social distancing meet and greet was scheduled and Luna and her new family found an instant family love connection. Luna is now with her new family which consists of a mom, dad, daughter (that Luna loves and cuddles with) and a cat too!

Heather has also fostered kittens and other dogs in the past and it warmed my heart to see this story unfold as beautifully as it did. The foster story of Heather and Luna is an experience I hope every shelter pet can have and every Foster Care Provider gets to experience.

— Shari Crum, Front Street Animal Shelter

Valerie W.

Foothills Animal Shelter
Golden, Colorado

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Valerie's Bio

Valerie has been a foster with us since July 2019. During her time with us, she has taken on progressively more intensive care kittens while also fostering critters during the time our shelter was closed to the public. She is an amazing resource for social media needs, providing kitten videos and a videos of how they cared for their foster rabbit. She has taken all of the new experiences as a foster, as we all know that kittens can experience a variety of health issues. Her observations and quick action have greatly benefited a few of our kittens that have fallen seriously ill and recovered thanks to her hard work. Her loving care not only benefits the animals of our shelter, but her compassion has also deeply impacted all of the humans at Foothills Animal Shelter.

Cheryl P

Lee County Domestic Animal Services
Fort Myers, Florida

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Cheryl's Bio

The more foster homes we can get for our many under-aged kittens that come in most of the year in sunny, southwest Florida, the more lives we are able to save, so Cheryl has been an invaluable foster parent over the last few years. She never hesitates to assist us when asked, and always complies with our requests. Her positive attitude and willingness to help us has been exemplary and very appreciated by our staff. She is much deserving for all the hard work she puts in to foster for our organization.

— Nicole Ferguson-Morrison, Lee County Domestic Animal Services

Morgan R.

Jacksonville Humane Society
Jacksonville, Florida

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Morgan's Bio

Morgan is an incredible, one-of-a-kind foster at the Jacksonville Humane Society. Morgan always fosters dogs who are special cases, including those with medical or behavior challenges. Not only does Morgan devote her time to animals that need it most, but she also goes above and beyond to set them up for success. One example of Morgan’s life-saving work began with her first foster, Harold.
Harold was notorious for being jumpy, mouthy, and leash reactive. He was extremely energetic and needed a patient, understanding foster. Morgan took Harold in with open arms and worked with him one-on-one for about three months. Morgan even enrolled Harold in training classes at Jacksonville Humane Society and attended each session with him every week for six weeks.
Morgan knew that after his training classes, Harold was ready to find a family to call his own. She found a potential adopter and soon after, Harold was adopted and has been in his new home ever since.
Since Harold, Morgan has fostered three other dogs, all of which have also been hard to place pets with behavioral and/or medical specifications. She is currently fostering Hershey and has been working with him since the start of COVID-19.
Morgan’s dedication to our animals and our mission is what makes her the perfect National Foster Hero. She is a wonderful example of how fostering saves lives and she exemplifies the Petco Foundation’s Pledge to Save Pet Lives.

— Lindsay Layendecker, Jacksonville Humane Society

Tracy D.

Humane Society of the Treasure Coast
West Palm Beach, Florida

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Tracy's Bio

Tracy and her two children Liam and Haleigh have been dedicated fosters and volunteers at the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast for nearly 15 years. Tracy specializes in bottle feeding newborn kittens and has fostered over 250 kittens! Her children helped her foster journey by assisting with caring for the cats since they were elementary age. They are off to college now and still share her passion for animals. In the past 4 years, Tracy and her children volunteered nearly 900 hours collectively as cashiers at our thrift store.

Tracy says that “my children and I have adored each little precious life that we were able to help along to their forever homes. It was an invaluable learning and loving experience for our family. We will cherish all the extraordinary memories made being a foster family.”

Susan S.

