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.

Special Needs Foster Families:

We are always looking for special needs foster families.  SFAR takes in bully breeds, bonded pairs, pets with medical needs and animals that need to be the only pet in the household.  Please consider applying to foster one of these animals.  

Lucky and Hershey

Bonded Pairs

Bonded pairs are twice the fun! When we get a request to take in a bonded pair, separating them is nonnegotiable for us. Two animals equal twice the love!  Lucky and Hershey are a bonded pair we rescued last summer.  Thanks to their adoptive mom they are now living their best life.  Please visit our foster page to see other bonded pairs that need homes.


Bully Breeds

Bully breeds have a stigma attached to them but these ideas are out of date and not accurate. Pit bulls make excellent pets! They are no different than any other dog! Pictured is Vermouth.  He is one of our bullies in foster care.  We saved him at the 11th hour when he was scheduled to be euthanized.  Pit bulls and pit bull mixes make up an extremely large population of our shelter animals.  They need you!  Bullies have so much love to give!  Apply to foster a bully today.


Single Pet Households

SFAR takes in dogs and cats that may not be able to cohabitate with other animals. Some animals prefer to be the only pet in the home. That's ok!  Every animal is an individual and has individual needs.  If you currently have no pets in your home and have been on the fence about getting a pet; then fostering is the perfect situation for you! Fostering is temporary and gives you a chance to see what living with a pet is like, without a permanent commitment.  Pictured is Ryder.  Ryder needed a home where he would be an only pet.  He is now thriving in his new home as the man of the house!


Medical Fosters

Medical fosters are a rare jewel! We need you! Taking in a dog with medical problems can be hard work but the reward is worth the extra work! These animals are so grateful to have a safe place to recover!  Pictured is Churchill.  Churchill is suffering from an unknown neurologic condition which is causing his back end to fail.  We are currently looking for a foster for him.  Please apply to foster Churchill today.

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.

Have a new best friend with your senior pet


Since many senior pets have already lived in a home, they are already socialized and ready to bond with a human companion. That means they are already craving your time, love, pets, and snuggles. Socialized pets often do better with families with children too. That means when you bring your senior home you can get right into being one big happy family.  In other cases your foster pet may be under socialized.  Often times shelter pets have not gotten the proper care and attention that an animal needs.  In these situations you must be ready to provide them with lots of patience.

You'll be a hero

When you foster a senior pet or special needs animal, you are giving a deserving pet a second chance at a happy life with a loving family. Senior cats and dogs have a lot of love left to give their new family, and will show their gratitude with love and affection. Not only will you be saving a senior pet in need, but you’ll be freeing up space in a shelter for another pet ready to find a new home.


Older Pets Often Come With Fewer Surprises

Senior pets in the shelter often come from another home, but have found themselves searching for a new one through no fault of their own. Their family may have hit a rough time and no longer are able to provide for them. In some cases, SFAR is able to gather information about how the pet was in the home to find a good match for that pet. People surrendering their pets may be able to provide information about whether the pet was good with kids, if they enjoyed the company of other animals, what the pet’s energy level was like, and more. With this information in mind, our foster coordinators work with you to determine if your lifestyle and family are a good fit for the new pet coming into your home.


Journey to Becoming A Foster Parent

1.) Sign Up

The process begins with filling out a foster application

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.

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.

5.) Home Visit

Making sure your home is the right fit 

This is when a  Foster Coordinator will come to your home, meet all residents (both human and animal), continue the conversation about fostering and answer any remaining questions you may have.

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.

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 the 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!

Supplies for Your Foster Animal

When you are caring for an SFAR foster animal this is what we provide

pet supplies copy.png


  1. Food

  2. leash/collar/harness

  3. bowls

  4. crate

  5. toys

  6. blankets

  7. treats

  8. puppy pads

Doggie Handshake


We have a  network of trainers who are always willing to help assist our fosters in learning and working with their foster animals​.

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.

At the Vet

Vet Care

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

Walking Dogs

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!


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.  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.

Animals listed here that are available for foster or adoption will have a link to a foster application and an adoption application.  If you are interested in learning about our adoption process please click here.

churchill 3.jpeg


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.