Volunteer and foster with the Eau Claire County Humane Association


How do I become a foster parent?

In order to become a foster parent, you'll need to fill out a foster application and send to the foster supervisor. The foster supervisor will review your application and once approved she will send you our foster manuals and a scavenger hunt to fill out. The questions on the application help us determine what animals would be best fitted into your home. Also, if you have any pets in your home, they must be up to date on all vaccines. Most of the animals that go to foster are either ill or not suited for living here at the shelter. You'd need an area for the animal to stay and/or quarantine. Animals that are ill may need medication while in foster care.

Do I have to pay, or do I get paid, to be a foster parent?

You do not have to pay to be a foster parent, nor do you get paid.

What kind of costs will I incur?

The cost to you is minimal, usually only your own transportation cost. Your foster animal will need to be transported to the shelter every couple weeks to receive vaccinations or to be looked at by the veterinarian. Vet checks are only done on Tuesdays. We supply everything that you need; food, litter, dishes, blankets, medication, vet care, etc. *Anything that you would purchase for your foster animal is tax detectable.

Do I provide veterinary care for my foster animal(s)?

No, we will provide routine veterinary care for foster animals. You are required to bring your foster animals into the shelter to receive scheduled vaccinations. This will ensure that vaccinations are being given on the correct day, recorded promptly, and the health status of each foster is being monitored by ECCHA staff. When foster animals are picked up, we will set up your first appointment for necessary vaccines. Please expect to return to the ECCHA every two weeks, at minimum, for vaccine appointments.

What animals are placed in foster care?

Cats are usually in need of foster care due to illness or stress. The foster home will need to be comfortable administering medications provided by us. Cats with illnesses (upper respiratory infections are common in the shelter environment) can come back to the ECCHA once any symptoms and/or medications are gone. This can take 2-4 weeks. Let us know when your foster cat is feeling better so we can reserve a cage. It may take a week or more for a cage to become available depending on our capacity.

Dogs that are stressed due to the shelter environment, need a recovery period after injury/illness, or are in need of some behavioral training are foster candidates. Please note that the ECCHA staff and management are in charge of identifying animals that are eligible for foster care.

I have other animals. Will they adjust to the new foster animals?

Most of our foster parents have pets of their own. We will send you foster animals based on your ability to foster in conjunction with your own pets. Your pets should be up to date with core vaccinations such as Rabies, Distemper, and Bordetella (dogs). This is for their protection. Your foster animals should be kept separate from your own animals; this will help keep both your pets and the foster pets comfortable in a new situation. We recommend they use of a quarantine room to keep them separate. Bathrooms work great for this as they are a good size and easy to disinfect after each foster animal.

How long will the animal stay with me?

An animal's stay in foster care can vary for a number of reasons. The average amount of time is 2-4 weeks. You will be given an approximate timeline of when the animal should be ready to return to the shelter. Each animal is different and some may take longer to recover from illness than others.

Can I adopt my foster pet if I fall in love?

Yes!! You can definitely adopts one (or two) of their foster animals as long as you meet the adoption guidelines.

I work full time, can I still foster an animal?

Yes! Many of the animals that need fostering can be accommodated within a normal work schedule. We consider this factor when pairing you with a foster animals. Most animals, once adopted will reside with people that work during the day. Becoming accustomed to these routines can make an animal more adoptable.

What is a dog Slumber Pawty?

This form of fostering is aimed at giving shelter dogs a break. A nice comfy couch to lie on, a pillow to drool on, and someone to cuddle with can make a world of difference for a depressed dog who may feel like they don't have a friend. These are short term and depending on the dog, usually just a night here and there. This is perfect for someone who has no other dogs (if you have a dog that is great with other dogs, we can arrange a meeting to see how they get along) and can't commit to fostering full time or own a dog of their own. Studies show that even one night out of the shelter is beneficial for dogs. Another great perk of this program is that we can gain valuable insight in helping find the dog a perfect home. At the shelter a dog may bark non stop, but once in foster care never bark at all and vice-versa. If you are only available a night or two a week, this program would be great for you!

