SPCA New Zealand

Volunteer positions

Foster parent - dogs and puppies
Christchurch Centre

Foster parent - dogs and puppies

Many of the animals that come into our SPCA Centres across the country need additional care, treatment and socialisation before finding their new forever home.

Our volunteer foster parents provide a temporary home for these animals and help them recover from surgery, give them medicine for an illness, or work with them to improve their behaviour.

We currently urgently need foster parents to provide temporary homes for puppies and especially adult dogs.

Why foster an animal?

  • If you can only open your home on a temporary basis, fostering an animal is a great way to rescue an animal in need.
  • Every animal that you foster is given a second chance at life – and the more you foster, the more lives you can help save.
  • All SPCA foster parents receive training and ongoing support from our Centre Team.
  • We supply all food, bedding, toys and everything else to make the animals comfortable while staying in your home.

What you need to help:

  • Experience handling and training dogs
  • Ideally be at home for at least part of the day - this is because many of the dogs that are needing foster require socialisation and special training as many have never experienced a real home environment before. On average an animal will be staying with you between 3-6 weeks but this can differ depending on the animal you foster.
  • Spare room (not a must for dogs but recommended) – a safe and secure space away from other animals which could be a spare room, bathroom or laundry.
  • Written consent from your landlord – if you don’t own your home.
  • Care – most animals will require medication throughout their stay (training on how to medicate an animal is provided).
  • Transport – you will need your own transport 24/7 to bring foster animals to and from the centre or to an after-hours vet should your foster animal need emergency veterinary treatment in the middle of the night – some animals might need more than one visit (this is not required for large farm animals as we can help with transport to the foster home).
  • Availability for vet appointments – you will need to be able to bring the foster animal to vet appointments on weekdays.
  • Attend a foster information session at the centre before you start fostering.
  • Your love and patience.

​What does fostering involve?

Every animal has different needs, but a typical foster experience might include:

  • Filling out our application form and a quick follow-up phone interview with our foster team.
  • Property check by one of our centre team.
  • Attending an information session at our centre.
  • Pick up your foster animal and required supplies. We’ll give you food, bedding, toys, medicine and anything else it needs – some animals may also need a follow-up vet appointment.
  • For dog fosterers we also do a meet and greet with your resident dogs to ensure they are compatible with your potential foster dog.
  • Give your foster animal your love, care and patience, and introduce them to a real home life experience, rules and boundaries.
  • Complete daily monitoring records.
  • Return the animal back to the SPCA Centre when they have recovered.

Foster FAQs

Which animals need foster care?

We have lots of different animals that need foster care but are currently especially looking for fosterers for adult dogs and puppies.

Can I foster if I have my own animals?

Yes, we welcome pet owners as foster volunteers. Please keep in mind there is always a health risk when exposing your pets to other animals, in any setting. So we ask that your own animals be fully vaccinated.

Can I foster if I have a full-time job?

To foster dogs and puppies, you should ideally be at home for at least part of the day. This is because many of the dogs that are needing foster require socialisation and special training as many have never experienced a real home environment before.

How much time do I need to spend with my foster animals?

As much time as you possibly can. The more time you spend with your foster animals, the more you will help with their socialisation. You’ll also be able to spot signs that your animals are not feeling well, which in young puppies could be critical. Besides, it’s a lot of fun to play with your animals!

How long do animals stay in foster care?

The typical foster stay is between two weeks to a couple of months, depending on the need of the individual animal.

What expenses are involved with foster care?

Foster families are provided with all the food, bedding, equipment (such as litter trays) and medical expenses are covered for the animals in their care.

If you have any questions, please call us on 027 889 3441 or email christchurch.foster@spca.nz.

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