SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Dakin Humane Society is in need of volunteers to serve as foster caregivers for vulnerable animals. The Springfield shelter is experiencing an increasing number of animals as the warmer months approach.

According to a news release from the Dakin Humane Society, before the pandemic, only 25 percent of animals received at Dakin went into foster homes, but has now doubled to 64 percent.

Many animals in Dakin’s care enter foster homes for a variety of reasons, including medical or behavioral conditions requiring treatment and resolution in a home setting, as well as pregnant animals who require immediate attention. Pets receiving one-on-one care may be able to overcome obstacles on their way to adoption.   

Rabbit shown in foster home. Courtesy of Dakin Humane Society.

“The face of foster is changing,” noted Dakin’s Director of Development and Marketing, Stacey Price.  “There used to be more opportunities to provide foster care for a cat or dog a few years back than there tend to be now, but there is often an anxious dog or an older cat saddened about the change in their environment who needs a loving person or family to take them in for a little while.  And ‘kitten season’ always kicks off in the spring and sometimes runs well into autumn.”

Price continued, “The shift in animal trends is visible at Dakin and in shelters throughout the northeast.  Previously, dog and cat overpopulation was the main problem we were trying to solve.  Now it’s delivering the specialized care needed for the animals brought to Dakin that tend to have medical and/or behavioral issues that require ‘above and beyond’ care.  Some of that we can provide in-house, but in other cases, it’s in the pet’s best interest to spend time in a loving home environment where people can give them the emotional support they need as they face new chapters in their lives.”

In the event that a Dakin foster volunteer is away on vacation or has another commitment, the foster pet will temporarily be placed with another caregiver on a temporary basis. Foster volunteers can impose time limits on their foster assignments if they so wish. Foster caregivers with appropriate levels of experience are matched with varying animal types.

“Adult cats with behavioral needs would tend to go home with an experienced foster, as would most dogs,” said Price.  “Our team will be sure to match new fosters with pets who are easy to care for, or that they have experience with.  For families with young children, fostering can be a very rewarding experience.  Parents can see how ready their children may be to have a pet of their own, and get to see them respond to an animal that needs their love and compassion.”

Foster related tasks include the following:

  • Weight-tracking
  • Giving Medications
  • Record-keeping physical and behavioral changes

To apply to be a foster caregiver click here.