In order to continue serving and saving Minnesota lives, we need your help.  Foster homes are the most crucial volunteer roles within our organization. Fill out the application.

Are you interested in fostering but have questions? You came to the right place! Below are  numerous frequently asked questions about our fostering process. If you have additional questions after reading this information, please email them to

What is the time commitment to foster an animal?

The time commitment to foster depends on the animal.  All animals must be spay/neutered, and receive age appropriate vaccinations before adoption.  Kittens/puppies must be at least 8 weeks and 2 lbs before they can be spay/neutered. Below is a timetable with estimations of length of stay. It is important to note that you these times are an estimation.  CSHS does not guarantee that we are able to stick firmly to these timeline


Sick / Injured Cats 1 week-2 months 2-3 hours

Weaned Puppies 1-3 weeks 3-6 hours

Sick / Injured Dogs 1 week-2 months 2-3 hours

Neonate Puppies/Kitties 6-8 weeks 8 hours

Mom with Puppies/Kitties 6-8 weeks 3 hours

What is the physical commitment to foster an animal?

Again, it truly depends on the animal.  If you have a very active foster pet, you may need to spend more time expending their energy with walks, runs, etc.  If you pick a senior/low energy pet, the physical commitment may be less.

What is the driving commitment when fostering an animal?

All foster homes are expected to bring their animal to and from vetting appointments.  We do our best to have veterinary partners located outside of the south metro. We do have a small transport team that may be able to assist when there are extenuating circumstances but this cannot be guaranteed. If transport cannot be found, you will be responsible for getting your animal to their vetting appointments.  If you believe your vet or a vet you know might be able to assist with rescue based discounts, please alert the foster coordinator.

Where are the animals coming from that need a foster?

CSHS is committed to serving and saving Minnesota animals.  Our animal intake teams focus on pulling animals from local impounds and American Indian Reservations who are at risk of euthanasia.  We do not focus on owner surrenders.  CSHS has a surrender prevention team that works with individuals looking to surrender.

Where do I find animals in need of foster placement?

All animals available for foster placement will be posted to the main CSHS Facebook page.  In order to keep information in one place we only be posting to the main CSHS Facebook page unless an emergency situation warrants an email or phone call.  

How do I choose my foster animal?

If you have found an animal that you are interested in fostering (from the CSHS Facebook page), have spoken with your family and understand the commitment, please comment on the animal’s photo stating “I can foster.” Once you have agreed to take the animal, you are expected to take the animal.  We do not have a shelter where animals can stay if you decide to change your mind and cannot guarantee that another foster family is readily available. If you back out of your foster commitment, you may no longer be able to foster.

Can I meet an animal before committing to fostering?

Most animals in impound are available for a meet/greet before committing to fostering but only with the supervision of a CSHS staff member.  We provide all information we have on the animal when posting for foster placement. We cannot guarantee that the behavior posted or noted will be the behavior the animal has in your home.  You are welcome to post any questions you might have about the animal.  We cannot guarantee that we will have any additional information.

How do I pick up my foster animal?

Once you have agreed to take a foster animal, the intake coordinator(s) will reach out to you via email and let you know when the animal will arrive at the CSHS Adoption and Wellness Center (AWC) in Chaska.  Most animals arrive the next day or over the weekend. Animals must be picked up from the AWC on the day of their arrival. Per our conditional use permit with the City of Chaska, dogs cannot remain housed on site overnight.  We also have a limited capacity for cats at the AWC. Since you are agreeing to foster the animal that we will pull from an impound or Reservation it is crucial you are able to pick them up when they arrive at the AWC.

How do I prepare my home for my foster animal?

Before you bring your foster(s) home make sure that you have a suitable place for them to stay.  A bathroom often works well for young puppies/kittens..  Here are some other ways to prep your space!

  • A temperature controlled space

  • Easily cleanable

  • Separate from other household pets

  • Can withstand messes: spilled water or food, vomit, urine, feces, etc.

  • No breakable items

  • No small items

Do I need to buy any supplies for my foster animal?

Everything you will need to care for your foster will be provided free of charge.  This includes bowls, leashes, collars, food, litter, toys, crates, and travel carriers.  You are welcome to buy your foster animal food, treats, or toys however CSHS will not reimburse for those purchases.

May I introduce my foster animal to resident animals the day they arrive?

We recommend that you do NOT introduce your resident animals with foster animals on the day they arrive.  Animals who are coming out of impounds often have lengthy car rides, are stressed from the shelter, and have minimal vetting.  It is best for you, your resident animal(s), and your foster animal to give them decompression time before introductions. Please speak to your foster coordinator before introducing adult dogs/cats as adult dogs/cats can take up to two weeks to acclimate to a new home.

What kind of veterinary care will my foster animal have before it arrives?