Furkids Animal Rescue & Shelters
Atlanta, Georgia

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Susan's Bio

In 2013, Susan Struble and her family went to Furkids for a fun day socializing with the cats. Seven years later, Susan has fostered thousands of cats and kittens, becoming a true hero to us at Furkids. Susan doesn’t just foster cats and kittens, she focuses on medical cases that need extra care. She has been instrumental in Furkids' efforts to save even the most seriously injured and ill animals. Susan has helped pull off miracles, including 24/7 caregiving that saved 10 of 11 kittens with panleukopenia; and rehabilitating Lucky, by teaching him to walk again after a broken hip and months of therapy. Susan’s efforts don’t stop there. Once her fosters are ready, she works to find them the perfect loving home through the Furkids satellite adoption center. She has worked to build referrals and awareness of the center, taking it from 1-2 adoptions per month to as many as 15 in one week. On top of all that, Susan is out in the field, helping TNR countless cats, and bringing them into the Furkids program when possible. In short, Susan is a miracle worker, and Furkids is grateful for every day that she dedicates to our lifesaving efforts.

Gina M.

Heartland Animal Shelter
Chicago, Illinois

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Gina's Bio

Gina is not just one of our longest-term, outstanding foster parents, but she is also the animal control officer for Northbrook, Illinois where our shelter is located. As animal control officer, Gina has been serving our city for years making a true difference in the lives of pets and people alike. Gina personally fosters the kittens and cats she takes in as an animal control officer and also steps up to help us save more neonatal kittens on a regular basis. Gina has been fostering bottle babies for us for years and will come by on a moment's notice when we have kittens in urgent need of help. As a former veterinary technician too, she has trained some of our staff and volunteers on how to bottle feed and also has fostered adults and senior cats with medical conditions. At home, Gina's entire family is involved in fostering including her husband and young daughter who is an expert at socializing shy kittens.

In 2019, Gina took in a transport of kittens that came in from Texas. Of that group, one of them had an immense amount of medical challenges including not being able to urinate and defecate on his own even as he got older. She kept him alive after many episodes where we almost lost him and once he became stable enough to adopt, she decided to keep him knowing that it would be extremely hard for him to find a home of his own being on long-term medications and needing to be expressed several times per day. He is now a permanent member of her family, but she never stops giving back and is still eager to take in more kittens and cats who need her!

Bonnie K.

Humane Society Waterville Area
Waterville, Maine

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Bonnie's Bio

We all dream of coming across one of those magical unicorn volunteers; you know, the one who will answer a call in the middle of the night and rush over to pick up a litter of 2 day old orphaned kittens found burrowed deep in the wall insulation of an abandoned trailer. That's Bonnie, our very own neonate kitten whisperer. Bonnie is the first person we call in emergency situations because she commits everything from KMR, miracle nipples, kitten food, scales, funnels, SnuggleSafes, playpens and custom carriers to the animals. The majority of the kittens Bonnie raises have typical issues, but she feeds around the clock to save the most vulnerable. Bonnie has seen her share of heartbreak along the way, but she keeps returning, keeping an open heart for those needing her most.

Bonnie's generous spirit means her circle of care is constantly growing. She involves her daughter in raising and rehabilitating kittens and cats and she mentors other fosters to do the same. Due to COVID-19 we have had to shift from in-person classes to virtual and Bonnie was up to the challenge. She was happy to host both our Bottle Baby Basics and Kitten Care 101 classes for our fosters. She has helped to expand our capacity to care, which is vital in these ever-changing times. Having fostered 73 cats and kittens this year, including Hoffman, a determined 3-legged amputee, Sonata and Cadence, the only 2 of 8 kittens to survive a litter, and Anakin, one of the most beautiful kittens we have ever seen, Bonnie is the kind of treasured volunteer that has made so many of our shelter's dreams come true.

— Julia Sidelinger, Humane Society Waterville Area

Angela V.

Baltimore Animal Rescue
and Care Shelter (BARCS)

Baltimore, Maryland

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Angela's Bio

Angela Vogt been fostering with BARCS for two years after a chance encounter in Pittsburgh when her co-worker found abandoned kittens on the side of the road, one of whom had been hit by a car. Angela brought the kittens to the local animal shelter. Given their condition, she didn’t expect any to survive. The kitten who was hit by a car would need several surgeries and a lot of love to pull through. Angela left the shelter knowing she did the best she could.

