Top five things to know about becoming a foster carer

1. Is fostering right for you?

Whether you’re helping a dog learn to love and be loved, or looking after a cat and her kittens until they are ready for adoption, fostering gives you the opportunity to single-handedly change an animal’s life for the better.

Fostering can provide the unique, individualised attention that some animals require before they’re ready for adoption. Fostering has a direct, positive impact on the animal and is a hugely rewarding experience for those who choose to become foster carers.

2. What kinds of animals need fostering?

There is a large range of animals that require foster care at RSPCA Victoria – they include dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats and horses.

Some animals simply need an attentive foster carer to help socialise them so they’ll become more confident and trusting. While our staff and volunteers work very hard to provide a comfortable and enriching environment, many of our more vulnerable animals are stressed by the experience of being in a shelter. These animals recover and develop much more successfully when they are fostered in a home environment until they are ready to be permanently rehomed.

Each year, RSPCA Victoria also welcomes thousands of baby kittens born during the cat breeding season, which extends during the warmer months from spring to autumn. Many of these kittens are too young to be made available for adoption, and we need the help of foster carers to provide them with a safe place to grow and play. Fostering kittens helps them develop and thrive in a home environment as they prepare for adoption. Types of fostering may include:

  • Junior fosters – animals who are too young for adoption
  • Behavioural fosters – assisting in the training of an animal with a behavioural issue such as toilet training or walking on a lead
  • Medical fosters – animals recovering from illness or surgery
  • Protective Custody foster – this is a long term foster commitment for animals involved in cruelty cases.

3. What requirements are necessary for fostering? Do I need any special training?

RSPCA Victoria provides all the training and resources you will need to care for a foster animal. During the sign-up process you will complete the necessary online training modules to ensure you are ready to start your fostering journey.

4. How long does fostering last and will it cost anything?

Foster care periods typically range anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the animal’s needs. RSPCA Victoria provides all of the food, equipment and supplies you need to care for their animals, and we cover all of the animal’s medical expenses, including medication. You need only provide your home, attention and love for your foster animals!

5. I have veterinary experience. Is there anything I can help with?

We are always seeking individuals with professional veterinary experience who can provide foster care to our animals who require special medical attention (such as medicated baths, physical therapy, daily medication or other medical care), or may need support in a home environment to adjust to becoming a lifelong family companion. This is a great opportunity for veterinarians, and other medical professionals to assist in providing treatment for our most needy pets while they wait to be adopted.

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