Become a Fospice Parent

Fospice—End-of-Life Hospice Care

FospiceFospice supports shelter animals diagnosed with a life-limiting, non-contagious illness. While these animals are not suffering, their medical condition and poor prognosis prevents the San Francisco SPCA from seeking adoptive homes. Many other shelters would euthanize them.

Are you willing to open your heart to an animal that might only have a few months to live, but we’re not ready to give up on? These animals may need fluids, daily monitoring and that little extra TLC that one can only give in a home environment. To learn more, email foster@sfspca.org. Read our Fospice Manual (1MB PDF).

What It Takes

We need people who are willing to open their hearts and homes to shelter animals with a life-limiting terminal illness. Fospice parents offer homeless animals the opportunity to live out their lives in a loving home.  They need to be able to get the animal to us within 30 minutes, if necessary.  And they need to be comfortable working with us to determine the animal’s quality of life and when the time has come to say goodbye.  We provide food, medications and 24-hour support. This is the chance to give a shelter animal the greatest gift of all—a loving home at the end of its life.

If you’re an animal lover interested in providing love, nourishment and heaps of TLC to animals at their end of life, email foster@sfspca.org with questions. You can download your foster care volunteer paperwork here:

Read more about Foster Parent roles and responsibilities.

Meg Thurlow:

“Participating in the Fospice program has been deeply rewarding. We currently have our second fospice cat and decided to take him a few months after we lost our first one. Admittedly, it was really difficult for us to lose a true member of our family -- in our case, a sweet 17 year old cat named Marni. What makes the fospice program special is that you have a team of staff, veterinarians, and other foster volunteers who also know and love your fospice animal to help you through the process. 

​The fospice program is a safety net for vulnerable elderly and terminally ill animals that have potential to continue living contented lives with the right care. We have always felt that it's especially tough for these older animals in a shelter environment, so the fospice program felt like a natural way for us to help. Our current fospice cat Ivan insists on regular walks by leash in our backyard despite a host of diagnoses. It doesn't feel like volunteering to have Ivan in our home; he is a spunky character who has the run of the house.  While it may be difficult at times, our role in creating a happy ending for Marni and Ivan has really enriched our lives. We've never regretted our involvement in the program and are grateful for all the support from the SPCA on behalf of these very special animals.”

Martha Wellington:

"I do fospice because I love cats, especially old cats.  I want to love them and care for them and make their final days comfortable and peaceful.  I want to help.  The SF SPCA makes it easy to help by providing food and medical care.  I provide the day-to-day care.  And I think, most importantly to me, the burden of having to make that final decision to end a life will not rest solely on my shoulders but will be shared with the veterinarians at the SF SPCA. 

I know that when my fospice cat dies, there will be sorrow.  But my fospice cat has made my life richer.  I am willing to face the sadness of his death because there is the daily joy of his life.  I am grateful for the fospice program."