But then, to her pleasant surprise, all of the kittens survived. And when they were big and strong, they went to loving homes. When Angela came home to Baltimore, her experience in Pittsburgh inspired her to begin volunteering and fostering with BARCS. She chose BARCS for a few reasons, mainly, “BARCS is much more than a city shelter. It’s a refuge not only for healthy adoptable animals but also for sick and misunderstood animals that need the most help.”

So she jumped right in and got to work. Angela began taking cats and kittens whenever needed. She quickly became our “cat guru” for her willingness to open her home and nurture cats who need the most TLC. She has several foster rooms in her home which allows her to take different combinations of motherless kittens, moms and babies and even adult cats--all while giving them their own space. To date, she has fostered 105 cats and kittens! In addition to her 105 fosters, Angela has taken more than 50 emergency overnight cases for monitoring.

Most recently under Maryland's COVID-19 quarantine, Angela has stepped up to take some of our most difficult medical, long-term and hospice case cats into her home to lessen the volume burden at our shelter.

When asked about her favorite foster stories, Angela said a few came to mind.

Gunter – “Gunter was my first adult foster. He came to me with a fractured hip and stayed while recovering from surgery. He fell sick a few times and was hospitalized for an unrelated viral illness, so he kept me on my toes. He is a sweet, loving, silly and incredibly fast cat, and my resident cats just fell in love with him. My cousin’s family adopted Gunter, so I am fortunate still see his sweet face and silly updates.”

The Noodle Litter – “The Noodles (Clarence, Martini, Mr. Potter, Zhu Zhu and Bailey) were my first bottle babies, so of course, they are special. Bottle babies need to be fed and checked on every few hours depending on their age. Being ridiculously cute and total show-offs for photos didn’t hurt!”

Spike and Snoopy – “These guys came home as fosters and never left! Spike has a heart condition, and Snoopy and his siblings were brought in during the end of the critical socialization period for kittens. His brother and sister did very well, but Snoopy made the executive decision to skip the adoption formality and move in. Snoopy loves foster kittens and is more confident with cats over people. He is now the resident kitten trainer/comforter for orphaned kittens when I need him.”

Though fostering can be challenging, Angela wouldn’t change a thing, “I most look forward to their transformations over time: watching kittens go from newborns to individuals with unique personalities; seeing momma cats go from all business to playing with toys and seeking their own attention; and guiding cats through critical weight loss or gain, various post-surgery recoveries and confidence-building.” Not only does Angela foster for BARCS, she is also one of our volunteers who takes care of our adoptable cats in retails stores, 7 days a week (pre-COVID-19)!

Mike G.

K-9 Stray Rescue League
Oxford, Michigan

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Mike's Bio

In an era where advocating for animal welfare is more crucial than ever, K-9 Stray Rescue League volunteer, Mike Gresham, is the person any animal lover would aspire to be. During this time of uncertainty with the COVID-19 crisis still ongoing, Mike used his foster expertise to find homes for six of his seven foster dogs in just the past month alone! In fact, one of his foster dogs, Roman, just found his loving home in May, after being with Mike for over a year. For most of us, that in itself would be an amazing accomplishment, but when you compare it to the over 200 dogs Mike has fostered over the years, it is just another example of why Mike is a Foster Hero to people and dogs alike.
Mike’s passion for helping animals began long before this pandemic started and will continue far into the future. During the past 14 years, Mike has fostered pregnant moms, dogs recovering from surgery, heartworm positive dogs, and those with special needs and medical conditions. He has revived newborn pups and taken in behavior issue dogs that nobody else would. In short, he has accomplished rehabilitating and caring for those who are most in need; these are the type of dogs most of us just talk about helping.
Mike has even converted his heated garage into a birthing area with multiple indoor/outdoor foster pens. His selfless actions have saved the lives of hundreds of dogs and improved the lives of families who have welcomed their new furry family members home. Many of those families still maintain a relationship with Mike, long after they adopt. Mike holds foster reunions at his home and participates in Facebook groups where previous adopters share updates. Many families bring in their now-adult dogs to visit him at adoption events. Mike’s involvement with the dogs he has fostered lasts well after those pups go to their forever homes.
In addition to serving on the board for K-9 Stray Rescue League, Mike has served as the Petco lead for 9 years, coordinating bi-monthly Petco adoption events, along with devoting hours to other countless off-site adoption events and coordinating with several organizations to transport dogs to our rescue.
The volunteers at K-9 Stray Rescue League are very proud to work with Mike and are proud to call him a Foster Hero because as you may have guessed, he would never think of himself as a hero, just a guy who loves dogs and wants to help. Those who know him best describe him as a humble, big-hearted man who handles every challenge with unending grace. When others may take time to rest, Mike is constantly on the lookout for new dogs that are in need of rescue. His non-stop devotion to the well-being of all dogs makes him worthy of this recognition.

