Is foster volunteering right for you?

by | Interesting |

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is currently recruiting foster volunteers to assist its animal centres by temporarily providing a safe and nurturing environment in their home for animals in need.  

The Foster Program benefits animals who are not ready for adoption and are either too young, sick, injured, under socialized or stressed to thrive in the animal centre environment. Instead, animals are cared for in a nurturing foster home. We are currently looking for foster families who can care for pregnant cats and dogs and continue that care once their babies are born. There is also a need for foster volunteers who can care for animals requiring specialized medical care. 

Interested in becoming a foster volunteer? Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions to help you determine if becoming a foster volunteer is right for you: 

What experience do I need to foster? 

Fostering an animal is a rewarding experience. Seeing an animal thrive through love and care can bring so much joy as a caregiver! Every family member in the household will need to be prepared for the commitment and emotions involved with fostering. Experience in animal care, training and giving medications is helpful in becoming a foster parent. Foster parents must be at least 18 years old and be able to set aside time to socialize your foster animal and monitor their health. You also need reliable access to transportation to bring the animal to any necessary appointments.  

What will I need to provide my foster animal?  

To thrive, foster animals need a peaceful, loving environment. Daily care and interaction is a must to ensure their social, emotional and physical needs are met. That one-on-one time also gives the foster caregivers a chance to monitor the health and behaviour of the animal. For their comfort and well-being, foster animals will need a quiet space within the home that can be easily cleaned and segregated from other animals. From time to time, they will require routine health checks and veterinary appointments.  

What support is available to me? 

We want to ensure that the animals in foster care are happy and healthy, and that their caregivers are able to provide them with the necessary care. Foster pet parents receive a detailed animal care plan developed by Ontario SPCA and Humane Society animal centre staff. If questions come up, the animal centre staff are available to provide any resources or support required to ensure a successful foster placement. You’re never alone! The foster program coordinator will periodically check in to monitor the foster animal’s progress. 

How are people selected? 

Anyone interested in volunteering is invited to fill out an application form at  

Can people adopt the animals they foster? 

The purpose of the foster care program is to provide temporary housing for animals in loving homes until they are ready for adoption. There are times when a foster volunteer develops a special bond with a foster animal and considers adoption. If that happens, we work with the foster volunteer to help them officially adopt the animal.  

Are there other volunteer opportunities available?  

We encourage anyone interested in volunteering to keep an eye on our website for updates and opportunities.  

Is there a training process? 

All volunteers with the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society are encouraged to review our foster care manuals available to help guide volunteers, and our animal care team members are only a phone call away if any questions come up. 

Check out our Foster Manual for Cats & Kittens and our Foster Manual for Dogs & Puppies to learn more.  

What happens if a foster animal needs vet care? 

The team at your local Ontario SPCA animal centre are available to answer any non-emergency health questions that a foster volunteer might have. We also provide foster volunteers with online platforms that allow the foster to connect with a veterinarian virtually. We also work closely with local veterinary hospitals to provide any additional or urgent care that may be required.   

Does the Ontario SPCA send fosters home with all the food and supplies they need? 

Yes, all our foster families are provided with food, medication and other supplies the animal will require for their care. 

What are the benefits of becoming a foster volunteer? 

Being a foster volunteer gives you the opportunity to help animals by giving them the TLC they need to thrive while helping prepare them for life with a loving family. It is a rewarding experience that will light up your life  in ways you could never imagine, allowing you to spend time with some new furry friends. 

To give vulnerable animals the best opportunity at the second chance they deserve, we’re asking anyone who can help to join our team. For more information on becoming a foster volunteer, visit