If you love animals but are not certain that you will be able to commit to caring for one for the rest of its life (perhaps for financial reasons) then you might be just the person needed to foster an animal on behalf of animal rescue centres run by the animal charity RSPCA.
Many animals that are rescued or handed into animal rescue centres remain there until a ‘forever’ family adopts them. Whilst in the shelter each animal is carefully assessed by staff so that they know what sort of home each animal would be best suited to. They are also fed, groomed and exercised by the specially trained staff (who are often volunteers). As a charity, the money needed for all of this (plus vets’ bills) is donated by members of the public.
Keeping animals in shelters is expensive though, and the environment in a shelter is not as natural as a home environment. It can be difficult for some animals to get used to being around other animals in an institutional setting and it may be very difficult for staff – and potential adopters – to get a good idea of how those animals would behave away from the shelter.
Most dogs that arrive at animal shelters having previously lived in home environments. Those environments might not have been very healthy or very caring and it can take considerable time for dogs to adapt to being properly cared for in a non-threatening, loving home. They cannot do so prior to adoption if they are kept in a shelter.
Foster carers are therefore ideal for any animal that needs a home until it can be placed with its adoptive owners. This might be for a few days, weeks, months … or even years. Some animals are difficult to place because so few people want to adopt older animals or certain species, breeds or even colours. Some have very shy or nervous temperaments that adoptive owners may not find appealing. Some dogs may be waiting for their owners to be prosecuted and found guilty or not guilty of their abuse or neglect before being allowed home or allowed to be adopted.
If you have enough time and energy to care for a dog as a fosterer then please contact your local RSPCA to ask how you can help. Even if you have children or other pets you may still be able to foster. If you are an experienced dog owner you may be asked to foster animals that would otherwise find it difficult to be rehomed permanently because of health or behavioural issues which you could help to resolve before the animal were advertised for adoption. Alternatively you could be asked to foster a dog under the RSPCA’s PetRetreat scheme which exists to help families with pets who are suffering domestic abuse.
Search the RSPCA’s website for fostering vacancies or contact your local branch to see if you could help and make a huge difference to an animal’s life and future.
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This is a guest post by Claire Chat a new Londoner, jewellery passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Jewllery, Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Chat).