foster care program
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
Without foster parents like you, many animals would not make it into our adoption center to ultimately find a good home.
How the Foster Care Program Works
First, all that Foster Care Givers must also be approved to adopt an dog or cat from CTSPCA. When you complete your adoption application please put “foster care” in place of an animal’s name. Once you are approved the Shelter Manager will reach out to you and discuss our current needs. Occasionally CTSPCAa pulls an animal that cannot be immediately placed for adoption. The Shelter Manager 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 Shelter Manager to set up a time to pick up the pet at the shelter along with all available information and supplies.
The animal will normally remain in the assigned foster home until space is available at the shelter and the animal is ready for adoption. 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 Shelter Manager and foster care volunteers.
Foster care volunteers may be asked to make the animal available for adoption events periodically.
Upon request from shelter staff, the animal shall be returned to the shelter.
If a foster care volunteer wishes to adopt the animal they have been fostering, they will be subject to the same adoption policies and procedures as the general public.
Becoming a Foster Care Volunteer
To become a Foster Care Volunteer, you must be at least 18 and complete and submit an adoption application. This will be worked by our Adoption Counselor like any other application we receive to adopt one of our animals. The process to work an application along with contacting references is between three to five days. If your application is approved, when you take your foster home, we will complete a foster contract outlining the responsibilities of the foster and CTSPCA.
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.
Complete the Application
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, then the next step is to complete an adoption application. To receive an application, please contact our Shelter Manager at 512- 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., Fromm’s, Nulo, Canidea, Merrick)
Thank you for your interest in our program. We hope you will join us in Finding Forever Families.