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Adoptable dog at HRA

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Foster Care at HRA

A robust and generous network of foster homes makes it possible for us to care for more animals with a broad range of specific care needs—from orphaned kittens who need round-the-clock feedings to cats and dogs for whom the shelter environment is too stressful and does not allow them to exhibit their true personalities.

HRA takes in an average of 30 animals per day. The team works around the clock to provide for all of the animals in our care, but our shelter space and resources are limited. Thanks to the work of foster families, we are able to create a virtual shelter in the community for our most vulnerable animals. On any given day our fosters double the number of animals we can rescue and they give an animal the best possible place to wait to find a loving home.

sign up to become a foster parent today


Thinking of Becoming a Foster Parent?

Foster parents fulfill a critical component of our life-saving work. Any individual, family, or business with the compassion and willingness to help animals-in-need can serve as a foster parent. Foster terms can range from a few days or weeks to a month or more, depending on the preferences of the foster parent and the needs of the animal. Foster homes are most needed for:

  • Dogs over 40 lbs who are stressed in the shelter environment
  • Animals who are sick
  • Animals who need behavior training or socialization
  • Animals too shy or timid in the adoption center environment
  • Moms with nursing kittens or puppies
  • Orphaned bottle fed kittens and puppies
  • Animals too young for spay/neuter

HRA's foster department also offers several specialized programs designed to support our most vulnerable animal populations.

  • Safe Haven — working with our Humane Law Enforcement department, foster parents assist survivors of domestic violence by caring for their pet while they make arrangements for a new living situation.
  • Humane Heroes  — supporting our Humane Law Enforcement department, foster parents welcome abused and neglected animals for 30 days.

When Will I Be Matched with A Foster Animal?

We are always looking to welcome new foster families into the HRA network—it’s the best way to expand the number of animals we can save in our community. You don’t need to have previous animal experience to become a foster, just a love of animals and a willingness to learn.  We only place animals in foster homes who need special care before they can be adopted or are having difficulty adjusting to shelter life.  

We most commonly need to place dogs over 40 lbs or adult cats who need medical attention or who find shelter life stressful.  If you are able to provide a temporary home to one of these animals, we will be able to match you quickly.

Have more questions? HRA's director of foster programs, Jennah Billeter, and two new foster parents, Trevor and Nikki, answer your questions about fostering animals, why it's so rewarding, and the amazing community we have with our foster parents.


Sign up to Be a Foster Parent

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent for HRA, please click here to fill out the online form. After you have completed the sign-up form, a volunteer foster case manager or staff member will be in touch with next steps.


For more information review our frequently asked questions page or contact our foster department directly.

Phone: 202-576-6664
Email: [email protected]

Find the perfect Companion