COVID-19 FAQs: I want to help

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 20:41
Smiling woman holding a small scruffy dog

I have extra time on my hands. How can I help?
I want to foster. How can I connect with a shelter or rescue group in need of foster homes?
I want to foster but have never done it before. How can I find out if my home is a good place to foster?
I want to foster, but I can only foster certain types of pets.
I want to foster, but I have my own pets. Is that OK?
You want to foster but your partner or roommate isn’t on board.
I am working from home right now and would like to try fostering, but I'm not sure how long I will be working from home.
My local shelter is still open, but is it safe for me to volunteer there?
My local shelter is closed to the public. Are there other ways I can help besides physically going to my shelter?
I have pet food and supplies I would like to donate. Where can I take these items?
Is there a list of shelters or rescue groups in my area who need help?
Can I still visit the Sanctuary and volunteer?

I have extra time on my hands. How can I help?

Animal welfare experts anticipate that communities will experience a surge in the number of pets entering shelters as the spread of COVID-19 affects the health and safety of pet owners, shelter staff, volunteers, animal control officers and other animal welfare professionals. If you find that you can provide short-term care for a homeless pet (perhaps if you are newly working from home), fostering a pet can be a great way to support your community and help save lives. A little fun, four-legged company can also be a welcome distraction. 

Find a shelter in your area

Find a Best Friends Network partner

Visit 911fosterpets.com to search for local pets needing help.

You should also join our national 2025 Action Team . This will help you connect with others in your area stay up to date with how you can help people and pets during this difficult time. If you’re healthy and looking to support your community, check out our Kindness Card and guide on how to organize your neighborhood.

I want to foster. How can I connect with a shelter or rescue group in need of foster homes?

Thank you for your interest in fostering! Now, more than ever, communities need individuals like yourself who are willing to share their home with an animal in need.

Find a shelter in your area

Find a Best Friends Network partner

Visit 911fosterpets.com to search for local pets needing help.

I want to foster but have never done it before. How can I find out if my home is a good place to foster?

Fostering is easier than you may think. Almost every home can be a foster home. Best Friends and most shelter partners provide all the training, information and supplies needed to get started. Read through this helpful set of questions. Still not sure? Contact Best Friends or your local shelter with specific questions or concerns.

Click here to find a shelter in your area.

Find a Best Friends Network partner.

Visit 911fosterpets.com to search for local pets needing help.

I want to foster, but I can only foster certain types of pets.

All kinds of animals need fostering, so chances are there’s a good fit for your household. Best Friends and your local shelter can help you find the right match. Contact Best Friends or your local shelter with your specific questions and concerns.

Pet fostering Q&A

Click here to find a shelter in your area.

Find a Best Friends Network partner.

Visit 911fosterpets.com to search for local pets needing help.

Caring for orphaned newborn puppies: Basic care, feeding and disease prevention

Bottle-feeding kittens

I want to foster, but I have my own pets. Is that OK?

Many people who foster pets do so because of their love for animals, and that means they usually have their own pets at home. Here are some tips for Keeping your pets safe when you foster.

You want to foster but your partner or roommate isn’t on board.

Fostering can seem complicated, and it’s understandable that other people in your household may be hesitant. We’re here to provide as much information as possible to help your family make an informed decision. Here are some helpful answers about fostering homeless pets.

Still not sure? Contact Best Friends or your local shelter with specific questions or concerns.

Click here to find a shelter in your area.

Find a Best Friends Network partner.

I am working from home right now and would like to try fostering, but I'm not sure how long I will be working from home.

Even short-term fostering helps shelters and homeless pets. Whether you’ll be home for a few days a few weeks or a few months, you can help by fostering pets.

Click here to find a shelter in your area.

Find a Best Friends Network partner.

My local shelter is still open, but is it safe for me to volunteer there?

For trusted sources on up-to-date information for pets and people, we recommend checking the following sites to get the latest safety information:

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

U.S. Department of Agriculture

My local shelter is closed to the public. Are there other ways I can help besides physically going to my shelter?

While it’s important to stay healthy and safe and take appropriate precautions, there are opportunities to come together to help people and pets in your community. Here are some ideas to consider.

If you have neighbors who are self-quarantined, offer to help walk their dog or take pets for routine vet visits. Be sure to read about current guidance from the CDC regarding quarantined individuals.

Utilize local social media channels and groups such as Facebook and Nextdoor to help return lost animals to their homes and address other minor animal-related issues in order to ease the burden on animal control officers and other animal welfare professionals.

You should also join our national 2025 Action Team. This will help you connect with others in your area stay up to date with how you can help people and pets during this difficult time.

I have pet food and supplies I would like to donate. Where can I take these items?

Most likely, your local shelter can use donations and supplies. With situations changing quickly, it’s best to check your local shelter’s website and social media channels or contact them directly before stopping by with a donation. You can also help your local shelters and other animal welfare groups by making a donation online.

Find a shelter in your area using our dashboard tool.

Find a Best Friends Network partner.

Is there a list of shelters or rescue groups in my area who need help?

Find a shelter in your area using our dashboard tool.

Find a Best Friends Network partner.

Can I still visit the Sanctuary and volunteer?

For the first time in our 36-year history, we have made the difficult decision to close our Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, to visitors and volunteers ― to ensure the health of our staff members so that they can keep caring for the animals. We are rolling out disaster response operations to support our staff, our animal welfare partners and pet owners nationwide. And we are planning for the possibility of temporarily closing our lifesaving centers around the country to the public.

Our commitment to our fellow humans, which is as strong as our commitment to the animals, is what’s driving real-time decisions and creative solutions across the country in an effort to keep both people and pets safe. 

Read more in this blog from Julie Castle, chief executive officer for Best Friends Animal Society.


These resources are being frequently updated as more is know about the spread of COVID-19 so check back often. If you have further questions or know of local resources that may be helpful, please reach out to covid@bestfriends.org.