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Foster Program

About Our Foster Program

The ARLGP Foster Program places animals in need of individualized care, treatment, or training into the homes of community members who are able to provide a relaxing and comfortable home for the animal to rest and recuperate outside of the shelter. Foster animals vary, as do foster families. From newborn kittens to senior dogs- many animals need a break from the shelter atmosphere and environment.

If you are interested in joining our foster squad, below is a list of questions that you should ask yourself to make sure that fostering is a good fit for you and your family:

  • Are you over the age of 18? 18 is the minimum age to foster. If you are under 18, you may help foster but your parent must be the primary caregiver.
  • Do you live within 1 hour of our campus? In case of emergency, you must be able to return your foster animal to the shelter in a timely manner.
  • Do you have consistent, reliable transportation?
  • Do you own your own home or have permission from your landlord to foster?
  • Do you have health insurance? All ARLGP fosters are required to be covered under their own health insurance policy. There are no exceptions to this.
  • Are you able to foster at least one pet every 4 months?
  • Do you have reliable access to email to obtain foster needs? Email is our primary method of correspondence with our foster homes.

If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, the ARLGP Foster Program may not be the best fit for you. Please feel free to connect with our foster coordinators at foster@arlgp.org to discuss any questions or concerns.

Foster Benefits/Perks

While being a part of progressive lifesaving comes with plenty of rewards, there are many other reasons to become a foster for the ARLGP:

  • Help save the lives of animals in need and help individuals and families find loving companion animals
  • Continuing education opportunities
  • 10% discount on ARLGP merchandise plus access to special discounts throughout the year
  • Lifetime service milestone awards
  • Annual appreciation event
  • Annual exclusive ARLGP volunteer/foster tee
  • Gain valuable experience and skills that transfer to academic pursuits, careers, and other volunteer roles
  • Become part of a network and community of other ARLGP fosters
  • Endless love and adoration from thousands of pets and pet families!


Step 1:  Submit your application! We ask for a one-time $15 application fee to help cover the administrative costs of running our robust foster program. Once the fee is paid, you will receive an automated email containing a link to complete your application. Be sure to check your junk/spam folder!

Step 2: Sign up for a New Foster Orientation Session. Available dates will be listed at the end of your application. These small group sessions will include:

  • Learn more about becoming an Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland foster
  • Review the foster manual and commonly asked questions
  • A walking tour of our facility
  • FAQ’s

Step 3: Join our roster! After your foster orientation, if you feel you are a good fit for our program, you will be placed on our foster notification list to be notified when foster pets are available to welcome.

Foster Program FAQ

What is a foster home?

Our foster families provide shelter animals with temporary homes, before they are available to be adopted into a permanent home. Kittens are our most commonly placed foster animals, but the ARLGP also works with foster families who care for adult cats, small animals, as well as dogs and puppies.

Who needs a foster home?

Thousands of cats come through our doors every year. Over half of them spend time in a foster home before they are able to be adopted into their permanent home. Kittens are young and delicate, and are best suited to grow in a healthy and loving home until they reach an ideal age for adoption. Foster kittens can range in age and needs– from new-born, bottle babies to older “tweeners.” Some foster homes take one or two kittens, other homes take a mother cat and her litter.

As you can expect, fostering kittens is fun and rewarding! Kittens are playful, spirited and entertaining. It’s a win-win for all!

Adult Cats
We often see adult cats who are going through a medical treatment or who are recovering from illness or injury and need a few days or a few weeks in a foster home. Adult cats are usually low-maintenance, but may require daily medicine.

Who doesn’t love puppy time? When puppies arrive at the shelter, we know the best place for them to prepare for adoption is in a foster home. Fosters provide puppies with socialization, enrichment, and a fun and healthy environment for them to grow.

Adult Dogs
Adult dogs at the shelter often just need a night or two of rest and relaxation. Whether it’s a sleepover or a weekend in a cozy home, fostering a dog short-term is mutually beneficial.

Most needed at the ARLGP are long-term, adult dog fosters for seniors, dogs undergoing specialized treatment or training, and dogs who become overwhelmed in the shelter environment.

Small Animals
The ARLGP takes in rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals. Sometimes a foster home is needed if a small animal is undergoing a medical treatment, or if they are overwhelmed in the shelter environment. Small animal fostering is fun and rewarding, and is a great activity for families.

How much time does it take to foster an animal?

Depends on the animal and their needs. We are flexible, and match an appropriate foster animal with the time and level of care that your foster home can provide.

How do I know if I am a good fit to become a foster home?

Our foster families vary. Some fosters are retirees, while others work full-time. The common thread is a love and passion to provide for an animal in need. The ARLGP provides orientation and training, to prepare foster families with all of the tools needed to be a successful foster home.

What about food, pet supplies, and veterinary care?

The ARLGP provides foster homes with the supplies they need to provide care to their foster animals. You will bring your foster animal to the ARLGP for routine exams and check-ups. All medications, food, and supplies will be provided to you by the ARLGP.

Can you foster my personal pet, while I move or find a new home for it?

The ARLGP foster program is for shelter animals only, not owned animals in the community. If you are looking to learn more about admitting a pet to the ARLGP, please call and speak to a member of our intake team at (207) 854-9771.

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