What is the Foster Care Program?
The MSPCA Foster Care Program is a life-saving extension of our adoption center. Foster parents provide temporary homes for animals that aren’t quite ready for adoption. Fostering is a personal and wonderful way to contribute to saving the life of a homeless animal. We currently depend on the generosity and dedication of over 400 foster families. Thankfully we have a wonderful network of foster homes and some of our current needs for foster care are full. Please read on below for a list of foster opportunities we are currently recruiting for.
How Much Time Will it Take?
The time required to foster varies depending on the species and the reason for foster. The foster period can be as little as two weeks or as long as many months depending on the needs of the particular animal. For our Adoption Ambassador foster program we ask foster parents to foster the animal until he/she is adopted.
What are the Requirements for Foster Parents
If you rent your current apartment, we need to gain permission from your landlord or rental company before you can foster. It is recommended that you find out your apartment’s pet policy before applying to our foster program. If you own your home, we ask that you bring proof of home ownership – a tax bill, water bill or mortgage statement- with you to the foster orientation. Foster families will need to dedicate the time to make frequent visits to the adoption centers if, and when needed. For this reason all foster parents should be within a 30 minute driving distance to the MSPCA. We are reachable via public transportation, but keep in mind there may be times when a cab is required if emergency visits are required.
Is Fostering Right For You?
Fostering is an incredibly rewarding experience that requires a real commitment. The emotional aspects of fostering are difficult and should be discussed with all family members. It is easy to fall in love with any animal especially one that has depended on you. Oftentimes it can be difficult to see them leave your home for their new forever home. The wonderful part of fostering is knowing that you played a tremendous and extremely crucial role in getting them there!
What Does the MSPCA Provide for a Foster Animal?
We will provide you with all the supplies needed: Food, bowls, leash, collar, medication and litter are all provided by the MSPCA. We’ll send anything the animal is attached to, such as a bed or special toys. Our vet staff will care for the animal if the need for medical attention arises, and we will incur those costs. Foster animals are not to be brought to your family veterinarian or another MSPCA veterinarian without prior approval from our staff.
How Do I Become an MSPCA Foster Parent?
Please look at the below types of animals that currently need fostering. If you are interested in fostering animals in the “Accepting Applications” categories, please click here to fill out an online application. We will contact you when we schedule the next orientation. Orientations are two hours long and are generally held every 6-8 weeks. We host separate orientations – one for foster parents interested in dogs and one for foster parents interested in fostering cats or small animals.
What Animals Need Fostering?
Cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice. See below for more detailed descriptions for fostering each animal!
Cats – Accepting applications for all cat foster opportunities:
- Pregnant or Nursing Moms with litter of kittens
- Kittens in need of bottle feeding
- Adult Cats with Upper Respiratory Infection
- Kittens (single, pair or litter of kittens)
- Feral Kittens in need of socialization (see below for more detailed information)
- Shy Cat Adoption Ambassador Foster (see below for more detailed information)
Feral Kittens in need of socialization
Time Commitment: Two – Six Weeks
A feral kitten is a kitten who has had limited to no interaction with humans. Feral kittens will respond to human approach by hissing/spitting or avoidance/cowering from contact. A kittens socialization period is between 2-7 weeks of age. The younger kittens are, the more able we are to ‘tame’ them.
There are a few key ingredients to successfully socializing a feral kitten
– You must be able to spend a lot of time with a feral kittens so they can learn to feel comfortable around humans.
– You must be able to spend at least 30 minutes during feeding times (generally 3 times a day) with the kitten.
– A small room without many hiding spots is essential when fostering feral kittens. A large dog crate can be used as an alternative housing solution.
– Foster parents must exercise patience.
For more helpful information on fostering feral kittens, visit the Urban Cat League’s Website.
Shy Cat Adoption Ambassador Foster
Time Commitment: Indefinite period of time: Generally between 3 months – 10 months
The shelter can be a really scary place for cats. Some cats don’t adjust well to being in a cage and being surrounded by other cats and new people handling them each day. Many of these cats come in with great profiles filled out by their past owners that speak of how wonderful and affectionate they were in their home. These cats often thrive in foster care.
There are a few key ingredients to successfully fostering shy cats
– Being a Shy Cat Adoption Ambassador requires the ability to make a long term commitment to foster the cat until he or she finds an adoptive home. Having to come back to the shelter can be very stressful specifically for shy cats and we want to prevent additional transitions for them. Staying with you until they are adopted will help them so much.
– Once the cat is placed in foster with you, we ask that you take pictures of the cat and write up a little bio for them. We then place their pictures and personality information on our website in hopes of finding potential adopters.
– Once a potential adopter is found, we will share your email address with the potential adopter in order for you to schedule a time for them to visit your foster cat.
– It can take a while for the cat to come out of his or her shell – patience and extra time to spend with the cat at the beginning of the foster is required.
Accepting Applications: Rabbits
We are currently seeking foster homes that have experience with rabbits and are interested in fostering rabbits as an adoption ambassador until they are able to find an adoptive home. We also occasionally have nursing moms with baby bunnies in need of foster.
Accepting Applications: Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Rats, and Mice.
We have the occasional need for foster care for small animals who have recently given birth or are possibly pregnant.
Accepting Applications: Adoption Ambassadors for Large Dogs and Pit Bulls
The adoption ambassador foster program is for select dogs that need extra help meeting their new family. Adoption Ambassador foster parents are asked to foster their dog until an adoptive home is found. It can be physically and emotionally stressful for dogs to have to return to the shelter after being in a loving foster home. The hope of the Adoption Ambassador program is that a foster home will offer new opportunities for the dog to meet potential adopters and show how wonderful they are outside of a shelter environment!
We also offer weekly behavior training classes at the Adoption Center to work on manners and other behavior issues as needed.
If you are interested in becoming an Adoption Ambassador foster parent, please click here to fill out an online application. We will contact you when we schedule the next orientation. Orientations are generally held every 6-8 weeks.
Currently Full: Puppy (single)
Currently Full: Puppies (litter)
Currently Full: Nursing Mom with Puppies
Currently Full: Bottlefed Puppies.
Currently Full: Small Dog Adoption Ambassadors
- Provide a nurturing, caring environment for the foster animal.
- Feed, medicate, groom, and carry out training programs according to MSPCA standards and specific requests.
- Isolate foster animals from your own animals, unless specifically given permission from the MSPCA.
- Foster homes must be responsible for keeping their own animals up to date on all vaccinations.
- Cats must be kept exclusively indoors, and wear proper MSPCA ID at all times.
- Observe and report any changes in behavior, health or temperament to MSPCA staff.
- Maintain proper level of discretion and confidentiality regarding foster animals and their situation when speaking with those outside the foster program.
- Foster animals must remain in the care of the approved foster home only.
- In the event of an emergency, the MSPCA staff must be notified immediately of any changes in animal housing status.
- Return the animals to the MSPCA when scheduled, as well as all follow up appointments while in foster care.
- Support the MSPCA’s philosophies and policies, and comply with all care standards.
- Foster homes understand that the MSPCA retains legal ownership of the animal while it is in foster care and that all potential adopters must go through the MSPCA’s adoption procedures.
- Foster families will need to dedicate time to make frequent visits to the adoption center if, and when needed. For this reason all foster parents should be within a 30 minute driving distance to the MSPCA. We are reachable via public transportation, but keep in mind there may be times when a cab is required if emergency visits are required.
For more information on our Foster Volunteer Program, please call (617) 524-5708, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t Have Room to Foster an Animal?
Consider making a donation to help support our foster and adoption center animals.