Foster Program

Foster homes provide second chances to homeless animals.  Fostering means welcoming an animal into your home for an indeterminate period of time.  They will be a loved and cared-for member of your family until a permanent home is found. Fosters also receive support from SFAR, i.e., we pay for medical care and most supplies you need to take care of the animal as well as 24/7 support and access to your foster coordinator.

Why Is Fostering So Important?

Senior, adult and special needs animals  are often passed over by people looking for younger animals and sadly, often times, the first to be euthanized.  When you choose to foster an older animal you are truly saving a life.


Families take in a pet who would otherwise be in the shelter, thereby freeing up much-needed space for another pet who has no other safe place to go. This saves the life of the pet in foster, and the pet who takes their place at the shelter.


Even at the best-run, best-funded shelters, shelter life increases stress, chance of disease, and can have major effects on a pet’s emotional state and quality of life.  Fostering is better for the pet, the community, and greatly increases a shelter’s capacity. 


Fostering also keeps families together. Our safety net fostering program ensures that owned pets are not permanently separated from their families because of hospitalization, eviction, rehab, or some other short-term crisis. Instead, they are cared for in a foster home until they can be reunited with the people who love them.

Journey to Becoming A Foster Parent

1.) Sign Up

Making sure your home is the right fit 

We appreciate each and every person that applies to be a foster parent. We try to pair every animal with the home we think will be the best fit.  Please allow between 24-72 hours to receive a response.

2.) Connect to a foster coordinator

We'll be with you every step of the way

Once your application has been reviewed, you'll receive an e-mail connecting you to a Foster Coordinator who will walk you through the approval process.

3.) Reference Checks
Vet check and Housing

We'll contact your veterinarian to make sure all of your current pets and previous pets have been kept healthy.  If you are renting we will need to contact your landlord to make sure they allow pets.

4.) Phone Chat

Getting to know you

A Foster Coordinator will call to explain our program to you, answer any questions you may have, and get to know you and your animals (if you have any) in order to help us match you with the correct foster animal.  Sometimes you may find that the animal you applied for isn't the best fit.  In that case we will try to match you with a different animal.

6.) Meet and Greet

Your foster wants to meet all members of your household (including your pets)

We'll arrange a meet and greet with your new foster.  This will be either in your home or in a convenient place for you and your foster coordinator.  We work with multiple animal controls and municipal shelters.  Often times the meet and greet may have to happen at one of these facilities.  If all goes well you can welcome your new foster animal into your home!

When You Are Caring For An SFAR  Foster
This Is What We Provide:

pet supplies copy.png


  1. Food

  2. leash/collar/harness

  3. bowls

  4. crate (if needed)

  5. toys

  6. blankets

  7. treats

  8. puppy pads (if needed)

Puppy at the Vet

Vet Care

All vet appointments, medications, and any necessary medical care is fully covered by SFAR.

Dog Training


We have a network of trainers who are always willing to help assist our fosters with any behavioral issues that arise.

Dog Walking on a Sunny Day

Temporary Coverage

If you ever need to go out of town while caring for a foster animal, all you need to do is contact your Foster Coordinator as soon as your know your travel dates and our team will handle the rest!

White Van


We have a limited transport network to help drive our animals to and from appointments, home visits, events, etc. We know that many of our fosters do not have cars, so we are here to help, when we can, with transportation.

Jack russell dog with glasses as secretary or operator with red old  dial telephone or ret


Your Foster Coordinator is here for you every step of the way and is just one phone call away

Expectations For Foster Families

Image by Mike Meyers


Fosters need to be excellent communicators.  It's vital that fosters keep in contact with their foster coordinator and answer them in a timely manner.

Image by Cytonn Photography

Foster Agreement

Fosters families are expected to sign a foster agreement.  Your foster agreement outlines everything that is expected of a foster family.  Your foster coordinator will go through the agreement with you line by line.  

Image by Markus Winkler


Updates go along with communication.  Regular updates need to be sent about your  foster animal.  Biweekly written updates are expected and/or a biweekly phone call with your foster coordinator.

Black Dog

Medical and Behavioral

It is VITAL that your foster coordinator is made aware immediately of any medical or behavioral problems that arise with your foster pet.  The sooner we know about potential issues the sooner we can address them.

Animals Waiting for foster homes

We recommend doing all applications on a desktop, laptop or tablet.  Not on a mobile device.
Do not fill out a foster application without reading the expectations of becoming a foster parent.

If you are interested in learning about our adoption process please click here.


Dogs Matter 

Temporary Foster Program for People Struggling With Addiction

"Dogs Matter is the only nonprofit organization providing free, temporary foster care placement and supportive services specifically for dogs of addicts and alcoholics seeking substance abuse treatment and transitioning into recovery. Our primary purpose is ensuring the welfare of the dog and their owner — reuniting them once our client has successfully completed treatment and is ready to be a healthy and responsible dog owner again."

Strawberry Fields Animal Rescue has partnered with Dogs Matter and serves as their Chicagoland branch.  If  you  need  to take advantage of this unique program please fill out an application through Dogs Matter.  Dogs Matter will contact us once they receive your temporary surrender application.  You may also use the button at the bottom of the page to be taken to the temporary surrender application and the Dogs Matter website.  You can contact Dogs Matter with additional questions.