Foster Care

We are always looking to add foster families to our team! While we may not have a foster animal available for you right away, having you on our list is so beneficial when new animals enter the shelter who need to be cared for in a home right away. To be eligible to foster with us, you must:

Read the Foster Care Manual

Submit the Foster Profile

We are looking for good people willing to open both their homes and their hearts to help some of our animals in need of extra TLC before being placed for adoption. Some of these animals may simply need a quiet place to recuperate from an injury or illness, some may be mothers nursing their litters and some may just need extra socialization. Pets considered for foster care also include adoptable pets waiting for a permanent home. Above all, they all need a lot of love and support from anyone willing to give it to them!

A foster parent provides a temporary home for one of our animals. The length of stay varies with each animal, as does the reason they are in need of foster care. The care and love received during this short time is vital to the animal’s overall well-being.

All foster parents must be licensed by the Kansas State Department of Animal Health. HHHS will provide all food and supplies necessary, such as crates, bowls, etc. If the animal requires medical attention we will make arrangements with you to make sure the animal’s needs are met.

We are also in need of short-term foster care (2-3 weeks) for puppies and kittens. Some of our animals are in need of a short-term home until they can be transferred to other shelters or rescue groups.

You may be unable to foster in your home, but are willing to help through a financial donation to the HHHS Foster Program. Your contribution will help cover medical expenses, including spaying and neutering and it will assist is in getting the foster pet adopted. We greatly appreciate your support for this program.

Donate Here

If you are interested in becoming a foster family for Helping Hands, or have questions about donating to animals currently in foster care, please contact Darcci Motto, the Dog & Foster Care Coordinator, at 785.233.7325 or by email at

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I have other pets in my home, can I still foster for your program?
    • Yes, you can have other animals in your home and still foster for our organization. They must be current on all of their vaccinations. It is recommended that you quarantine our foster animals away from your other animals for at least 10 days. After that time frame it is a good idea for them to be socialized around other animals in a safe manner.
  2. At this time I don’t believe I can afford another animal. What will be provided to me?
    • We will supply all food, medicine, necessary equipment, toys and bedding, to help make your animal comfortable within your home.
  3. Isn’t it hard to give them back up? What if I fall in love with them?
    • While it is tempting to adopt one of your foster animals, you will be more valuable to the program if you continue to foster animals. Losing even one reduces the resources available to animals in our care. Please think very carefully before requesting to adopt a foster animal. Would you have been interested in adopting if you hadn’t fostered?
  4. If I don’t live in Topeka, can I still foster for your program?
    • Yes! We accept approved fosters that live within a 60 mile radius of the shelter.
  5. What kinds of animals get placed into the foster care program?
    • The majority of our foster animals are kittens and puppies who are too young to go up for adoption. Some of which may need to be bottle fed, which requires a lot of intensive care. Then there are times they will have their mothers with them. However we also foster behavioral and medical cases for both dogs and cats. Then we also provide end of life care for our senior pets, through our Fospice program.
  6. Can I choose what kind of animal I foster?
    • Yes, you can select which kind of animals you foster. We try to match the right animal to your own individual circumstances.
  7. How do I become a foster?
    • The first step is to attend our foster orientation which is every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. here at the shelter. If you decide this is something you want to do the next step is a home visit. A member of the Foster Care Department will visit your home and verify that the living environment meets HHHS standards for foster care.
  8. How long will I have the foster animal?
    • Length of stay varies for each individual animal. Kittens and puppies usually stay for 2-8 weeks. Adult animals vary from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on their needs.
  9. Will HHHS treat my foster animal if it becomes ill?
    • If the animal becomes ill while in your care, HHHS veterinary services will be provided at no cost to you.
  10. How much of my time will fostering take?
    • The specific needs of the animal will determine how much time is involved. Newborn orphaned puppies and kittens, for instance must be fed every couple of hours. A frightened animal that needs socialization or training will also require some extra time. HHHS will match your availability to animals you’ll be best suited to foster.
  11. Am I able to travel while fostering?
    • Yes! Travel, go on vacation and enjoy life! With fostering, there’s no long-term commitment. We are very flexible and try to work with your schedules. In case of emergencies temporary foster homes are available.
  12. What type of support is provided for behavioral issues?
    • Here at HHHS we have a team of behavior specialists that can help you work through behavioral issues when they arise. If it is something that you are uncomfortable with handling, we can always bring back to the shelter or find another foster.
  13. How much space do I need to foster?
    • We recommend keeping kittens in a small area until they have learned to use the litter box. It is best to keep them in an area without carpet for cleaning purposes, but it’s not required. They should also have window for natural sunlight, and it must be heated and air conditioned. Suggested areas include bathrooms, laundry rooms, and spare bed rooms. With dogs it is not required to have a fenced in yard, but is highly recommended.