It depends! Some animals come into our care what we consider “fully vetted”.  This means they have age appropriate vaccinations, microchip, and are altered (spayed/neutered).  Some animals have not seen a veterinarian yet. Upon intake, your animal will go home with flea/tick preventative, vaccinations if of age (does not include the rabies vaccine which must be administered by a veterinary office), and a microchip.  You will receive information from the vetting coordinator via email with next steps in the vetting process.

Who do I call to schedule veterinary care?

Because CSHS is primarily a volunteer run organization, we cannot guarantee that the vetting coordinator will be able to take a call anytime of the day.  We ask that you email all questions regarding your foster animal(s) health/veterinary needs to the vetting coordinator. The vetting coordinator will work with our veterinary partners to get your foster animal seen as soon as possible.  You will be able to schedule the appointment yourself once the vetting coordinator authorizes our veterinary partner to treat your animal. Our veterinary partners will NOT see your animal without authorization from our vetting coordinator.  If your animal is unresponsive or bleeding profusely, please head to the nearest Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Clinic and then call Kelly Simer at 320-279-9000.

When is my foster animal available for adoption?

Foster animals are available for adoption one week before their final vetting appointment.  The animal will be posted to Facebook, the CSHS website, and numerous animal adoption platforms.  Animals must remain in the care of the foster home until the Adoption Coordinator states the animal is approved to leave the foster’s care.  Under no circumstances may a CSHS animal move without permission from the Adoption Coordinator.

How long will it take for my foster animal to be adopted?

The time it takes for your foster animal to be adopted depends on the animal.  Kittens/puppies tend to get adopted quickly. Animals with special/medical needs, behavior concerns, or other quirks may take longer to be adopted.  We strongly encourage all foster homes to share information on their foster animals with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and on all social media platforms.  Animals who are posted about regularly are adopted quicker than animals just posted on the CSHS website. We need our foster’s help in order to get the animals adopted quickly.

Am I required to go to adoption events?

Cat and dog fosters are required to attend one adoption event per month.  Cat adoptions occur at the CSHS Adoption and Wellness Center every Saturday and cat fosters are highly encouraged to attend.  Cat fosters do not need to remain on site during the adoption hours.  However, if your cat has an interested party, we will not hold on to them until you return.  Adoptions will occur without the foster present.

Dog fosters are required to attend one adoption event per month.  Dog adoptions occur around the metro! We often go to breweries, craft events, PetSmarts, etc.  You will receive access to our adoption day calendar once you have a foster dog in your home.

What if I can’t make it to adoption events?

CSHS adoption events will be scattered on weekdays/weekends.  If you absolutely cannot attend any of these events please contact the Foster Concierge to discuss alternatives.  We expect our foster families to post their animal on social media platforms and bring them to adoption events.  

How does the adoption process work?

CSHS follows the Humane Society of the United State’s approach to adoptions called “Adopters Welcome”.  Follow the link at the bottom of this post to learn more! We consider applications in the order in which they are received.  We do not move on to other applications unless the first applicant decides not to proceed or is not the appropriate fit for that animal.  An Adoption Advocate or Coordinator will reach out to the applicant and have a conversation-based interview with them about what they are looking for in an animal and answer any preliminary questions.  Once this occurs, applications and notes from the interview will be sent to the foster family. Foster families are expected to reach out to applicants via email within 24 hours. The foster should speak with the adopter on the phone or via email to answer any questions the adopter may have.  If the foster agrees it is a good match, the foster should set up a day and time for a meet and greet between potential adopter and animal. Once the meeting is scheduled the foster emails the Adoption Advocate or Coordinator with the information. Since all of our adoptions are completed via smartphone, the Adoption Advocate or Coordinator will send a link to the adopter’s smartphone to fill out the CSHS adoption contract and also how to make the payment.  We do not accept cash or checks. Once the contract/payment have been received, your foster animal is free to go to their new home!

Do I have to do the meet and greet at the potential adopter’s home?

No, we do not require that animals are brought over to the applicants home.  We do not require home visits, all members of the family to meet the animal, or animal to animal introductions before adoption.  

What if I don’t think the potential adopter is the right fit?

If you do not feel the potential adopter is the right fit let the potential adopter know that you need time to discuss with CSHS before the adoption can be complete.  Do not tell the potential adopter you do not think they are a good fit. Contact the Adoption Coordinator or Advocate with your concerns.

Am I allowed to stay in contact with the adopter?

Absolutely! If the adoptive family is comfortable staying in contact, you are more than welcome and encouraged to share the updates! We love to see how our former animals are doing!

If the adopters have questions about vetting, training, and/or other resources, what should I tell them?

Part of the Adopters Welcome philosophy is connecting adopters to resources that they may need down the road!  If the adopters have questions you should send an email to the Adoption Coordinator or Advocate so they can respond to the adopters questions.  

What do I do with my fostering supplies once the animal is adopted?

Please use a mild bleach solution on all crates, bedding, bowls, and plastic/rubber toys.  If you intend to foster in the near future, you may hold on to all items that were supplied by CSHS.  If you do not intend to foster in the short term, we ask that the items be returned to the AWC. Please see our website for open hours.