Dakin Seeking Foster Caregivers
by Lee Chambers
Dakin Humane Society is looking for volunteers to serve as foster caregivers for its animals, according to Executive Director Carmine DiCenso.
“Spring and summer are the seasons when our animal population really soars here at Dakin and many animals will need foster care for a variety of reasons,” he stated. “Some adult cats and dogs may experience depression or become very fearful, and they will be soothed by staying in a temporary home environment. Others of all ages may be recovering from a medical issue, plus there will be litters of newborn kittens who require overnight attention until they’re old enough to move on to our adoption floor. Whatever the reason, any animal who needs that extra care will usually thrive in a foster home.”
The first step to becoming a foster caregiver is to attend a Foster Orientation meeting. Dakin will hold a Foster Orientation at 171 Union Street in Springfield on:
Minimum Age: For everyone! Primary foster parent(s) must be 18 years or older, however, children are very welcome to assist with foster care when safe and appropriate. Primary foster parent must have transportation.
Commitment Level: You choose! You can decide to foster anywhere from two weeks to two months or more. And you can choose to foster just one time or many, many times. The more you foster, you more lives you help save!
If you have questions about fostering please contact Jen Good-Schiff at 413-781-4000 x 112 or contact us by email.
According to DiCenso, more than 1,400 Dakin animals went into foster care in 2016. That number represents dogs, cats and small animals that typically include rabbits, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets and more. The length of time required to foster an animal varies from a few days to several weeks, depending on the animal’s condition and the rate of their recovery, but foster caregivers can choose the length of their desired commitment.
Fosters are contacted by Dakin staff when an animal has been identified that needs help. They will take the pet into their home and work with the staff to understand any medical and nutritional needs. There may be occasional medical check-ins for which the animal needs to be brought to Dakin’s Adoption & Education Center in Springfield, and all medical expenses are covered by the organization. The foster caregiver provides food, litter and other supplies for the pet. When the animal is deemed healthy, they are returned to Dakin where they take their place on the adoption floor.
In 2016, Dakin launched its Special Agent Program, in which fosters take an optional extra step by finding an adopter for their foster pet by utilizing their own networking skills, especially social media. The Program was funded in part by a grant from the ASPCA, which recognized the Special Agent Program on a national level.
“There are so many reasons to become a foster caregiver,” said DiCenso. “First and foremost, you’re saving lives. Dakin can’t be a twenty-four hour operation, and some of the more delicate of our foster animals might require care every few hours. Others who find the shelter environment too stressful stay healthy through foster care.”
Fostering can also be a helpful indicator of a person or family’s readiness to adopt a pet at a later point. According to DiCenso, “For anyone, it’s a great way to learn about the responsibilities that come with animal care.”