SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Foster care is an integral part of the shelter system, a topic KCBS’ Jeff Bell discusses with Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at the San Francisco SPCA.

Aldridge said that when an animal comes to them either too young or not healthy enough to be immediately adopted, foster volunteers nurse the animals back to health in their homes. This opens up more than a thousand spaces in the shelter every year for animals who are immediately available for adoption.

He said they especially rely on volunteers during “kitten season,” which is May-October, when the shelter receives an influx of kittens too young to be immediately adopted.

The SPCA also has a foster hospice program called “Fospice,” which is a program that allows volunteers to open their homes to animals diagnosed with terminal illness. They can live out their final days in a loving home. All food and medical costs are covered by the San Francisco SPCA and volunteers work closely with shelter staff to ensure the animal’s comfort and well-being.

Older cats make up the majority of Fospice patients, although there are dogs in the program as well. And while it can be emotionally challenging to take home a terminally ill animal, Fospice parents said they find helping these animals live out their lives in comfort and dignity is extremely rewarding.

Dr. Aldridge said that if you are interested in taking part in fostering, all foster parents receive comprehensive training to prepare them for the experience as well as support from the SF SPCA. The organization also provides resources such as food, veterinary care and a Foster Care Hotline.

Animal Update airs on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM on Sundays at 1:35 p.m., 3:35 p.m., and 9:21 p.m.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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