Distemper Emergency Fosters

We are experiencing a distemper outbreak and need to get medium/large dogs into foster homes ASAP. 

Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease but the good news is that vaccines are very effective. Adult dogs who have been in the shelter for at least three weeks have had booster vaccinations as well as incubation time for the vaccine's protection to get up to full speed, and are eligible for foster.*

We have staff stationed in the lobby from 11 am to 5 pm every day to process walk-in fosters. 

  1. Pick a few candidates from our Trello board
  2. Head on in to sign up and speak with staff about the best match
  3. Take a foster dog home!

Foster Care Manual

Some things to keep in mind: 

  • We’re asking for a 3-4 week foster commitment to get a handle on the disease spread.
  • Please be patient and understand that there may be a wait if there’s a large community response.
  • Dogs that are at least 5 months old and have been in the shelter for at least 21 days (so have had two distemper vaccines) are eligible for fostering.
  • At this time we are not facilitating meet and greets with resident dogs. We can go over safe and slow introductions, or if you have a place to keep the foster dog separate, even better! Don't have any pets at home? WE NEED YOU!

* While we try our best to identify medical and behavioral concerns while the pet is in our care, we are never able to guarantee any pet’s health or behavior. 

What is distemper?

Canine distemper is a virus affecting dogs. It’s found most often in the southern states. The virus can impact all systems in the body, but typically starts with upper respiratory signs and can sometimes progress to neurological symptoms. 

What are the signs of distemper?
  • Cough/chest congestion, snotty nose/nasal discharge, nasal congestion, pneumonia
  • Not eating/loss of interest in food, vomiting
  • Extreme lethargy or fatigue
  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Eye discharge/decreased tear production/squinting/crust around the eyes
  • Fever
  • Neurologic signs such as seizures or twitching
Is my own dog at risk if I foster?

As long as your resident dog is a healthy adult and has received multiple distemper vaccines (DAPP, DHPP, DHLPP), including a recent one within the past 3 years, they should have adequate protection against CDV. 

Is there anything special I need to know about fostering a dog at this time?

It is important that you follow the following precautions:

  • Do not let the dog interact with any other dogs that you are not 100% sure are fully vaccinated. One of our foster program requirements is that you do not introduce a foster dog to dogs outside your household, but it is especially important to follow this now. (Which includes not taking your foster to dog parks.)
  • Do not let them sniff other dogs through a fence, or share water bowls with other dogs who are not vaccinated.
  • Do not leave water or food bowls outside where they can be accessed by wildlife or other dogs.

We rely on hundreds of foster families to provide love and care to our most at-risk dogs and cats.

Become a Foster

If you are interested in opening your home and providing socialization and love to a shelter animal, fostering might be for you! Time commitments range from just a weekend, to a few weeks and possibly even several months, depending on your availability and interests. 


Complete the Foster Application. These can take up to a week to process depending on volume - you will receive confirmation once you are approved. Please check your junk/spam folder! 


  • Access e-mail regularly and provide transportation to and from AAC.
  • Provide some food and supplies for foster pets.
  • Have up-to-date rabies vaccinations for all animals living in your home.

Types of Animals Needing Foster

  • Adult dogs and cats needing a break from the shelter. This can be anywhere from a couple of days to several months, depending on the type of pet and its particular needs.
  • Dogs and cats with special behavioral needs. Some of our animals lack socialization and training, and time spent in a foster home (one week to one month, or longer) working on obedience and basic skills can be lifesaving!
  • Underage kittens. 
  • Neonatal kittens! They need bottle feeding every two to six hours, depending on their age.
  • Animals who are recovering from an illness, injury or surgery. If you don’t have any other pets, or, have a large, quiet area of your home, separate from other pets, we need you most of all for these types of animals! Having a quiet place to rest and recover makes a huge difference.


Foster Resources