— Justine Hubbard, K-9 Stray Rescue League

Samantha G.

Wayside Waifs
Kansas City, Missouri

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Samantha's Bio

Samantha Grimes is a truly extraordinary human being and is a hero to both children and animals. Her vocation, her life’s calling, is to help those in need. Her capacity to teach, heal and comfort has no limits. Not only is she a devoted elementary school teacher, her lifesaving impact on the animal welfare community is immense.
Sam has been a volunteer at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City for over 9 years. She started as a dog socializer, and beautifully transitioned into a foster volunteer in 2013. In addition to continuing to volunteer on-site in several capacities, Sam began her journey of opening up her heart and her home to shelter animals who weren’t quite ready for adoption.
Wayside Waifs is committed to providing both lifechanging medical care and behavior modification to animals in need. Our foster program is a critical component to our comprehensive circle of care. No one personifies that more than Sam Grimes. Wayside Waifs offers behavior modification to those animals who, through no fault of their own, come to us extremely shy and fearful, terrified of humans and in many cases emotionally shut down. Those dogs are entered into our Confidence College Program. In addition to our Behavior Team, Wayside is fortunate to have volunteers who have received additional training to help work with these innocent dogs. Sam has become a beacon for our Confidence College behavior program for shy and fearful dogs. Of the 63 dogs she’s fostered, 42 have been Confidence College dogs. To see their transformation under Sam’s care is beyond inspiring. To see them learn how to walk on a leash, play with toys, accept the love and care from a human is so beautiful. Sam helps these dogs prepare for life in a forever, loving home. It’s lifesaving and lifechanging.
In addition to her passion for working with shy and fearful dogs, she also routinely fosters shelter animals who have had medical procedures or surgery and need time to recover before adoption. She has fostered 13 dogs who needed specialized medical care.
Sam was one of the first individuals to volunteer to foster during COVID-19, and it was one of the first times she fostered a dog who didn’t happen to have special needs. She is an absolute gift to Wayside Waifs.
Sam dedicates so much of her time, energy and heart to homeless animals, at the same time working as an educator, shaping young minds and teaching them too about compassion towards animals and each other. In fact, one of her “foster fails,” Arnold, became a Humane Education Companion Animal and accompanied her to school. In addition, to further her own education in the world of behavior modification, she’s completing a personal dog training course on her own. Not only has she helped to transform the lives of those dogs she fosters, but she is now the Lead Volunteer for our Confidence College Team. From volunteering at the shelter, to helping adopters before and after the adoption process, to helping find animals who have been lost, to fostering those dogs who need our help the most, she continues to fulfill her passion for helping homeless animals in our community. Sam is so deserving of the title Foster Hero.

— Megan Harding, Wayside Waifs

Andre K.

