Short-Term Stays Make a Long-Term Difference

Sarah Thompson is no ordinary mom — she’s a San Diego Humane Society “foster mom” to four tiny puppies who were abandoned in a parking lot at just 8 days old.

Sick and weak, this litter of puppies was covered in dirt and their feet, tummies and noses had sores and ulcers. When they arrived to the San Diego Humane Society, the pups were immediately bathed, fed, examined by a veterinarian and provided overnight care while awaiting an open foster home the next day. Sarah Thompson began fostering these three the next day and only three weeks later, their sores had healed and they were steadily gaining weight. As a result of around-the-clock care from our Foster Program, they developed into healthy pups with loving personalities, and it wasn’t long before they all found new homes.

The San Diego Humane Society’s Foster Care Program is a nurturing, rehabilitating and often life-saving service for baby animals, mothers with litters, animals with minor medical needs or other animals in need of extra-special time and attention.

The limited resources at many shelters can also preclude the viability of offering extended care to infant animals, as well as older animals. In addition, those with medical issues also represent animal populations that can be tremendously jeopardized without the additional resources and care that a foster program provides…animals like Rita – a 10-year old Chihuahua suffering from severe seizures. Through foster care she was able to receive critical monitoring and medical care, ultimately providing her a second chance to become the amazing companion she was meant to be.

The Foster Care Program relies on volunteers to give special animals the extra care they need. Individuals in the program go through an orientation and are provided training classes on the animals they will be fostering. Foster volunteers receive all the necessary training, supplies and support needed to care for their foster animals, including food, bowls, bedding, toys, litter, medication and any veterinary services. Being a foster volunteer is a rewarding and fulfilling task, requiring time, education and commitment.

“It’s such a joy to witness their growth and see their different personalities emerge. My family loves being a part of this – we all do,” Foster Mom Thompson tells a pet’s life magazine.

Foster care allows the San Diego Humane Society to impact even more animals by opening up space in the shelter, ultimately helping the organization reach its “Getting to Zero” goal, which is an initiative to save the life of every adoptable animal in San Diego. The number of animals the San Diego Humane Society is able to care for is greatly increased through the Foster Program, thus helping to ensure that San Diego remains one of the very best cities to own and – perhaps most importantly – to be a pet.
To discover the amazing reward of witnessing the “thank you” in the eyes of countless animals first-hand and to find out more about becoming a foster volunteer, please visit or email

Foster video: 

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