If you have a place in your heart and home for animals—but you’re not prepared to adopt—consider fostering for The SPCA of Tennessee. Our foster care program lets animal lovers bring pets from shelters into their homes on a temporary basis to prepare them for adoption. We know it can sometimes be a challenging experience – in the love you invest, the commitment it takes, and, eventually, in saying goodbye to a pet that you’ve nurtured for an extended period of time. But know that what you do matters. Every pet that’s fostered has a better chance at a happier and healthier life ahead with a forever family.
Animals in need. As a foster parent, you may give a mother dog/cat and her kittens/puppies a place to live until they are old enough for the entire family to return to the shelter for adoption. You could care for a cat with an upper respiratory infection until he feels better, or help rehabilitate a dog with a broken leg that is healing. We might have sometimes animals that need your care, especially older animals who truly benefit by spending time away from the shelter before they find their forever homes.
Fostering may last anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the pet’s needs.
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The foster family is expected to provide good quality food, exercise, socialization, a safe place to eat, sleep and play, and most of all, love. Although it’s a family affair, children should never be left alone with or made responsible for the care of a foster pet. Foster families are not expected to place the animal. Ideally, pre-approved potential adopters should be able to meet the animal at the foster home, although other arrangements can be made. The foster parent should observe the interaction and answer questions, and if there are any incidents that lead the foster parent to doubt the advisability of the match, it should be noted and reported to the foster coordinator. Foster families are encouraged to make recommendations but do not approve or deny an adoption.
How much you choose to spend on your foster pet is up to you. Some foster families want to assume full responsibility for care, but it’s certainly not a requirement. We can provide necessities like crates, litterboxes, toys, beds, etc. and food if needed. Generally, any medical care including testing, vaccinations, or worming will be done prior to placing the animal in foster care, except when not advisable due to age or condition. Additional veterinary care will be paid by TNSPCA and must be approved in advance by a foster coordinator, who will also schedule appointments. Foster families may be asked to transport an animal to the vet for spay/neuter surgery or other treatment.
Dogs are pack animals—they depend on you for love and protection, so keep them inside, take them for walks, and make them a part of your family.
2. They can help reduce the risk of allergies
3. They can help reduce our negativity
4. They can help reduce loneliness
5. They make us feel supported
6. They help make us want to stay healthier
7. They can help make us less stressed
8. They draw other people to us
9. They can help stabilize our blood pressure
You and your dogs speak different languages. Humane, interactive training gives dogs greater freedom and a better understanding of our world. Untrained dogs are often punished for their “improper” behavior. Be the one to train your dog—you are the one who will need to know how to communicate with him or her—but get help from a humane dog trainer if you run into problems.
Dogs are safest and most comfortable wearing a nylon harness, not a collar, when out walking. Choke and prong collars can be painful and injure your dog. For a dog who pulls too hard, try the Easy-Walk™ harness (available online), which discourages pulling without discomfort to the dog.
Animals get depressed if deprived of adequate social interaction, so let them “chat” and play with other dogs on walks and at parks. A happy dog’s life is not one long series of commands: Let them live a little, make choices, and take their time. Animals are very sensitive and can become easily frightened, so speak softly to dogs. Don’t fight or shout in their presence, and give them their own hiding places to dash into when they want to be alone.
Sterilizing (Spay and Neuter) dogs helps stem the tide of companion-animal overpopulation. Spaying female dogs reduces the stress and discomfort endured during heat periods, eliminates the risk of uterine cancer, and greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Neutering makes male dogs much less likely to roam or fight and prevents testicular cancer.