Muddy Paws Rescue
New York, New York

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Andre's Bio

Muddy Paws Rescue is made up of an incredibly strong community (which we lovingly call our Muddy Paws Pack). We're constantly amazed by the generous individuals who contribute to our lifesaving mission and one particular name comes up again and again whenever we think of fosters deserving any extra recognition — Andre Karma.
As a healthcare worker, Andre has continued to give back to our Muddy Paws Pack despite facing the devastating challenges presented by the pandemic. Andre takes on three roles: as an on-site EMT for a pharmaceutical company, a medical scribe at an urgent care, and a laboratory clerk at a hospital. Like many, his life quickly changed as the need to save human lives increased exponentially. His role at urgent care became so high in demand due to the overflow of patients from surrounding hospitals, and work in the lab increased exponentially due to the influx of COVID-19 specimens. Somewhere in the midst of all this, Andre still found the time and space in his heart to continue to welcome foster dogs into his home.
What makes Andre an especially dedicated foster parent is his eagerness to open up his home for mama and litters, all the while having his own resident dog and juggling a full-time job that sometimes has him working 16-hour shifts. Mama & litter fosters are already harder to come by in the tight living spaces of NYC, but Andre, to quote our Foster Team, "is rarely fazed by a challenge." Always jumping at the chance to help, Andre has taken in four litters of pups throughout his two years of fostering with us. And when he doesn't have a giant puppy pile in his home, he will always welcome any pup who needs a temporary home. So far, Andre has helped to directly save almost 40 lives and we truly couldn't be more grateful for his kindness and love he has for our dogs.
Andre always goes the extra mile for each pup he takes into his care, like taking them to medical appointments or weighing them daily to make sure they're growing up healthy and strong, giving mama the most delightful belly rubs when she is sore and tired from caring for her little ones, making sure each pup has the nutritious food they need at every mealtime and so much more. He does all of this with a warm, welcoming attitude, that leads us all here to believe that he must be a superhero! Plus ... literally every mama he's ever taken care of is always obsessed with him, which just shows how the pups just want to reciprocate all the love he gives them.
When asked about fostering during the pandemic, on top of his day (sometimes night) job, Andre simply said his foster dogs are not only a sight for very sore, tired eyes, but they are the perfect alarm clock to get him to his next shift of the day. Whenever he finds himself exhausted from life during the pandemic, Andre has always found comfort in his foster dogs. At Muddy Paws, there aren't enough words to describe how thankful we are for Andre who continues to give back to the New York community, that has been hit the hardest during this crisis, and to our dogs in need. We couldn't save as many lives as we have without Andre and that's why he is our Foster Hero.

— Anna Lai, Muddy Paws Rescue

Heather J.

Peak Lab Rescue
Durham, North Carolina

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Heather's Bio

Heather is a CHAMPION for shelter dogs. Her mantra is: puppies solve everything. She is Peak Lab Rescue's Foster Hero.
Heather and her family stepped up during COVID-19 in a big way to ensure that our shelter puppies found a loving home. She has fostered back-to-back-to-back and has responded to every call for action. She has even recruited several other foster families to volunteer for Peak Lab Rescue during this pandemic. Her home serves as a “distribution center” for equipment and supplies needed by fosters who live in her part of town. As a professional photographer, Heather participated in the recent #frontporchproject, which features family portraits taken outdoors from a safe distance. Heather generously donated the proceeds from these heartwarming portraits to Peak Lab Rescue. Heather is tireless and an inspiration.
Heather has been a Peak Lab Rescue foster for six years and has helped 200+ orphans, bottle feeders, and itty-bitty babies. That’s a lot of dogs who require a huge investment of time and loving care in order to thrive!
Her current foster dog, Gaia, was a terrified and alarmingly underweight mama dog saved with her nine one-day-old puppies in tow. Caring for Gaia and her puppies is a family commitment. Heather’s three daughters have worked hard to earn Gaia’s trust and help her relax in their home. Husband Jeremy’s custom-built whelping box ensures the comfort and safety of the pups as they grow. Heather has undertaken puppy weight checks and supplemental feedings around the clock. She carefully tracks Gaia’s weight gain as well to ensure that mama dog has the energy and resources to feed her growing brood. The pups are now three weeks old and doing well.
“I can go on and on and on about everything fostering has done for my family,” says Heather. “It’s not always glamorous, but it is always beautiful.”
A hero is defined as a person who is admired for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Heather possesses all of this and more. Her positive attitude, generous heart, and commitment to saving dogs make her special. Peak Lab Rescue is proud to call her our Foster Hero.

