SPCA New Zealand

Volunteer positions

Foster parent - small animals and large animals
Auckland Centre

Foster parent - small animals and large animals

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 need foster parents to provide temporary homes for rabbits, guinea pigs and large animals.

Please note that we are currently not taking or processing applications for cat/kitten or dog foster parents. Please submit these applications in the first quarter of 2019.

Please help by applying today.

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 foster department
  • Our vets perform health checks and provide medicine as required.

What you need to help with small animals?

  • Time – on average an animal will be staying with you between 3-6 weeks but this can differ depending on the type of animal you foster and each individual animal’s circumstances
  • Accommodation – foster parents will need to provide their own suitable accommodation for their foster animals, such as a large indoor or outdoor hutch or a secure indoor playpen. If you are going to house the foster animals outside, a fully fenced section is required.
  • Experience – fosterers need to have some experience with rabbits and guinea pigs; we will also provide you with a full foster manual and ongoing assistance.
  • 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 – foster parents will need their own transport 24/7 to bring foster animals to and from the centre or to an after-hours vet should foster animals need emergency veterinary treatment. Some animals might need more than one visit to the vet.
  • Availability for vet appointments – foster parents must be able to bring the foster animal to vet appointments on weekdays (this is not required for large farm animals as vet appointments take place at the foster home)
  • Your love and patience

What you need to help with large animals?

  • Time – on average an animal will be staying with you between 3-6 weeks but this can differ depending on the type of animal you foster and each individual animal’s circumstances.
  • Experience – fosterers need to have some experience with the type of large animal they would like to foster. All farm foster animals will need socialisation.
  • Rural property – foster animals need to be housed rurally.
  • Space – foster properties need to have at least one acre for their foster animals.
  • Fencing – paddocks must be fully fenced with fencing suitable for securely containing the type of large animal they would like to foster.
  • Shelter – foster goats must be provided a three-sided shelter.
  • Written consent from your landlord – if you don’t own your home.
  • 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 to make sure fostering is right for you.
  • Property check by one of our Field Officers (large animals only).
  • Pick up your foster animal and required supplies (transport to and from foster is provided for large animals).
  • Give your foster animal your love, care and patience, and introduce them to a real home life experience.
  • Complete daily monitoring records.
  • Return the animal back to the SPCA Centre when they have recovered or are scheduled for return.

​Foster FAQs

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. Rabbits and guinea pigs need to be housed separately from resident pets.

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

It depends on the flexibility of your job and your schedule, and the animal you would like to foster. Most of our foster parents do work full-time, but are able to spend time with their foster animals before and after work. It is, however important that you are able to accommodate vet visits in your schedule if a foster animal is ill and needs to be seen by a vet.

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 some cases could be critical. Besides, it’s a lot of fun to play with foster 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?

All medical expenses are covered for animals in foster care. Large animal foster parents will also have food for their foster animals provided but we ask rabbit and guinea pig fosterers to supply their own grass, fruits and vegetables.

If you have any questions, please contact our foster team on 09 256 2525 , or email us on auckland.foster@spca.nz.

Please note that we are currently not taking or processing applications for cat/kitten or dog foster parents. Please submit these applications in the first quarter of 2019.

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