The Central Texas SPCA (CTSPCA) has been saving animals' lives since 1988. Because we are a clean, safe, no-kill facility, our kennels and cattery fill up quickly. We often cannot keep up with the demand for space for people needing to surrender their pets or for good Samaritans who have rescued strays. This is especially true during puppy and kitten season in the late Spring and early Summer.
Although we know we cannot save all the homeless animals in our community, we can save many of them with your help. That is why we created a Foster Care Program. In addition to helping us save more animals, it offers you a new and rewarding way to volunteer your time and talents.
Why do we need fosters?
The primary role of a foster care volunteer is to provide a safe, healthy environment for the pet and to socialize them in order to increase their adoptability. We need foster care volunteers to provide temporary care for dogs and cats of all sizes and ages. We take great care to match the animal to you and your situation. Some animals may need fostering for only a few days while others may need to be in your home for much longer. Again, we work with you to ensure that you are comfortable with the animal, its needs and the expected timeline for fostering.
Your efforts will help prepare the animals for adoption and, more importantly, you will be preventing these animals from suffering "on the streets" or being euthanized at an animal control facility due to overcrowding. The CTSPCA needs foster homes year round but especially during the traditional puppy and kitten "season" in Spring and Summer.
Here are some of the most common reasons for animals needing a foster home:
- Puppies and kittens that need to be bottle fed and/or are not old enough to be spayed/neutered (a prerequisite for adoption at our shelter)
- Dog and cat habitats in our shelter are full
- The pet might need treatment (like heartworm treatment) or some extra TLC
- The pet has been with us a very long time and would benefit from a break from the shelter
Without foster parents like you, many animals would not make it into our adoption center to ultimately find a good home.
Here's how the Foster Care Program works:
The CTSPCA receives an animal that cannot be immediately placed for adoption. A Foster Care Coordinator will evaluate the animal to determine its individual care requirements.
Those foster care volunteers who are best suited to care for that particular animal are contacted. The first volunteer who accepts the invitation to foster will work with the Coordinator to set up a time to pick up the pet at the shelter along with all available information and supplies. At pick up, the foster parent will be asked to sign a Placement Agreement.
The animal will normally remain in the assigned foster home until space is available at the shelter and the animal is ready for adoption. In the case of "no special needs" fosters, the animal would need to be returned to the shelter during office hours to be available to meet visitors/potential adopters. Foster care volunteers may need to bring the animal back to the shelter for check-ups, medication or other shelter requirements. Such visits will be coordinated between the Coordinator and foster care volunteers.
Foster care volunteers may be asked to make the animal available for adoption events periodically.
Upon request from shelter staff or Coordinators, the animal shall be returned to the shelter.
If a foster care volunteer wishes to adopt the animal they have been fostering, they must complete the application process and will be subject to the same adoption policies and procedures as the general public. During the adoption application screening process, the animal will remain at the shelter. Fostering an animal does not guarantee approval of an application for adoption.
Becoming a Foster Care Volunteer
To become a Foster Care Volunteer you must first complete and submit an application. It will be carefully reviewed by a Foster Care Coordinator who will check references and make a home visit. Once approved by a Coordinator, foster care volunteers must attend a Foster Care Orientation. Orientations are held to explain our program, goals, and basic care of foster animals. They also allow you to meet our Foster Care Coordinators, ask questions, and gain a better understanding of what the Central Texas SPCA provides for the community. Orientation dates will be discussed upon approval of an application. In special circumstances a Foster Care Coordinator may schedule a one-on-one interview with a prospective foster care volunteer.
Things to Consider
There are a number of things you should consider and discuss with the rest of your family prior to submitting an application to foster with the CTSPCA:
- Will you have enough time to spend with your foster animal? Most of the animals needing foster care will be in a great need of quality time and TLC. Socializing is very important, especially with young animals. The more time spent with your foster animal, the better the chance for a successful and permanent adoption to a forever home.
- Do you have pets of your own? Very young animals have limited immunity and are more susceptible to possible infections carried by older animals. Keeping your foster animals in a separate room with no carpet works best. It is a requirement of the program that you keep all foster animals indoors. Garages and enclosed patios will be considered on a case by case basis.
- Do you have the time to clean up after your foster animals? Young animals are usually doing one of the four things: Eating, Sleeping, Playing, Going Potty. Keeping the animals and their quarters clean will help prevent illness and stress.
- Will you be able to keep a close watch on the foster animal's health? Can you cope will the possibility that the animal you are fostering may die if complications arise? It will be your responsibility to monitor and report any concerns or signs of illness to our staff immediately. The Foster Care Coordinators may need you to bring the animal in for an unscheduled examination. If it is determined that your foster animal needs veterinary attention, the Coordinator will make the appointment. The CTSPCA will pay for all veterinary care for foster animals that have been approved in advance by appropriate shelter staff (Executive Director or Foster Care Coordinators).
- Will you be emotionally able to return the animal to the CTSPCA after the foster period is completed? For some, this is the hardest thing to do. It's easy to become very attached to your foster animal. The first few times, letting go can be emotionally draining, but it can get easier over time. The more you foster, the more you help us save lives.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, then the next step is complete a Foster Care Program Application. To receive an application, please contact our Executive Director at 260-SPCA or via e-mail. Please write Foster Care Inquiry in your e-mail subject line.
If you feel you are not quite ready to become a foster care volunteer but would like to help support our program, please consider donating any of the following much-needed supplies:
- Milk replacement for kittens or puppies (KMR and Esbilac)
- Animal baby bottles (available at pet stores)
- Quality/high protein canned and dry puppy and kitten food (e.g., Wellness, Innova, Eagle Pack, Royal Canine, Science Diet)
- Heating pads
Thank you for your interest in our program. We hope you will join us in Finding Forever Families