Become an Animal Foster Parent for Prairie Paws Animal Shelter!


“Being an Animal Foster Parent is such a fulfilling position to be in, you get to be at the forefront of helping an animal through a difficult period in their lives while getting them ready to start their new life,” says Melissa, Reed, Executive Director of Prairie Paws Animal Shelter.  “Our fosters are so thrilled and fulfilled when they find out that an animal they fostered has found a really good home. ”


PPAS depends on many volunteers to help care for the animals that come through our doors each year. One of the most honored volunteer roles is becoming a foster parent for our companion animals. These parents are our satellite heroes. Foster families provide temporary animal housing for a number of reasons: some animals need extra attention because they are very young; others need to learn human interaction skills; and, in some cases, we are simply overflowing at our facility.


Fostering provides safe, loving homes for the temporary care of animals who can be successfully adopted but are not yet ready to move into the adoption process. Many times, young kittens or puppies are just too small for adoption. Other times a scared dog or cat who was stray or abandoned needs to learn to trust humans again before finding their forever homes. Finally, foster homes allow us to care for many more animals than our limited structure would allow each year, giving us the chance to save more animals.


How can you become a Foster? 


Complete our foster application and a brief screening with shelter staff. Animals are placed with successful foster applicants according to their individual requirements and shelter capacity. Some foster situations last only days, others may span several months. It varies for each situation and animal need. All aspects are discussed carefully with you before placement.


Frequently Asked Questions: 

  1. How do you decide who goes to foster? The pets we send to foster are usually the pets in need of some extra time, love, affection, or behavior redirection. They include nursing moms with litters, litters without a mom (both for bottle feeding and/or eating on their own), injured pets who are recovering, dogs going through heartworm treatment, or pets who may be medically or behaviorally fragile. As a general rule, the adoptable pets on the floor aren’t eligible for foster because their chances of getting adopted substantially increase when they are available at the shelter to be viewed. The exception to this would be a dog or cat who is not doing well at the shelter and is in need of a break. This will be at the discretion of the staff. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their observations and suggestions to staff but it will ultimately be a staff decision.

  2. How long does foster care last? Foster care can last anywhere from one night to several months depending on the situation! An average would be about three weeks.

  3. Can I say no if it’s not the right fit? Yes!! We absolutely want you to say no if it isn’t a good fit! It does you, the foster pets, the pets in your home, or the shelter no good at all if the fit is wrong. We don’t want to cause you undue stress.

  4. Who pays for the care and feeding? The shelter will provide all supplies and veterinary care. You need to be willing to bring them back for periodic medical checks or weigh-ins and dispense medications if appropriate and you’re comfortable doing so. Please remember that any supplies you provide can be considered a donation to the shelter and may be tax-deductible. Always check with your accountant.

  5. Can I bring the fosters to my own vet? Yes, but you will be responsible for all costs associated with that visit unless prior authorization has been given. Because we are a nonprofit our resources are very limited and we have to stretch our dollars pretty far. We contract with a local vet who gives our pets quality care at a competitive price and our surgeries are handled by local vet students.

  6. What if I have to leave in the middle of my foster commitment? Life happens! We’ll take the pets you have in foster back into the shelter. We do appreciate as much advance notice as possible so we can be sure to have room for them.

  7. Can I/my friends adopt my foster? Generally, you will have first dibs on adopting your foster. There may, however, be cases in which the pets have been reserved for a special purpose and will not be available for this type of adoption. You will be notified before you take them home if this is the case. Please note that adoptions are processed at the shelter and anyone adopting a foster pet will need to meet the same requirements as for any other adoption. Please do not promise a foster to someone, in rare instances we do need to deny an adoption, which is always difficult for everyone involved. In the case of a denied adoption please remember that our confidentiality clause does not allow us to discuss the details with anyone who is not employed by the shelter.

  8. Why do you have a foster program? Fostering allows us to save more pets!


If interested please contact us at or call 785-242-2967 Ext 1101 or email Cassie at 

Here Are the Next Steps: 

Submit your Dog foster application online: https:/

Submit your Cat foster application online:

Register to Become a Volunteer (Fostering hours need to be tracked through our Volunteer database):

Printable PDF: Foster Application can be found here: Foster Home Application (1)

Printable PDF: Foster Contract can be found here: Revised Foster Home Contract

Prairie Paws Animal Shelter is located at 3173 HWY K 68, Ottawa, KS 66067