Can I take my foster dog to an off leash dog park?

Unfortunately, no. We know that these parks can be fun for most dogs, however there are far too many unknowns to ensure a safe environment for your foster dog and other park goers. It would be a huge liability to the shelter if something were to happen and a person or another dog was injured by the foster dog.

Are foster animals ever euthanized?

While it is rare, it does sometimes happen. Sometimes very young animals can't overcome illness or disease and the decision may be made to euthanize. Rarely we will send senior animals into foster to live out their lives. Medical or behavioral issues may arise that we're not exhibited or noticed in the shelter. The safety of you and the public is very important, and those animals expressing dangerous behaviors may be considered for euthanasia.

Foster A Pet

Eau Claire County Humane Association's Foster Program

In 2019, more than 450 animals received a special home and personalized care through ECCHA's foster program. This program is vital to our mission of saving animals lives. In our busiest season, kennels become full and staff is stretched to their limits. When an animal is able to go into a foster home, it frees up space for new animals to be admitted into the shelter without having to make tough decisions based on limited space. Our program is designed to get the community involved by allowing shelter animals into their homes.

As an open admissions shelter we take any domesticated animal regardless of health, age, temperament, and species. We are always looking for people who can provide extra love in the comfort of their homes by providing a safe, nurturing environment with lots of LOVE to a shelter animal. Whatever your home dynamics may be, we will do our best to match you with a foster that best fit your skill and comfort level. It can be very rewarding watching a scared, sad, or sick animal blossom into a happy, healthy, rambunctious, snuggle loving, playful being that's ready for a new life, all because of YOU!

Foster a pet through our Wisconsin pet shelter.Unfortunately not every pet that comes into our shelter finds a home quickly. That's why we encourage the community to foster pets for short periods of time until we can find the perfect family for them. Whether you are looking to care for a kitten or puppy simply too small to exist on its own or hoping to give a pet some well deserved time away from the shelter, a temporary stay at your home can literally save an animal's life.

Types of animals that need a Foster

  • Animals too young for adoption
  • Pregnant animals and nursing mothers with litters
  • Animals who require supportive health care or post-op surgery recovery
  • Animals that are sick with an upper respiratory infection
  • Animals that find the shelter environment too stressful
  • Dogs that need a break from the shelter (Slumber Pawties)

Becoming a Foster Home

Before fostering a pet from our shelter, you must fill out a foster care application; understand and agree with the foster program's goals; meet the ECCHA adoption standards; prove that pets you own are sterilized, vaccinated, and well cared for. We also request that all foster homes be open to a home inspection and display they can provide for the foster pet during the time of their stay. Further questions can be directed to the foster coordinator. email or call at (715) 839-4747, ext. 26.

Submit an online application to foster.

Tips to Be a Successful Foster Parent

The thought of taking care of an adorable dog or playful cat for a short while may seem like a breeze. But we want to make sure each of our foster homestays are providing the comfort and care they should. The tips below will help prepare you to be a model foster parent.


Give your foster animal lots of attention and affection. The animal may have lived a difficult life before coming to your home. Your love and attention will help to heal the animal's physical and psychological wounds.


Learn as much as you can about pet care. Before you bring your foster animal home, learn as much as you can about caring for that animal. Read about feeding, grooming, and training; study the warning signs that may indicate the animal needs veterinary attention.


Make your home pet-friendly. Before you bring your foster animal home, make sure you "pet proof" your home. For example, remove poisonous plants and protect furnishings. Keep the animal's room warm and comfortable. Also, take steps to prevent the animal from escaping.


Enjoy being a foster parent. Although fostering takes a great deal of time and commitment, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You are temporarily providing a needy animal with a loving home and helping that animal become more suitable for adoption into a responsible, lifelong family.