— Sharon Gesser, Peak Lab Rescue

Lorie R.

Music City Animal Rescue
Nashville, Tennessee

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Lorie's Bio

Only a short time after a divorce and losing her home in a massive fire, Lorie relocated to Nashville, TN. Knowing what it was like to have your whole life changed and be displaced from your home, Lorie reached out to Music City Animal Rescue hoping to be able to provide some help and comfort to abandoned, abused or neglected animals who feel the same way.
What we believe makes Lorie a Foster Hero is the fact that she and her family are perfect examples of what so many families could give to an animal in need. Lorie uses her patience and skills as a college professor to teach and socialize all the pets that come through her home. From litters of tiny puppies and kittens, to dogs and cats with severe health issues or mental and physical trauma, Lorie has opened her home to 69 pets in need who have all gone on to find loving homes of their own.
It is an even greater challenge, but reward as well, to include your family in this lifesaving effort. Lorie includes her daughter and son in all the foster activities, from feeding and cleaning up after them to attending adoption events. She teaches them appreciation for animals and what it means to take care for them responsibly. Lorie has often said that watching her children grow and learn from their interaction with the animals and watching the animals learn and flourish from the love and attention her family is able to give, is one of the most rewarding things in which she could ever be a part.
These things may not seem "heroic," but it truly takes dedicated time and energy to be a foster parent. This is the heroism that doesn't always make the news but it's the kind of heroism that no animal rescue could exist without. Lorie and her family will always be heroes to us, and we can’t thank them enough for all the animal lives they have saved.
— Vickie Harris, Music City Animal Rescue

Pam M.

Austin Pets Alive
Austin, Texas

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Pam's Bio

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial we have fosters willing to take care of pets with medical needs. Pam Martin never hesitates to open her heart and home to even our most heartbreaking medical cases, doing whatever it takes to nurse sick and injured pups back to health. What started nearly 10 years ago as a way to meet new people and do something enjoyable has become a life-changing passion for Pam. Her incredible impact touches not only the foster dogs she saves and sends home with loving families, but also the many foster volunteers whom she inspires to keep fostering and to take on the medically fragile pups that need them most.

Pam always is willing to help fellow fosters, and she goes above and beyond caring for pups with issues ranging from common conditions, like ringworm and mange, to more serious issues, like muscular dystrophy and spinal cord injuries — even conditions most people have never heard of, like megaesophagus and cerebellar hypoplasia. She also fosters pups with distemper and volunteers as one of our Distemper Angels, a group of experienced and specially trained foster mentors. Although it can be distressing to witness the most severe effects of this devastating illness, Pam shows remarkable strength and resilience, never turning her back on these dogs who need a hero like her. In fostering many of our most extreme medical cases, Pam has learned so much about tending to pets’ needs and supporting their recovery, and our clinic knows they can trust her instincts. Pam wishes she could foster every medical needs pup that comes through our doors, but since that’s not possible, she volunteers her time as the Dog Foster Care Team Co-Lead, so she can be the link to help other fosters with a pup’s care. Before the COVID-19 crisis, and especially now, Pam’s dedication remains unwavering. Like our dog foster manager says, “Pam loves helping dogs. It's in her blood, in her constitution.” Over the years, Pam has fostered around 250 dogs and puppies, showing each one what it means to feel safe and loved, and she has helped countless more by guiding and supporting other foster volunteers.

