Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Humane Society Seeking Fosters

Posted on Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 12:36 PM

  • Photo by The Lucky Neko on Unsplash
The Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County (HSMSC) has a growing need for fosters — especially for kittens.

If you are among those who are now working from home or furloughed due to COVID-19, it may be a good time to consider helping an animal in need.

We spoke to the Humane Society's volunteer coordinator, Ashley Moore, and director of fundraising, Katherine Russell, regarding the current need. Here’s what they had to say.

Why is it important for people to foster?
Last month, our kitten intake was up 236 percent as compared to June 2019. We traditionally take in more kittens and puppies during warmer months but received three times the requests this year due to a variety of reasons related to COVID-19, such as limited facilities offering spay and neuter surgeries, as well as fewer shelter options for surrendering litters.

Since kittens are vulnerable to disease and illness, they cannot stay in the shelter environment. We rely on fosters to take care of and play with them until they are at least two pounds — the point at which they can receive vaccinations and other preventive veterinary care. With the help of foster families, we’re able to support vulnerable puppies and kittens while also limiting the number of animals we have in the shelter at any one time. This helps protect our staff during a time where social distancing and a healthy workplace are critical.

Any specific reasons a person would not qualify for fostering?
During our application process, we ask several qualifying questions to determine whether an individual or family is a good fit for our foster program. Generally, extensive time spent away from the home and rental situations where animals are disallowed would disqualify someone from participating. We encourage anyone who is interested to submit an application and talk with our adoption team about their situation to determine if they would be an ideal candidate for fostering animals in need.

How many kittens are currently available to adopt or foster?
We cannot take in kittens without potential fosters being ready. Once our foster coordinator has approved fosters ready and waiting, our intake staff alerts her of kittens ready to come in. Once the kittens are in the building for intake, fosters can pick them up. As kittens in foster homes grow, get their vaccinations, and are eventually adopted, those families are able to take in other kittens. The more fosters we have available, the more kittens we’re able to take in.

As of July 20th, we have 56 kittens in foster homes. Eight of those kittens are vaccinated, treated, and available for adoption.

What does fostering for HSMSC look like?
Prepare for two-four weeks of playing and caring for baby kittens while they grow and gain enough weight to enter the facility. This way, they’re able to receive their necessary immunization shots and are able to get spayed/neutered.

What’s the cost?
The Humane Society provides blankets, towels, toys, litter, food and medical needs, while fosters just love and play until the kittens are ready for adoption. The foster program ensures that everyone is provided the right tools to care for these animals, no matter their socioeconomic status.

How do we sign up?
To get involved, a foster application should be filled out and submitted. This application will ask whether the foster rents or owns their home, whether or not there are other animals or children in the home, and if they have experience fostering. Once the application is filled, we will match the applicant with kittens that fit their specific needs.

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