Animal Shelter - Foster

With over 300 foster families, the Fairfax County Animal Shelter relies on our foster program to provide extra care to shelter animals. Each year, foster families give hundreds of homeless pets a second chance they would not otherwise have.


Some types of animals who need temporary foster placement are:

  • Adult dogs and cats who need a break from the shelter (three weeks to three months).
  • Dogs and cats with special behavioral needs. Some of our animals lack socialization and training, and time spent in a foster home (one week to one month, or longer) working on obedience and basic skills can be lifesaving!
  • Neonatal kittens! They need bottle feeding every two to six hours, depending on their age. Spring through fall is ‘Kitten Season’ and the more foster homes we have ready for neonatal kittens, the better!
  • Animals who are recovering from a medical procedure or illness. If you don’t have any other pets, we need you most of all for these types of animals! Having a quiet place to rest and recover makes a huge difference.
  • Dogs for a quick Power Hour walk or hike, and dogs for weekend fostering. Learn more about our Power Hour program, including taking a shelter dog for a Power Hour hike.

Becoming a Foster

If you are interested in opening your home and providing socialization and love to a shelter animal, fostering might be for you! Time commitments range from just an hour, to a weekend, to a few weeks, and possibly even several months, depending on your availability and interests.

The first step to becoming a foster with the Fairfax County Animal Shelter is to fill out an application. Applicants will be emailed when the next Foster Info Session is scheduled with instructions on how to RSVP; these are usually held every other month. The Foster Info Session will go over some basic information about our shelter, and the foster and in-house volunteer programs. You’ll also go on a behind-the-scenes tour!

If you are interested in fostering dogs, including our Power Hour and weekend dog foster programs, and any long-term foster programs, there is an additional Safe Dog Handling training class you must attend. These are held the week after each Foster Info Session 

To get started, fill out a Foster Application!  Questions? Please email us at

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