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Fosters are volunteer families that provide temporary shelter in their homes for an animal and care for their daily needs until the animal is adopted. Foster families offer a safe and nurturing environment within their home for their foster animal by meeting the animal’s physical and mental requirements. Providing TLC, training, socialization, and ensuring the animal is healthy and happy are the goals of a foster family.


Fostering is essentially like having an animal to care for without the long-term commitment of adoption and all the costs that come with personally owning a pet. Did we mention it is also extremely rewarding? Nothing feels better than knowing you saved a life through fostering.

Our foster families are the pivotal bridge between intake and adoption, and we can only save as many lives as we have foster homes available. We are always in need of foster homes!


Fostering shouldn’t be a burden; it should be a rewarding experience. Joining our foster program comes with benefits to ensure fostering is a breeze.


You get: 

*To choose what type of animal(s) to foster

*Supply starter kit and supply assistance

*100% veterinarian coverage

*Behavior and health disclosures

*Foster care handbooks and handouts

*Foster certifications

*Direct round-the-clock support and guidance from our team

*Partner vets in Chicago and Northern Suburbs

*Professional training and behavioral support


Cat foster kit: collar, ID tag, carrier, litter, litter box, scooper, food, bowls, toys and scratching post (as needed)

Dog foster kit: collar/harness, ID tag, leash, food, bowls, crate, and toys (as needed) 

All animals entering our foster program are evaluated for temperament/personality, sociability, behavioral issues, and health concerns before intake, and regularly checked up on throughout their time in our foster program.

We highly emphasize matching the family to the animal to make certain fostering is a positive experience. We understand that everyone has their own preferences and lifestyle, therefore, we carefully match the foster animal to the home and family, ensuring a harmonious experience.


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Des Plaines

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1. Complete and submit our online foster application.

2. Your application will be processed in the order received.

3. Our team may contact you for a phone interview, proceed to do reference calls, and conduct either an in-person or virtual home check. Additional steps may be taken as part of the screening process if there are resident pets in the home.

5. If you are a good fit, you will be asked to complete online certification courses and sign our Foster Volunteer Agreement.

6. A foster placement will be coordinated with you. Thank you for joining the High Tails family!

Click HERE for our foster disclaimer.

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Photo of cat

To be considered to foster, all fosters must:

*Be 18+ years old

*Live in Illinois and an average of one hour from our partner vets

*Complete and submit our foster application

*Agree to have a phone interview, have references called, and have a home check

*Have a valid ID with name and current address

*Sign Foster Volunteer Agreements

*Complete all online courses

*All resident pets in the home must be up-to-date on vaccines and spayed/neutered 

*Have renters or homeowners insurance

*Renters must provide a copy of the pet policy from their landlord or management

*Willing and able to provide personal transportation when needed

  • Where are foster families primarily located?
    Our fosters are, at most, one hour away from our partner vets.
  • How long would I foster for?
    We aim to have committed fosters that can house an animal until adoption (no matter the length of time) or per the specific needs of the individual animal. Since we are foster-based, we rely on families to house animals as we do not have a physical shelter. The amount of total animals fostered is up to the foster family to decide, there is no minimum requirement.
  • How does my foster animal receive veterinary care?
    We will coordinate veterinarian appointments with you for your foster animal. We ask all foster families to provide transportation of their foster animal to appointments with our partner vets. We always try to schedule vet appointments with a partner vet closest to your home. Please note, however, that veterinary care and the number of trips to the vet can vary depending on the individual needs of the animal. The standard care all our dogs and cats receive are: age-appropriate and state-required vaccines, spay/neuter, microchip, FIV/FeLV or Heartworm test, dewormer, flea and tick prevention, and a wellness exam.
  • If you are foster-based, how do I receive supplies and how much will I get?
    We will either coordinate supply pick ups/drop offs and or ship supplies to your home. Foster kits and supply assistance can vary depending on the individual needs of the foster family, the foster animal, and the amount of donations the rescue receives. We always provide foster families with free supplies.
  • What type of dog or cat do you have available for foster?
    We are not a breed or age-specific rescue, therefore, the specific type of animal available to foster varies. Please note we can only intake a dog or cat into the rescue if we have an available foster home, so we are always in need of fosters! The general animals available to foster are: kittens, puppies, adult cats, adult dogs, senior cats, senior dogs, special needs cats (FIV+), and special needs dogs.
  • When do foster animals get adopted?
    We cannot guarantee when a foster animal will get adopted. We post our animals on social media and adoptable pet platforms, and we host meet and greet events so our animals can get adopted as quickly and efficiently as possible. We encourage foster families to share their fosters online as well.
  • I never fostered before, can I still foster?
    Yes, we welcome both first-time and experienced fosters! Our team works with all our fosters to ensure they thoroughly understand what fostering entails and we provide support throughout the entire process. We also have Feline and Canine Foster Handbooks and additional handouts that outline foster expectations as well as helpful tips, tricks, and general pet care information that our foster families are given so they always have a reliable resource on hand.
  • Can I adopt my foster?
    We are more than happy to discuss adoption with our foster families if they are interested in adopting their foster.
  • How do I ensure my foster will get along with my personal pets and adjust well to living in my home?
    We take safety seriously and we work diligently to ensure resident pet's and foster animals get along. Introductions are handled on a case-by-case basis and our team of professionals will work with each foster family individually on how to safely introduce a personal pet to a foster animal, and how to integrate their foster animal into the home. We may request to meet and evaluate your personal pet as part of the screening process (this typically occurs for dogs). Some families choose to not fully integrate their foster animal into their home and instead have a designated foster room. Usually this occurs for cats, and that is okay as well.
  • Can I apply to foster with the intention to adopt?
    A “foster-to-adopt” is when a family has the intention of adopting their foster animal but is fostering until the pet is ready to be adopted. Foster-to-adopt's primarily occur when an animal, specifically kittens and puppies, are not fully vetted yet but can be transitioned from the foster home to their new adoptive home. Since we do not have a physical shelter to house animals, we rely on foster families to help us rescue dogs and cats. We welcome individuals to apply to foster with us with the intention to adopt.
  • How do prospective adopters meet my foster animal(s)?
    The safety and privacy of our foster families is of utmost priority. We work with all our fosters to coordinate meet and greets whether it is in-home or at an alternate location depending on the comfort level of our fosters. We do prefer in-home meet and greets as an animal will most likely act like their true selves in a familiar environment, but we always respect the concerns and wishes of our foster families.
  • Is your foster application binding?
    No! All of our applications are NOT binding in any way. Our applications are a way for you to express interest and to assist our team with matching families with pets.


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