Animal Foster Carer
Fostering is an extremely rewarding challenge and a great option if you want to spend time with animals without the permanent commitment.
About the Foster Circle
The Foster Circle is a dedicated group of volunteers offering love and temporary accommodation for dogs and cats in their own homes for periods of up to six months.
Fosterers need to live within easy travelling distance (maximum of 30-40minutes) of our Godmanchester Centre in Cambridgeshire or Heydon in Hertfordshire (cats only). This is due to the possibility of needing to access veterinary services - as our preferred option is always for the animals to see Wood Green vets during opening hours or Cromwells in Huntingdon out of hours.
Fosterers must have their own transport. we can arrange to drop off and collect animals or resources on occasions but there are occasions when we are unable to do this.
Fosterers do not necessarily need experience but must be realistic, practical and compassionate. The ability to empathise with an animal's situation and reactions rather than sympathise allows you to provide the ideal approach to increase their confidence and work with any anxieties.
Support/advice is on hand or easily accessible at all times throughout the fostering experience and we are developing more and more training, advice and workshops for fosterers and their families, particularly children to attend to improve your own experience and increase your knowledge and awareness of behaviour and body language.
This fostering service is offered for a number of reasons:
Dogs unable to cope in the kennels
Many of the dogs who come to Wood Green have never experienced a kennel environment before, and some can find the whole experience very stressful. When a dog is very stressed it can be difficult to assess its true personality and determine the kind of home it is looking for, so in these circumstances we seek temporary foster care for the animal. This way we can assess them in a home environment, and try to reduce the length of time spent looking for a new home - many can even be re-homed from their foster home.
Anyone fostering a dog for this purpose may need to be prepared to bring them to Wood Green to visit prospective new owners, sometimes at short notice, so some flexibility is helpful and on occasions have the ability to bring their charges in. Fostered dogs cope better when they have to come on site, if accompanied by their fosterer, both when meeting potential new owners and also when attending any ongoing Vet checks for existing medical conditions. This support also improves the dog’s rehoming chances and opportunities – as most are calmed by the constant presence of their care-giver and consequently are less stressed when brought back to site.
Victims of domestic violence
As part of The Links Group, Wood Green, along with RSPCA Pet Retreat and The Dogs Trust Freedom Project, The Raystede centre for Animal Welfare and Paws for Kids, offers pet fostering services specifically for pets belonging to families fleeing domestic violence.
Individuals requiring urgent hospitalisation
The Foster Circle offers love and temporary accommodation to dogs, when their owners need to go into hospital and have no family able to care for their pets.
Doggy and moggy midwives
We also use our dedicated Foster Carers to help us look after the number of pregnant cats and dogs that arrive at our Centres every year. Find out more about becoming a doggy or moggy midwife.
In summary - Characteristics of a foster carer:
- Animal lover
- Understanding and empathetic
Message from one of our fosterers
Nanette Barnard has been fostering for Wood Green since January 2009.
Nanette has fostered a Lurcher with three legs because of domestic violence at his home, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and a Jack Russell whose 92-year-old owner was suffering from dementia and could no longer care for her pet.
She said: “My husband and I lost one of our dogs a little while ago and as we are pensioners we didn’t want to commit to another dog long term. So it was great when I discovered the opportunity of becoming a fosterer for Wood Green.
“Five dogs later and I haven’t looked back. I have fostered the biggest Greyhound I have ever seen to the tiniest Jack Russell, which I still have now.
“I was worried at first that I would get too attached and to some extent I do, but the satisfaction of giving a dog love, comfort and stability outweighs anything else.
“Many people also don’t realise that Wood Green provide everything from food and bedding to veterinary treatment. They are also on the end of the phone whenever you need anything so you just need a heart and a home.”
Message from a family we have helped
"My family was recently put in a situation where we had to leave our family home but couldn’t take our family dog with us. It was heartbreaking, we had our dog seven years and didn’t want to lose her. Wood Green, The Animals Charity really helped our family. They fostered our dog with a family for a short time while I sorted out a permanent home for us all. They took very good care of her and gave me regular updates on how our dog was. It was one worry off my mind knowing my dog was being cared for. I would recommend Wood Green to any family who needed help with the animals, they are very helpful and caring animal people."
Find out more
If you think you have what it takes to become a foster carer and you would like to find out more, please complete the online enquiry form or contact our Fostering Coordinator on 0844 248 8181 or via email.