San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter Foster Program

Click here to become a foster

Hello, and thank you for your interest in becoming a foster with the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter! We have many animals in need of a loving foster home, including our young neonatal kittens and puppies, long stays who need a break from shelter life, and our animals with treatable medical afflictions who need a place to recover. In addition, by opening your home to an otherwise homeless dog or cat (or both!), you are not only providing an animal a chance to find a forever home, you are also opening the door for another animal to be rescued in their place. Your dedication will be fundamental as we move toward a future where no animals are euthanized for space or treatable conditions.

Process to Become a New Foster:

  • Fill out a “Foster Application” by clicking here or on the picture above
  • After submitting your application, please contact our foster team at to inform us that you submitted your application. We will review it as soon as possible!
  • Select a date and time to attend a Pick-A-Foster Orientation, scheduled for Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 p.m. This will be your first opportunity to take home an animal in need!

General Foster Guidelines: 

New Fosters should attend a Pick-a-Foster session to receive important information about the Foster Program. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis or by animal or shelter needs.

Once a foster animal is taken home, fosters must keep that animal for a minimum of five days unless they are adopted or unless an emergency occurs. This is to ensure that an adequate transition can occur, as moving homes is a stressful experience for shelter animals. This five-day minimum requirement also applies to households who might want to return their foster animal, as it takes our Foster team several days to secure a new kennel. We do not recommend introducing foster animals to other pets currently in the home until this five-day threshold is met. 

Fosters are responsible for reaching out to interested adopters and for scheduling meet and greets in a timely manner. Should an interested adopter express interest, their name and contact information will be forwarded to the Foster for that animal by shelter staff, who will then contact the interested adopter within 24 hours to assess compatibility. Should they seem like a good fit for your foster animal, Fosters will then arrange an in-person meet and greet with the animal either in their home, at a neutral but quiet public place, or at the shelter. Afterwards, Fosters will contact the Foster Coordinator to relay crucial information and to setup a time for the adopter to come into the shelter to finalize the adoption.

All foster animals are eligible to be adopted while in foster care. Fosters are not permitted to put “holds” on their foster animals at any time, and must respond to adoption inquiries in a timely manner. If you are interested in adopting, please inform the Program Coordinator as soon as possible. 

Not all animals are eligible to be fostered. Only animals designated as foster-eligible by the shelter’s Program Coordinator, or those with a special “Foster Me!” sticker, are eligible to be taken home. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.