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Foster Caretaker Program

Become a Foster Caretaker!

To date, OC Animal Care’s Foster Caretaker Program has successfully saved the lives of over 3500 animals! The foster program buys time and gives a second chance to young or injured puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats. These animals need special one-on-one attention, which the shelter cannot always provide. They are specially selected by our veterinary staff for their health and temperament and just need a little personal attention and time before they are ready to make their adoption debut!

Foster caretakers care for these animals until they are big enough or well enough to be made available for public adoption. Being a foster caretaker can be a challenging and rewarding experience. By opening up your heart and home, you are giving these animals a second chance. Through their dedication and generosity, foster caretakers directly affect the lives of numerous animals that might not have otherwise had a chance at a successful life.

What Types of Animals are Available for Fostering?

When selecting animals for our foster program, our veterinary staff considers several factors. If an animal meets the required criteria, we may then outreach to our registered foster caretakers seeking placement of the animal. Animals that are currently available for adoption are not candidates for our foster program, as we want to make sure they are at the shelter eager to meet their adoptive family!

Small Puppies and Kittens:

• Is the puppy/kitten under 8 weeks of age?
• Does the puppy/kitten weigh between 1.5 and 2 lbs?
• Can the puppy/kitten eat pet food freely on its own?
• Is the puppy/kitten in good health?
• Does the puppy/kitten have a friendly temperament?

Injured Animals:

• Does the animal have an injury that will heal quickly with rest?
• Has the animal recently undergone surgery to correct a severe injury?
• Is the animal in otherwise good health?
• Does the animal have a friendly temperament?

How Can I Get Started?

  1. Read the Foster Caretaker Manual
  2. Complete the following documents:
  3. Return the completed application and agreements by email, mail or fax to
    • Volunteer Program Coordinator
      OC Animal Care
      1630 Victory Road
      Tustin, CA 92782
      714-796-6427 Phone
      714-259-1084 Fax  
  4. You will be notified once your application has been reviewed

Background Check Policy

All volunteers must complete a comprehensive background check. All of your information is kept confidential, following county policies on document retention and the redaction of private information from files. This is provided by OC Animal Care at no cost to potential volunteers. Any volunteer with the following items in their background check will not be accepted. Eliminating items include but are not limited to:

• Any sex offense
• Any violent felony
• Any crimes against humanity
• Any pending cases (awaiting trial/hearing or adjudication)
• Any felony within the last 10 years. (Further in history is at the discretion of OC Animal Care)
• Misdemeanor offenses in the last 5 years.
• Misdemeanor drug/alcohol offenses.
• Crimes relating to nature of assignment (animal cruelty/neglect/bandonment)

The Rewards of Fostering

“I’ve been fostering for about 10 years all together and I find it extremely heartwarming, especially when a dog comes from the shelter and was totally scared and timid. When you see them open up and learn to love again under your care, there’s nothing better. You get to show them what it’s like to be a normal dog, teach them your routine, and help them find that forever home.” – Jennifer F.H.

“My family and I have been fostering animals with the OC Animal Care program for a number of years. We’ve fostered under age puppies for weeks or months until they can reach an appropriate age for adoption… These little guys bring joy and delight to our entire family while they stay with us. It’s a lot of hard work and it is always sad to see them go, but we are so fortunate to be able to help keep these little guys healthy and alive, socializing them and teaching them a few things to get them ready for their new homes. It truly breathes new life into our home for the time they are living with us. We have specific, fond memories about each one that has stayed with us and we plan on continuing to help save the lives of these little guys by fostering as long as we are able.” – Kristi O.

“I fostered three little kittens that were somewhat scared. My secret to win them over was cooked chicken that’s shredded into little bites, just the right size for little mouths. Kittens can’t resist the smell of chicken and with patience, they came around. Sitting on the floor, holding chicken in my fingers, and requiring they come to me to get it did the trick. Within 4 days of receiving them, they were stomping all over me for chicken. They turned out to be the most loving little guys ever, the best scenario for them to get adopted.” – Sharon F.

“Volunteering as a kitten foster has been one of most rewarding and joyful things I’ve had the honor of doing. When I first pick up a litter of kittens, I always worry that I may not be able to transform them into the friendly, snuggly confident kittens that our prospective adopters will adopt. However, it never fails. The time passes so quickly, and before my eyes all of the kittens begin to grow into playful, funny and affectionate (very adoptable) kittens. The support of the Community Outreach Team, including the veterinary and kennel staff, is awesome. I love being a foster.” – Debbie B.