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SSPCA Animal Foster Service

The Scottish SPCA’s fostering service is now recruiting suitable foster homes in Orkney.

small black cat in cover s
Image @Scottish SPCA

Expanding the fostering service is a key part of the Scottish SPCA’s commitment to increase its community engagement activity and get ahead of the rising animal welfare challenges it is facing.

88% of people in Scotland have said the cost of looking after a pet has risen, and this increased pressure on the Scottish SPCA’s capacity with calls to its animal helpline to give up a pet on the rise.

The charity recently expanded its fostering and rehoming team to increase its capacity to foster, with the aim of adding 400 new foster homes to the service by the end of next year. Scotland’s animal welfare charity is now appealing to animal lovers to consider opening their hearts and homes to an animal in need by signing up to become a foster carer.

Anna O’Donnell, Scottish SPCA fostering and rehoming lead, said:

black kitten in carry box

“It is widely accepted in the animal welfare sector that a home environment is better for an animal’s rehabilitation than a kennel environment, which many animals find stressful. Anyone who fosters an animal is playing a massive part in getting that animal ready to find a permanent home.”

“And, on top of the significant benefits for the animal, it is a hugely rewarding experience for the people who foster too.

“If anyone is unsure about fostering we’d urge them to give it a go. You’ll be making a huge difference to the life of an animal and our team will be here every step of the way to support you.”

Fostering was initially piloted during the first lockdown when animals were unable to be rehomed. The service proved so successful that it was then trialled on a larger scale before being rolled out across the west of Scotland in 2022. To date, the service has largely been available in the central belt. Over 380 animals have benefitted from fostering since it launched, and the service currently has about 200 foster homes registered.

Any successful applicant is offered thorough online training so they can confidently foster, and expenses to cover the likes of food and veterinary treatment are provided.

Case study: Teddy the kitten

One animal who benefitted from the fostering scheme is Teddy the kitten who was brought into the care of the charity as a stray at only six weeks old.

He was in poor condition and wasn’t eating, so fosterer Rachel welcomed him into her home. Soon Teddy was a lot better and became a lively young kitten, but Rachel noticed that he had an unusual walk.

Scottish SPCA vets examined him and discovered that he had an air gun pellet in his rear leg, which had completely shattered his knee. Unfortunately, the leg couldn’t be saved and he had to have it amputated.

Rachel’s dedicated care meant that Teddy could fully recover in a safe home environment. He’s now a confident young cat who loves nothing more than a cat nap after hours of playing with his favourite toys!

To find out more about fostering and apply, visit the Scottish SPCA website at: www.scottishspca.org/fostering

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