Battersea Dogs Home needs foster carers after Christmas
By JulieGK | Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 14:58
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is appealing to animal loving Londoners to help foster dogs and cats who were bought as Christmas presents and then discarded.
Battersea Dogs Home is looking for people to foster cats and dogs.
The charity is preparing for an increase in the number of dogs and cats in need of its help, which normally happens in March. Battersea believes this worrying trend is fuelled by animals who are bought as Christmas presents and then given up. To help care for the influx of new arrivals, the charity is currently recruiting dog and cat foster carers in the Greater London area. Fosterers take animals into their home and care for them while they recover from operations, or to give them a break from kennel or cattery life.
Last March 443 people contacted Battersea's Lost Dogs & Cats Line after finding a stray dog, which is a 17% increase compared to an average month. While some of the dogs were collected by dog wardens, many came to Battersea, and last March 307 dogs and puppies arrived at the London centre, which is up 13% on a normal month. Volunteer Manager Carly Whyborn explains: "We believe many of these strays were deliberately abandoned. Puppies and kittens are always very cute, but many people forget they will soon need training. Once they start scratching the sofa or chewing shoes and lose their novelty value, they are given up or discarded, leaving Battersea to pick up the pieces."
Battersea currently has 52 dog and 50 cat foster carers at its London centre, and hopes to recruit a further 25 of each by March. Anyone successfully applying to foster now should have their first foster animal in early Spring, just in time to help with the flood of new animals. Battersea hopes they will then continue fostering throughout the year.
Carly explains: "An increase in unwanted or abandoned pets understandably places a real pressure on Battersea. We hope Londoners will be able to help us transform the fortunes of these animals by fostering, which is incredibly rewarding, and can make a huge difference to the life of a dog or cat."
Fostering can be ideal for those who work part time or are only in the country temporarily, so are unable to adopt their own pet. Carly continues: "We carefully match the animal to a foster carer's level of experience, so they could be caring for a tiny abandoned kitten, or an elderly Staffie who is finding kennel life tough."
Ideal candidates need to have time to spend with their animal at home, a willingness to learn about animal behaviour and welfare, and be able to bring their foster animal to Battersea when needed. Battersea is particularly keen to hear from those interested in fostering Staffordshire Bull Terriers, as the breed often find kennel life stressful. Families with older children can be considered if the children are sensible and follow instructions.
All foster carers receive:
· Full training in dog or cat behaviour and welfare
· All the food, equipment and medication their foster animal needs
· Reimbursement of travel expenses
· Advice and support from Battersea's foster coordinators
· The benefits of owning a dog or cat on a temporary basis
· Dog fosters can increase their fitness levels through dog walking
· The opportunity to work with the most famous and best-loved animal rescue charity in the world