Pam started fostering on July 4, 2010, when she brought home a litter of 3 puppies— and she hasn’t stopped since. She recently retired, and with her professional background in occupational therapy, Pam naturally fell into the role of fostering medical needs dogs, like 2-month-old parvo survivor Edger. Pam’s journey to fostering more extreme medical cases started with Trudy, a dog with severe demodectic mange. On Trudy’s first night with Pam, she stayed up all night taking care of Trudy’s needs. Over time, and with Pam’s help, Trudy blossomed into a playful, happy puppy, and Pam found it incredibly rewarding to watch Trudy’s transformation. There have been dozens of pups since Trudy that Pam has nursed back to health, and others that she has given a comfortable space to pass away, surrounded by love, when their illnesses or injuries proved too much to overcome.

For nearly a decade, Pam has helped the Central Texas community save animal lives by choosing to foster dogs that need extra TLC and empowering others to feel confident in fostering pets with medical needs. As we respond to urgent rescue pleas from shelters in Central Texas and statewide that are facing life and death decisions about animals amid the COVID-19 crisis, Pam’s commitment and compassion will help us keep taking in the most critical cases to give all pets the chance at life and adoption they deserve.

Jennifer L.

Harris County Animal Shelter
Houston, Texas

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Jennifer's Bio

We know every foster is special, but Jennifer Lyons truly goes beyond that. She is a consistent, dependable foster for numerous bottle babies, and other animals, and she is an easy and flexible foster parent! She is always ready to help and trust me - we call her all the time. She is a true animal advocate that understands not only the shelter environment, but the mission and goals of our shelter. Jennifer is personable, very knowledgeable and always willing to offer advice and help to new fosters. She makes it all look very easy, but we know she often has her hands full saving animals. She has fostered more than 200 animals for us and is currently fostering during the COVID-19 crisis. Fosters like Jennifer are very rare and we literally could not do the amount of lifesaving work we do without her and her team of fosters. We are honored to nominate Jennifer and we sincerely hope she is recognized for the very valuable and important foster work she does consistently for our shelter.

Rita P.

Palm Valley Animal Society
McAllen, Texas

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Rita's Bio

With an overflowing heart and endless energy to give, Rita has been a foster for nearly two years at Palm Valley Animal Society (PVAS). She has fostered 68 kittens and cats, and one dog. Medical issues are no deterrence but rather opportunities to help. Rita is one of the first foster parents our team turns to when there are neonatal kittens or any animals suffering from upper respiratory and other medical complications. With Rita’s care and attention, she has nursed numerous litters of kittens, giving animals a new chance at a life filled with love.
One of our foster team volunteers, Chelsea Hughes, says of our Foster Hero, “It's always a pleasure to see Rita's smiling face. Rita is an incredible foster caregiver who goes above and beyond. She has a huge heart and is incredibly selfless. She provides everything for her fosters and spoils them rotten. She emails us regular updates on their progress, comes in for all healthcare appointments, and braces herself to tearfully say goodbye and send them off to loving homes. From bottle babies to nursing moms with babies, to sick kittens, she has the magic touch and gives them all TLC they need.”
An active volunteer in the community, Rita started volunteering by offering to walk dogs. After three walks with a terrier mix, she fell in love and adopted the pup, whom her daughter named Lemon. Rita later adopted her first foster cat, Sydney, who initially came to her with upper respiratory issues and a left eye infection so severe the eye wasn’t visible. Over the course of a few months, she worked closely with the PVAS veterinarian to nurse Sydney back to full health and could not part with her after that. “That’s a very special bond,” Rita said.
In addition to fostering, Rita is known by staff for her home baked cookies and handwritten notes of encouragement. She even baked several batches of dog cookies during a Harry Potter themed adoption event, and delivered them without a detail to spare, all individually wrapped with stickers and ribbon. For Rita, these gestures come naturally. “I try to thank the foster team,” she said.
Rita has a glow from the care she gives. She is currently fostering not one, but two groups of four kittens. “The purpose is to get them to a point where they can be healthy and happy, and make someone else happy, and I tell myself they will go into a loving home,” said Rita. “I have been able to see some of the people who have adopted my kittens and how happy they are, and that makes it worth it.”
The PVAS foster team thanks Rita for all she’s done. She’s our Foster Hero because of her selfless acts of kindness. She says if it makes us happy, it makes her happy! Rita has touched so many lives through fostering animals and we are grateful for her. Thank you, Rita, for all you do for our pets and staff!

