Hello all! As you know from our blog intro, we are covering all kinds of topics from African Adventures to Veterinary Advice to SPCA stories! This is going to be a bit of an unorthodox SPCA entry, but very important as well!
I think it is quite safe to say that all who follow our page are animal lovers! So it then follows that many of you are going to be very willing to offer your aid for animals in need. I wanted to write a post about the SPCA that is very near and dear to my heart, and something I am truly passionate about! Fostering animals from the SPCA is our topic for the day!
I would like first to give a rundown of the SJARL /SJSPCA’s general qualifications for fostering, as well as give you some insight on why even the most caring, attentive people may be turned down for fostering.
Animals who require fostering are those who need special attention. Often foster animals are pregnant or nursing cats, sometimes with healthy babies, sometimes not; malnourished or sick puppies and kittens; animals with injuries; animals with behavioural needs; and other complicated situations. Of course no two cases are the same! Occasionally it is just to keep them in a safer more secluded environment, as is often the case with healthy nursing kittens, but more often it is more complicated than that. Each case requires a special sort of attention - fostering isn’t just taking an animal into your home. It often consists of:
· Late night feedings
· Helping orphaned puppies and kittens use the bathroom since their mother’s can’t
· Bathing animals with certain conditions (sometimes a few times a week)
· Helping an animal with physiotherapy after an injury repair
· Long walks
· Short walks
· Vet visits
· Feeding schedules
· Constant supervision
I could go on forever about the different special needs some of these animals have, but I think you understand what I’m trying to convey.
There are general guidelines for fostering animals that just need extra attention, and then of course there are rules for those who have special needs. In order to foster an animal with minimal special needs, the SJARL/SJAPCA requires that you:
· Are employed or able to financially take care of yourself (as costs for animals may come up)
· Are willing to take the animal to a vet in an emergency
· Own your house, or have permission from your landlord to have the animal in your residence
· Have a place that the animal can be secluded from the rest of the house - having a brand new animal running freely in a large space is not generally a good idea from the start
· Are willing and able to devote serious time and effort to helping the animal animal recover
· Will not be leaving the animal alone for extended periods of time
· Are able to be easily reached to give updates on the animal
There are so many amazing people who would love to foster animals but just don’t have the time, space or money. Those of you who cannot manage to foster, can always volunteer at the SPCA - dogs need walks and cats need loving!
I want to end this post with a personal fostering story that also sums up why only certain people are selected to foster certain animals:
In the second week of March, Dr. Katie and I were at the SPCA doing our weekly FIV/FeLV testing on the kitties. There was a cat there who had recently given birth to 7 kittens - a huge litter! Two of the kittens had already died (with such a large litter this is common), and another one was on his way out and it was suggested that he get more specialized attention from the staff, or a foster. I said “I so wish I could foster him, I’d do it in a heartbeat.” To which Dr. Katie said - “DO IT, we can bring him with us in the car during work hours! It would be fun!” So one foster application form, a couple appointments and a couple hours later, I picked up this tiny orphaned kitten, later named Bentley, from one of the SPCA workers and took him home.
Luckily for me, I was used to the overnight feedings and “peeing” a kitten who isn’t able to use the bathroom himself. The first couple of nights were brutal and I was exhausted but so happy to be trying and feeling like I was giving this little guy a shot! Every two hours I was getting up to feed this guy: through the night, between appointments in the car, anytime he cried as well - even if it wasn’t two hours since his last feeding. I watched him grow a little, fight a cold, play with my two kitties, give me some attitude, and then make a tiny paw print on my heart.
As wonderful as Bentley’s story sounds - I have to tell the ending. The worst part of fostering is knowing all along in the back of your mind that your animal likely didn’t have a chance on their own, and that’s why they were in need of special care. As much as I loved my little black kitten, I had to know the entire time I had him: his chances of survival were slim to none. A foster was his last chance. Over the last couple days I had Bentley, he began to decline rapidly. Dr. Katie did all she could to help him, but in the end there wasn’t anything that could have been done to save my little dude. This story has taken me a long time to write about, because it is still hard for me to talk about, but I know how important it is to reach out to others who may want to foster.
My first experience as a foster for domestic animals ended with the death of my foster kitten - through no fault of anyone but the world itself.
This will not deter me from fostering again. In fact, I may have recently made my first leap back into the world of fostering orphaned kittens…
I don’t want Bentley’s story to deter anyone else from fostering either. I am still looking on the bright side! He would have died in his cage overnight at the SPCA. I gave him two weeks of heat packs, big cat cuddles, warm formula, and a trip into the world. He lived the last two weeks of his life to the fullest and I cannot be more proud of that. I encourage anyone who thinks that they have it in them to give an animal a second chance to visit the SJARL/SJSPCA and fill out a foster application form. Inquire about fostering and how you can help an animal have a second shot at life. Please feel free to reach out to me through email or our Facebook page as well with any questions you may have, I would be more than glad to answer! Wish me luck with my next little baby!
All the love -
For more information on fostering, click on the SPCA Logo below: