Thank you for your interest in volunteering for the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter’s Foster Program! Our mission is to care for, protect and find quality homes for abandoned and neglected animals, aid in the reduction of pet overpopulation, and provide community education for the mutual benefit of animals and people. As a foster, you will free up space at the shelter (saving many lives), give animals a respite from the shelter, and ultimately a better chance at finding their forever home!
Steps to Become a Foster:
1. Complete this application
2. Review and sign the Foster Policy
3. Review and sign the Agreement and General Release Form
4. Look for a welcome email within 72 hours, then follow the steps to pick up a foster pet!
If you have any questions, please contact our team at
. Thank you! We look forward to working with you!
Do you have a specific pet in mind? If so, please list its name and/or animal ID below
Foster Policy & Requirements
Picking a foster animal: Our foster office is generally open Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm for walk-ins, and other days and times by appointment. Most pets at our shelter are available for foster, but if you have questions about a specific pet’s availability, email
or call 512.805.2603. We are most in need of fosters for adult dogs and cats and neonatal (young) kittens.
Transition timeline: Foster animals must be kept for a minimum of 3 days unless an adoption or an emergency occurs. For the safety and health of your resident pets and your new foster, your foster must be kept separated from other animals for at least 3 days.
You may foster a pet for as little as one weekend or as long as 4 months. We appreciate when fosters can keep their foster pet until we find an adopter, but we understand that each foster has a different schedule, and emergencies happen. We are here for you if you need to return the pet.
Medical care: Basic medical care at our shelter for foster pets is free, but we cannot pay for outside vet expenses unless there is an emergency, and it is authorized by the foster coordinator. SMRAS is not responsible for veterinary care for your personal pet(s). We recommend keeping your foster pet separated from your resident pet(s) for a minimum of 3 days to avoid disease exposure.
Ownership: Your foster pet remains the legal property of the City of San Marcos. You may not keep, transfer, or rehome the pet without following SMRAS procedures. We reserve the right to remove the pet from your care at any time if we are concerned for its health or safety.
• The primary foster caretaker must be 18 years or older.
• The foster family must live within one hour of the shelter and have reliable transportation in case of emergencies and adopter meet-and-greets.
• You must be able to safely house the foster pet completely separate from other pets in the house (e.g. an extra room, a crate): for the first 3 days; when unsupervised; and when sick.
• Cats/kittens are indoor-only fosters.; sick foster pets must be quarantined from your pets for the duration of the foster; all foster pets must be kept completely separate from owned pets for at least 3 days.
• You must care for the foster pet as if it’s your own, keeping it in a climate-controlled area and providing fresh food and water daily.
Please do not leave foster animals unattended outside.
When foster dogs are outside, they must be leashed or contained by a yard; do not tether.
Dogs may not be walked on flexi-leashes or other retractable leashes.
No aversive training techniques or tools may be used on foster pets (no prong / pinch / choke / chain / electronic collars, physical reprimands including alpha rolls, spanking, etc.).
Foster dogs are not permitted at dog parks or other areas where dogs are not confined/leashed.
Any signs of potential illness (changes in behavior, eating, drinking, or other signs) or aggressive behavior (bites of any kind, scratches, bruises, or dog-dog interaction resulting in injury) must be reported immediately to staff by emailing
Foster parents must respond within 24 hours to communications from shelter staff, foster team members, or potential adopters.
Adoption promotion and finalization: A foster should strive to get the animal adopted, through their own promotions and by following up, within 24 hours, on interested adopter contact information provided by the shelter. The foster should assess compatibility; if the animal and interested adopter seem like a good fit, 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. Potential adopter sleepovers are not permitted. If you need assistance with dog introductions, please contact us and plan to meet the adopter at the shelter for our staff to help! Next, contact the foster coordinator (or other available staff) to relay crucial information and to set up a time for the adopter to finalize the adoption according to SMRAS procedures.
Foster adoptions: All foster pets are eligible to be adopted while in foster care. Fosters cannot 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 foster coordinator (or other available staff) as soon as possible.
I have read and acknowledge the foster policy and requirements.
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