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COVID-19 & Pets: Why Registering Fosters Matters, and How to do it for FREE


By Matt Ulrich

Across the country, the number of animals cared for at shelters has been at an all time low. What’s more, the COVID-19 crisis has generated an overwhelmingly positive response from our communities across the country. In fact, Riverside County Shelter, one of the largest animal shelters in the country, recently cleared out all of their adoptable animals

There is one issue we want to discuss, however… With so many animals in new environments and with new caregivers (including many first time fosters), there’s the potential for some of these pets to get out and become lost. 

The best line of defense for getting a lost animal back home quickly is the classic one-two punch: a tag on the animal’s collar, and a registered microchip. Thankfully, most foster animals leave shelters with both! The question then becomes are microchips being registered to temporary owners? 

Many groups hold back from registering microchips to temporary owners for three key reasons. We’ve laid out our argument in favor of making the switch:

1 –  The rescue organization only wants their name on the microchip until they permanently transfer ownership to the permanent adopter. 

The truth is, microchipping works best when all pets are microchipped and the registration pulls a contact prepared to quickly recover the animal. Registering foster pets to overburdened staff can strain valuable time and resources needed to care for animals and find forever homes. Registering the pet to a foster parent may be the better option, as they can likely more quickly recover the lost pet when contacted. 

2 – The cost is too high. With fees at nearly $20 per registration, there’s a real financial impact many shelters have to consider. supports the important work foster and rescue organizations do, and proudly provide FREE registration for any temporary owner/foster you work with – no matter what brand of microchip you use. 

3 – It’s too much work for a busy shelter staff to re-register their animals to temporary fosters.  

We politely disagree. The process is simple, and your shelter/rescue can stay on forever, for free, as a Permanent Rescue Contact (PRC). With that, you never lose access to Found Pet Alerts for any pet fostered or adopted from your organization. 

So, did we convince you? If so, we are happy to present a simple guide. 

6 Easy Steps To Registering Your Foster Pet  

Step 1: Register for an Account



Step 2: Register your Org as a Permanent Rescue Contact (PRC)


Step 3: Add Pets



Step 4: Transfer Pet to a Foster, Temporary Owner (and enable PRC!)


Step 5: Easily Review Records of Your PRC Pets


Step 6: At the End of the Foster Period, Return the Pet’s Registration Your Organization or to the New Permanent Owner 

(You can use the same instructions as Step 4)

We hope you’ll find this information helpful as we all try to adjust and best protect our people and pets during the COVID-19 crisis. Visit our Found Animals COVID-10 Resources Page for more information.