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Foster Care

Together we can save more lives! Richmond SPCA foster care volunteers provide a temporary home to kittens, puppies, dogs and cats, preparing those pets for adoption into lasting, loving homes.

Foster care saves lives by expanding our capacity to shelter and care for homeless animals beyond the walls of our Robins-Starr Humane Center.

Become a Foster Care Provider

As a foster care volunteer, you offer your time, energy and home to animals in need, and the Richmond SPCA provides the training, supplies and access to around-the-clock veterinary care you need to successfully care for foster pets. Our online trainings are designed to create confident foster parents resulting in a comfortable and rewarding foster experience.  

We ask our foster care providers to:

After completing your online training, you will gain access to view pets in need of foster care.

About our Foster Care Program

Most pets needing foster care are underage juveniles or adults undergoing medical treatment for an illness or injury. Other common candidates for foster care are pets who have been in our care longer than 30 days, pets needing behavior training, and nursing moms and their babies.  

As a foster care volunteer, you will have access to a web-based database where you can complete easy and informative trainings for the types of pets you wish to foster (kittens, puppies, adult dogs and adult cats). You can also browse listings for eligible foster pets. For the most urgent foster placements, such as orphaned bottle babies, we send email blasts.

All foster care volunteers are given an emergency cell phone number to call during hours the shelter is closed. In the event of an after-hours emergency involving a foster pet, we will provide instructions

Length of foster care: The length of time a pet spends in foster care depends on the individual pet and his or her specific needs. Dogs and cats who have been in our care more than 30 days typically spend two to four weeks in foster care. Average lengths of foster care for underage juveniles and pets recovering from surgery are typically between two and eight weeks.

Amount of time and care required: Bottle baby foster pets (those requiring overnight feedings) need more involved care than an adult pet. We will discuss expectations of time and care specific to each foster pet with you prior to placement. We will never expect you to foster a pet whom you are not fully comfortable fostering.

Supplies: All medications, supplements, and vaccinations will be prescribed and provided by the Richmond SPCA medical staff. We provide all necessary foster supplies (food, crate, toys, bedding, etc.); however, if you want to provide any of these items, that help is greatly appreciated and stretches our budget further!

Many of our foster care volunteers are also parents of young children and other pets. We will work with you to best assure pets placed with your family (both two- and four-legged members) are appropriate matches. We can also set up meet and greets between foster pet candidates and your own pets. 

If a foster pet isn’t the right fit, contact our foster care coordinator. We never expect a foster care volunteer to keep a pet they are uncomfortable delivering care to.

Traveling while fostering: If you are planning to travel out of town while fostering a pet and want to take the pet with you, please be sure to check first with our foster care staff. You also have the option to bring the pet back to our humane center and pick him or her up after you return from your travels (provided the pet is still available for foster care). We also have success finding fill-in foster care volunteers while foster care volunteers are away!

Thanks to Virginia Veterinary Centers for their generous sponsorship of our Meet The Fosters™ foster care program.

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