FOSTER A PET

give her a preview of home

Foster Care

Together we can save more lives! Richmond SPCA foster care volunteers provide a temporary home to kittens, puppies, dogs and cats, preparing those pets for adoption into lasting, loving homes.

Foster care saves lives by expanding our capacity to shelter and care for homeless animals beyond the walls of our Robins-Starr Humane Center.

Become a Foster Care Provider

As a foster care volunteer, you offer your time, energy and home to animals in need, and the Richmond SPCA provides the training, supplies and access to around-the-clock veterinary care you need to successfully care for foster pets. Our workshops and pet-specific trainings are designed to create confident foster parents resulting in a comfortable and rewarding foster experience.  

All foster care providers must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Complete a foster care volunteer profile when signing up online for a foster care training session
  • Attend a Meet The Fosters™ training session
  • Adhere to our fostering guidelines

Monthly Meet the Fosters™ Training Sessions will resume in January 2020. To request a private training, please email our foster care coordinator or call her at 804-521-1313.


About our Foster Care Program

Most dogs and cats in need of foster care are underage juveniles or adult dogs and cats who have been in our care longer than 30 days. Other foster care candidates are animals recovering from or awaiting surgery (other than spay/neuter surgery), animals needing specific behavior training and nursing mothers and their babies.

Active foster care volunteers will receive periodic (weekly to monthly) emails with lists of pets in need of foster care. Volunteers who show an interest in any of these pets will be contacted by our foster care coordinator. In cases of urgent needs, active foster care volunteers may be contacted by telephone with a request to provide foster care for a specific dog or cat.

Our foster care coordinator is available by phone 24 hours a day. Foster care volunteers are given an emergency cell phone number to call if an emergency occurs after the shelter is closed for the day. Instructions will be given in the event of an after-hours emergency, with guidance from our veterinarian.

Length of foster care: Dogs and cats who have been in our care more than 30 days typically spend two to four weeks in foster care. Average lengths of foster care for underage juveniles and pets recovering from surgery are between four and eight weeks.

Amount of time and care required: Bottle baby foster pets who require overnight feedings need more involved care than an adult pet. Expectations of time and care will be discussed prior to placement of a foster pet in your home, and you will not be expected to foster any animal whom you are not fully comfortable fostering.

Supplies: All medications, supplements, and vaccinations will be provided by, and must be administered by, Richmond SPCA medical staff. The Richmond SPCA can provide all supplies needed (food, crate, toys, bedding). However, if a foster parent wants to provide these items, that support is greatly appreciated!

Fostering with others in the home: Many of our foster care volunteers are also parents of young children. Children in the home will be a factor in determining which pets are best suited for foster placement with your family.

Having your own pets will also be a factor in determining which of our pets are best suited for foster placement with your family. Foster pets must be kept separate from your own pets during the length of the foster stay (exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis). If you are interested in fostering a dog and have a dog at home, we will set up a time for the two dogs to meet ahead of time to make sure everyone gets along.

If a foster pet isn’t the right fit, please contact our foster care coordinator. No foster parent is expected to keep an animal in foster care that he or she is uncomfortable delivering care to.

Traveling while fostering: There are several options available if you need to go out of town and are fostering one of our pets. You may bring the pet back to our center and pick him or her up after your return. A fill-in foster placement can be arranged with another foster care volunteer. Or, local pet sitting services can be arranged to visit your home and care for the foster pet while you are away.


Thanks to Virginia Veterinary Centers for their generous sponsorship of our Meet The Fosters™ foster care program.

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