While we know that most people enjoy fostering cute kittens or puppies, we more regularly need foster carers for the animals which are not well suited to the shelter environment. Most commonly, this includes:
- “Bottle babies” – puppies or kittens less than 4 weeks old who require regular bottle feeding. This can be as regularly as every two hours (including overnight) so requires a lot of patience and dedication, but is one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences.
- Shy or nervous animals – cats and dogs who perhaps haven’t had the best life, and need special love and patience to build their confidence before adoption.
- Hard to adopt animals – Older, nervous or more difficult animals that do not present their best side to adopters in the shelter. For dogs, foster carers should be willing and able to take the animal to public places for socialisation skill building, and be willing to coordinate meetings with potential adopters.
- Dogs that need to learn a few manners – many of the dogs that find themselves with us have often been owned by families who didn’t put time into teaching them basic manners and training. They are wonderful dogs, capable of being excellent family pets, if someone can take the time to treat them like a baby puppy and show them how to live politely in a home.
- Infectious issues – RSPCA Darwin tries very hard to save animals with infectious diseases, but having them in the shelter can make them a risk to all our other animals. If you have a home where you can keep them isolated (e.g. a laundry or spare bathroom), and minimal other pets, we will help show you how to quarantine and recover from simple infections like ringworm, kennel cough and cat flu.