— Marta Casey, Palm Valley Animal Society

Kathleen C

SASPCA
San Antonio, Texas

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Kathleen's Bio

Kathleen has been a godsend to our group! Kathleen is an amazing, young professional woman who lost her mother to pancreatic cancer after she moved to a new city to take a new job. She reached out to SASPCA to foster a Great Dane. She had no dogs of her own but had grown up with pets. We gladly filled her wish! In her desire to help out animals, we also knew they were helping her heal after the devastating loss of her mother.
Kathleen has been our go-to foster for all of our shy puppies/dogs. They all flourish in her care and we are all amazed at how she helps them so quickly! They go from hiding under furniture to sleeping cuddled up with her in her bed at night. She writes the most compelling shelter pet bios and takes such great pictures that her foster pets are adopted even faster than our very social shelter dogs. She finds them the most amazing homes and stays in close contact with their new families.
During this pandemic, Kathleen has taken every dog that we have asked her to foster, even the puppies that require so much more time. She has truly stepped up her game during the pandemic with the ability to work from home. I don't know a better way to honor this amazing young woman and we’re so proud of her recognition as a National Foster Hero.

— Jo Ellen Cockroft, SASPCA

Charise

Humane Rescue Alliance
Washington DC

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Charise's Bio

The Humane Rescue Alliance is fortunate to have many amazing fosters. Charise Van Liew has stood out for the past few months. Charise welcomed Dazzell, one of our most difficult to place dogs, into her home. He is a large, distemper positive bully breed with separation anxiety. She willingly chose Dazzell knowing that his medical situation would require extra work. In fact, she prefers the hard luck cases because she's committed to giving every dog a chance. She helped Dazzell move through his separation issues and hopefully with one more round of testing, Dazzell will be distemper negative and we can begin the process of finding him his adoptive home. Someone willing to take on a large dog can be hard to find in DC; someone willing to care for a dog with multiple issues is truly a unicorn! Before Charise offered to help by fostering Dazzell, we were running out of options for him – she has truly made a second chance possible for him. Her dedication to her fosters and to the Humane Rescue Alliance is award-worthy!

Susan and Larry

Humane Society for Southwest Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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Susan and Larry's Bio

Larry and Susan are long-time supporters of the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. They are a committed volunteer team lending their skills and inexhaustible compassion to cats and kittens in need. During their 14 years of service, they have devoted more than 14,000 hours of volunteer time in support of animals and the mission of HSSW. They are leaders among our volunteer community, mentoring other volunteers and partnering with staff to develop and implement the most efficient and effective programs possible.

Susan and Larry are two of our most experience foster volunteers. Together, they have fostered more than 215 cats and kittens, while also providing direct support as a mentor to other foster-kitten volunteers. As fosters, they are skilled in providing critical care and many forms of specialty support for both adult cat and kittens. Susan initiated and leads the HSSW sewing circle, creating and repairing shelter bedding for cats and dogs. Recently, she led the charge sewing face masks to keep our staff and volunteers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Larry helped develop our foster mentor training program for cat volunteers and also provided instruction for that program with another cat volunteer. He has served as a dog walker/mentor, volunteered in our clinic and Cattery, and served on the HSSW Long-Term Planning Task Force. Larry was also an integral committee member of the HSSW Service Enterprise certification program – a two-year process certifying HSSW as one of only 11% of nonprofits nationwide in volunteer management and organizational performance.

They are true Foster Heroes with a passion for animals in need. In Susan’s own words, “Fostering is our calling… we do it because of our love of the animals and helping all them move from an uncertain life to a loving, forever home.” HSSW is grateful for their years of service to the animals!

 
 
 

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