2 Top Tips For Your Foster Families
Raise your hand if your foster families are helping you get through kitten season.
Uh huh, we thought so—and good on you for empowering such an amazing volunteer force! We checked in with Dr. Sandra Newbury, DVM, Koret Shelter Medicine Program, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, for some tips to maximize the efficiency of your foster program—and keep on saving more lives!
1. Ask Them About Their Problems. Really.
Give your foster parents a “problem list” for each animal when they come to pick up new fosters. “It’s best if the list has accompanying instructions for what to watch, questions you are hoping to have answered about the animal’s health and behavior, and what kind of treatment is needed for each problem,” says Dr. Newbury. Having this list will help your volunteers run through each thing they might need to think about when they are caring for their fosters.
2. Tell Them How Great They Look. Really.
As your fosters will be closely watching the animals in their care, their powers of observation are invaluable to you—and lifesaving for the animal! Ask them to note anything that doesn’t seem normal, anything other than what they might expect. “One of the best tip-offs I ever had as a shelter veterinarian was when a caretaker asked me to look at a dog because ‘his pee looks clear,’” explains Dr. Newbury. “The caretaker didn’t have any idea what that might mean for the dog, but understood it was outside her expectations. The dog had an infectious kidney disease we were able to treat because we picked it up early.” Urge your volunteers to think of each interaction as a training session for them, and an opportunity for their foster animal to let them know if something’s wrong.
More tips like these? Good news—Dr. Newbury will be presenting a 3-part webinar series on foster care (all free!), starting this Wednesday, August 8. Click on the titles for more info and to register:
Foster Vacation Planning: Improving Animal Health & Welfare
Wednesday, August 8, 3-4pm ET
Packing Their Bags: Getting Shelter Animals Ready for Foster Care
Wednesday, August 15, 3-4pm ET
Early Age Care for Foster Animals
Wednesday, August 29, 3-4pm ET