A large foster program is critical to any shelter’s success. Fostering animals creates more space in the shelter for other dogs and cats. Animals who get to go to foster homes get a break from the shelter and their time in foster can increase their adoptability. Fostering is an incredibly rewarding experience and we highly recommend giving it a try, even if just for a month or two.

The Yakima Humane Society provides care for thousands of animals each year, some of which require time in foster care before they are ready to be adopted. Fostering a homeless pet is both a rewarding and enriching experience; it is also great for families or individuals who love animals but cannot commit to having a full-time companion animal.

For more information about being a foster or if you have any questions, please call 509-457-6854 or email [email protected].

Apply to Foster

Foster an Animal in Yakima
Animals That Can Be Fostered

Animals That Can Be Fostered Include:

  • Pregnant and/or nursing
  • Underage / Unweaned (bottle fed babies)
  • Sick and Injured
  • Underweight
  • Un-socialized / Feral

Benefits Of Fostering:

  • Help end animal cruelty and find homes for animals
  • Work in a partnership with other pet enthusiasts
  • Increasing knowledge of animal behaviors
  • Yearly appreciation events
Benefits Of Fostering
Responsibilities As A Foster

Responsibilities As A Foster:

  • Provide basic needs and appropriate care for animals
  • Assist with the mental and physical growth of an animal
  • Teach an animal basic commands and how to be a loving and well behaved pet
  • Follow the guidelines of the YHS Foster Program

Requirements To Foster:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Submit a Foster Application
Requirements To Foster

Foster of the Month!


Frequently Asked Questions

The Yakima Humane Society provides care for thousands of animals each year, some of which require time in foster care before they are ready to be adopted. The foster program allows those to move out of the adoption center and into homes until they are adoptable, which helps open space for the adoption center for more animals. Fostering a homeless pet is both a rewarding and enriching experience; it is also great for families or individuals who love animals but cannot commit to having a full-time companion animal.

The animals that come into our care that need fostering include dogs and cats that are pregnant and/or nursing, underage / unweaned (bottle-fed babies), sick and injured, underweight, and un-socialized / feral. In addition, sometimes animals are otherwise healthy but are stressed in the shelter environment and do better in foster home settings.

Anyone who has time, dedication, willingness, and energy to give the best of care to animals that need additional support in a foster home setting. Foster parents need to be caring, compassionate, willing to learn, and wanting to make a difference in the lives of animals. Foster parents must live in Yakima County.

Foster parents must be 18 years of age or older, need to keep the animals in their homes (must own their homes or have landlord permission), must submit a foster application and be approved, and are responsible for feeding, sheltering, and taking care of basic needs for the animals. Foster parents must be able to teach an animal basic commands as well as how to be a loving and well-behaved pet, assist with mental and physical growth, and follow the guidelines of the YHS Foster Program. Foster parents must also make sure the animals make it to their appointments including spay or neuter, vaccinations, and weigh-ins.  

With foster coordinator approval you can foster multiple of the same littermates, and it is preferred to have at least 2 littermates fostered per foster home.  

The foster coordinator will inform you of the animals that need foster care that will fit your household, and foster preferences as well as the animal’s needs. The foster coordinator will make sure to match the foster home with the best interest of both the animals and foster's needs in mind.

YHS will provide food and supplies for foster animals as well as all approved medical care expenses at our facility. YHS will not reimburse medical expenses and/or supplies that are paid for by the foster family unless there is written, prior authorization by the Yakima Humane Society management. 

Daily time commitment can range from a couple of hours each day to as much as eight hours a day if not more if you are bottle-feeding infant animals. Every situation will have different time period lengths for fostering. The time period length could range from a week to several months depending on the animals’ needs, and the fosters' preference in length of fostering.

No prior medical knowledge is required. However, if your foster animal is sick or injured, you may be provided medication to give to the foster animal following the directions of our veterinarian, or instructions to properly care for medical needs animals. Foster parents will also need to bring the fosters back to the adoption center for weigh-ins, vaccinations, follow-up exams, and take to spay or neuter appointments at the YHS Clinic.

If a foster animal becomes sick, foster parents should contact the Foster Care Coordinator to assess the situation, who will then contact proper YHS medical personnel if needed. All foster medical care must be through the Yakima Humane Society medical personnel. Fosters will have access to a 24-hour emergency phone number for foster parents to utilize in case of emergency with their foster animals. The Yakima Humane Society will not reimburse or pay for vet care by the foster family taking foster animals to their own vet, or to an outside vet unless there is written, prior authorization by the Yakima Humane Society management. 

Yes, but keep in mind that it is always a health risk to expose your animal to other animals even if those animals are healthy. The health risk is minimal if your animals are current on their vaccinations, maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, and are not elderly or very young.

Fostering is a wonderful family experience and can build valuable animal care experiences for children. It’s important to foster an animal that is age-appropriate for your children. You must also be diligent about providing guidance, instructions, and rules to your children about caring for and respecting your foster animal.

Our foster animals already have names. We ask that you do not change the name we have given them as their name corresponds with medical and other important records.

YES! As long as foster parents meet the shelter requirements necessary for adoption, foster parents have the first choice to adopt their foster pet. Paperwork is required and our regular adoption fees usually apply. 

Yes, but any potential adopter will have to fill out and submit an adoption questionnaire on our website, and be approved by YHS staff for adoption. Our regular adoption fees will apply. The animal must remain with fosters until the animal is ready for adoption (an adoption hold fee may be required if not ready, but they want the animal held until they can finalize adoption), spayed or neutered, and the adoption paperwork is finalized. Please contact the foster coordinator if you have a potential adopter in mind.

Photos, and bios are posted on our website and Petfinder that may include valuable information you provide as a foster parent about that animal.

We prefer that foster parents continue to foster until we find a permanent home for their foster animal. It is extremely stressful for an animal to be returned to the shelter environment.

However, we understand that situations change, and it may become necessary to discontinue fostering. We request that a foster parent provide as much notice as possible so that we can find an alternative foster home to transfer the animal to. Of course, in an emergency, a foster parent may always bring their animal back to the shelter, but we ask that you please contact the foster coordinator to let them know about the situation.

If given enough notice, we can usually find volunteers that can foster sit for short durations. We ask that foster parents always keep the Foster Program Coordinator aware of any temporary foster sitting situations.

This is a great opportunity to help animals that may be sick, too young, injured, or unsocialized/timid/stressed. Please fill out a foster application. You can also email [email protected] to express your interest in fostering. Please provide some information about your living situation including why you want to foster, information about you and your family, if you have other animals or children, and contact information for the foster coordinator to contact you. 

Please contact [email protected] with any additional questions. She would be happy to answer any questions you may have about fostering for the Yakima Humane Society. 

Foster Application
Yakima Adoption Center

2405 W Birchfield Rd
Yakima, WA 98901
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Ellensburg Adoption Center

1007 S Industrial Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
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Yakima Spay & Neuter Clinic

106 S 6th Ave
Yakima, WA 98902
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