This week we welcome our Foster Care Coordinator, Lauren, to the Humane Education Blog to talk about how important our foster care program is at the Houston SPCA.
If you would like to consider fostering an animal for the Houston SPCA, please follow this link for more information: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=getinvolved_foster
Houston SPCA Foster Program
Making Transformations Happen Every Day!
As foster care coordinator, I place animals who need extra TLC into homes with foster volunteers. Some animals come in sick or injured, and others are just too young to be adopted. In any case, they leave the Houston SPCA for foster care looking one way and are returned to us as completely different animals. Receiving photos and email updates has quickly become my favorite and the most rewarding part of my job!
When animals are brought to the Houston SPCA, we often do not have a lot of information about their past. They are in a completely new environment with strange (though kind!) people. Most are very nervous and stressed. A happy puppy could become very fearful in a shelter kennel, and cats and kittens do particularly poorly in strange new environments.
However, once we place them into foster homes animals get a new chance to be themselves! They calm down very quickly and start to showcase their personalities. Once they get settled in and are more comfortable, it’s time for a photo-shoot! I receive new photos of foster animals daily, and it is always so amazing to see how dramatically they can change in such a short amount of time (see awesomely adorable photos for reference). After the photo ops are captured, it is important to start to pay close attention to the animal’s behavior. The time spent in a foster home is sometimes the only opportunity we get to know more information about an animal’s personality, habits and skills. For potential adopters, it is crucial to see all of the wonderful things we have learned about an animal and our amazing foster volunteers afford us that added bonus to the kennel card: the adoption summary. The adoption summary allows us to add information such as whether or not the animal is house-trained, how they are with kids or other animals and how active they are. This helps our furry friends find their perfect home and get adopted much faster!
One of my favorite transformations has happened just recently. Lisa Rotter, our animal behavior coordinator, notified me that we had 2 Shepherd-mix puppies who were extremely fearful. I went to work and found two foster families who wanted to work with a puppy each. After just hours of getting home with the little male, I got an email from my volunteer with photos and a video of him playing and acting like a normal pup! It was so great to see that transformation and it made me realize that the “little” victories are well worth the time and energy spent to help these animals.
Thank you to all of the foster volunteers at the Houston SPCA who donate their time and love for our animals that need a little extra care before finding their forever family.