Short-Term Stays Make a Long-Term Difference.

Sarah Thompson is no ordinary mom – she is a “foster mom” to four puppies, who were abandoned in a parking lot at just 8-days-old. Sick and weak, this litter of puppies was covered in dirt, sores and ulcers. When they arrived to the San Diego Humane Society, the pups were bathed, fed, examined by a veterinarian and provided overnight care while awaiting an open foster home the next day. Thompson began fostering Jeff, Nick, Drew and Justin when they were 9-days-old. By 3-weeks-old, almost all of their sores had healed, and they were steadily gaining weight. Because of 24-hour care from the Foster Program, they developed into healthy pups with loving personalities, and it was not long before they all found new homes.

Foster care 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.

Limited resources at many shelters often preclude the viability of offering extended care to animals. Animals with medical issues can also 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 at life.

The Foster Care Program relies on volunteers to give animals the extra care they need. “Many people assume they wouldn’t qualify to be a foster volunteer, and are surprised when they hear that the San Diego Humane Society provides all necessary training and supplies,” said Thompson.

All foster volunteers attend an orientation and receive everything that they need to get started, including food, bowls, bedding, toys, litter, medication and any veterinary services. Thompson said, “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 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 goal of “Getting to Zero,” 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 learn more about the foster program, visit or email