Foster Program

You can be a hero by opening your home to a dog or cat in need and supporting them with loving care and comfort in a home setting!

Santa Barbara Humane Society Shelter-at-Home Program

  • Foster a pet for up to 3 months, or for an occasional evening or weekend.
  • Supplies, veterinary services, training support provided.
  • Everything you need to make Shelter-at-Home successful for you and your foster pet!

Learn More:

Types of Foster Parents We Need
Your Commitment
Supplies & Support We Provide
Basic Rules
Benefits
Contact Information

The Santa Barbara Humane Society is looking for Foster Parents who are committed to helping our adoption animals thrive. You can be a hero by opening your home to a dog or cat in need and supporting them with loving care and comfort in a home setting!

Based on your previous experience fostering or owning a pet, we will do everything we can to match you up with the right foster animal for you.

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Types of Shelter-at-Home Foster Parents We Need:

  • Decompression Foster Parents to provide a calm, distraction-free environment for one of our adoption dogs that has been in a long-term kenneling environment. The limit for this foster period is typically 90 days or less, but may be extended dependent upon the circumstances.
  • Evening or Weekend Foster Parents, when just a short break from the kennel setting is helpful to provide that additional comfort and care while one of our adoption dog awaits a forever home.
  • Basic Training Foster Parents to help a dog maintain basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “down,” plus crate and house-training.
  • Intermediate Training Foster Parents to provide more advanced training to counteract issues including leash reactivity, resource guarding, fear, shyness, and dog-reactivity. This level of intermediate training foster should only be a one-dog household, unless otherwise approved by our Canine Behaviorist, based on the temperament and behavior of the current dog in your household.

We are looking for Foster Parents who can provide essential care, consistency, and as-needed training that prepare our adoption animals for a successful placement in their forever home.

We ask that our Foster Parents promote their foster animal with friends, family, and the community through these Foster Parent Commitments:

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Foster Parent Commitments

  • Allow us to visit your property and check for fencing and other safeguards to allow the dog to roam free on your property without the ability to easily escape.
  • Provide a safe, clean, and caring environment, with access to indoors regularly, as you would 
for your own pet.
  • The time commitment for fostering could be up to 3 months (or longer), depending on the adoption animal.
  • Provide basic home-living skills and good canine citizenship training as needed, with support from Santa Barbara Humane Society personnel and volunteers.
  • Keep the animal safe from hazards (for less socialized dogs, this may mean temporarily separating the dog from other animals in the house and always crating the dog when supervision is not available).
  • Never leave a foster dog unsupervised with children!
  • Help make the dog more adoptable through basic grooming, walking on a leash, discouraging jumping, accepting strangers in a calm and friendly 
manner, and providing exposure to new sights, sounds, and experiences to build confidence.
  • Transport your foster animal to see our Staff Veterinarian for scheduled visits (if needed) and to adoption events, and to the Santa Barbara Humane Society to meet a potential adopter.
  • Provide us with photographs and / or videos of your foster animal in everyday situations for us to upload using our social media outlets.
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Supplies & Support We Provide

  • Veterinary care
  • Special prescription diet food if required
  • Support for any questions or concerns you may have
  • Exposure for our foster animals through our social media streams on Facebook and Instagram, and Petfinder or other pet adoption websites
  • Collar, leash, ID tag, license, and harness or training collar
  • Crate, blanket, food
  • One-on-one sessions with our trainer to deal with challenges as needed
  • “Adopt Me” vest or apron for foster dogs
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Basic Foster Rules

  • No dog parks and no off-leash walking
  • Create proper dog-to-dog greetings (no nose-to-nose greetings with unknown dogs)
  • Unless it is a special case, always crate your foster dog when you are not at home or if your foster dog is with someone they do not know
  • Let the Santa Barbara Humane Society staff know as early as possible if you’re going away so we may arrange care for your foster animal
  • Slowly introduce other family members, including your own pets. The Santa Barbara Humane Society staff can assist you with this (this can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks to fully integrate)
  • Contact the Foster Coordinator biweekly by phone or email with updates about behavior, appetite, and general health.
  • Return all items provided for the purpose of fostering at the end of the foster period.
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Benefits

The Real Perks of Fostering through the Santa Barbara Humane Society’s Shelter-at Home Program:

  • Free training for you and the dog you foster
  • You will help build a community of warm-hearted, committed advocates and animal-lovers
  • Add a dog to your home without the financial or long-term commitment and be able to provide loving, supportive care for our adoption dogs until they find their forever home

Fostering a pet is truly an incredible experience. It provides you with the opportunity to learn more about life, courage, empathy, trust, and kindness. By opening your home to a foster animal, you also open your heart and mind as you learn and grow together.

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Foster Parent through the Santa Barbara Humane Society’s Shelter-at-Home Program.

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Contact Information

For more information on our Shelter-at-Home Program, please contact one of our foster coordinators at (805) 964-4777, Monday-Saturday between 10 am and 4pm.

We look forward to working with you!

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Foster Application

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Coca's Story

Coca was over 13 years old when she became the first foster dog at the Santa Barbara Humane Society.   Her foster Mom ultimately adopted Coca and she lived the rest of her years with the love and devotion of her forever family.  It was that foster “experiment” with Coca that helped pave the way for a formal program at the Humane Society.  The program has been appropriately named “Coca’s Companions.”

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