What could be better than having all the perks of having a furry friend living with you, without the added cost?
Being a fosterer is an extremely rewarding voluntary role. At our branch, we are extremely lucky to have two amazing private boarding establishments who we collaborate with to care for our animals, but sometimes our animals need a home environment to stay in temporarily before they find their forever home – whether that be due to medical conditions, their age, or their personalities.
“I first became interested in fostering during one of the Covid lockdowns. I was missing my family cat, Harley, was plunged into working from home and wanted to do something helpful with my newfound free time. I therefore started looking into the fostering process. I found the application to be straightforward, and every staff member I spoke to at the RSPCA were friendly and helpful.
After approval, my first foster cat was Queenie, a beautiful black and white long haired stray. She was the shyest creature I’ve ever known. She immediately hid under our dining room table, and refused to come out. I took the time to sit in the room speaking to her and coaxing her out (Dreamies helped). She became a sweet and loving house cat, and after 6 weeks she was ready for adoption. Saying goodbye was hard but I had a sense of achievement and satisfaction that she was off to her forever home a content puss.
After Queenie left us, Zippy came to stay. A complete opposite cat- a boisterous, quirky 11 year old ginger puss with a meow like a bark. The plan was for him to be adopted, however sadly he fell ill with a number of life threatening conditions. Thankfully he pulled through (twice), and after discharge from the vet hospital, he came back to us as a long term foster. He was only given weeks to 6 months to live, and that was just under a year ago.
Zippy is now our full of character house cat, who adores his tuna and his foster-dad. He is full of life. No matter what his future prognosis is, it makes me happy knowing that we have given him bundles of love in a family home in the last part of his life. And in return he gives us head nudges, licks and morning meow-barks in return.
Every staff member at RSPCA has been lovely and approachable every step of the way. Although my updates on Zippy have become a standard “he’s a happy chappy”, I regularly touch base. I would encourage anyone interested to sign up- for the satisfaction of helping an animal in need of a loving home, for however long that might be.”
What we offer our fosterers
Once you are on-board as a fosterer, you will be provided with a “Starter Kit” to enable you to set up your home for your new arrival – these are of course a little different depending on which animal you are fostering! Once your new foster is in your home, now is when the fun begins! On top of the usual care of a cat, dog or indeed a rabbit, we ask that you complete the daily observations paperwork (which will be discussed with you in your home visit), and provide weekly updates to our Branch Administrator. Any food or items you have to purchase for the animal will be reimbursed by us – you just need to keep your receipts to submit to our office who will then reimburse payment to your bank account. You will be asked to allow prospective adopters to undertake a “meet and greet” with your foster animal at your home as part of the adoption process.
Whilst it is extremely exciting to be welcoming a new foster animal into your home, the reality is they could be extremely nervous, or poorly, and may need some extra TLC or patience to settle them into your home.
Unless it has been previously arranged that the animal in your care is a “long term foster”, we will continue to advertise for a forever home on our website and social media channels. If a perfect match form is received for your foster animal, and they are deemed to be a good fit on paper, your contact details will be provided to the prospective adopter for them to arrange to come and meet the animal. Following that visit, you will be invited to offer your opinions on the meet and greet. If the meet and greet is positive, the adoption process moves onto the “home visit” stage.
So, you’ve decided that you would like to open your home to become a fosterer – firstly, thank you! The process to apply to be a fosterer is a little different than the process to be a trustee, or even a shop volunteer, so please continue reading to find out what will happen!
Please complete a Perfect Match application form in respect of the animal you would like to foster, and also complete a general volunteer application form. Please then send your completed forms to our office at email@example.com. You will also need to arrange to provide a passport sized photograph for your ID badge. At this point, our office will request your two references, and consider your application to identify whether you would be a “perfect match” to be a fosterer!
Once your positive references have come back and you have been identified as being a perfect match on paper to be a fosterer, our office will pass on your application to our fostering co-ordinator to undertake a home visit and go through the requirements of being a fosterer. Our home visits take place either in person or virtually (by way of video calling) and is not something to worry about. The home visit is an opportunity for fostering coordinator to ensure any animal you foster will have the space they need, and is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions about how to set up your home ready for your new charge.
Once your home visit has been carried out, and our fostering coordinator is happy with how that went and you are happy with what will be expected of you, our office will make contact with you to determine the next steps. You will need to complete the relevant sections of the ‘fostering contract’ which sets out what is expected of you, and what is expected of the branch.