The DSPCA is urging animal lovers to consider opening their home in the new year to a growing legion of pets needing a temporary home.
The animal welfare charity based in Rathfarnham, South Dublin, was able to find permanent homes for almost 1,500 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens among 2,680 animals it rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment this year - writes herald.ie.
But to ease the growing burden on the shelter's limited resources, it is appealing to the public to consider fostering a pet.
While there is a permanent list of around 50 foster families from the greater Dublin area that routinely take in dogs, cats, puppies and kittens for short periods, DSPCA co-ordinator Lorna Swift says the organisation could always use more.
"We're looking for foster families year-round, but there is a heightened need in 'kitten season' from April to October," she said. The vast majority of foster animals were "normal, everyday" dogs and cats, she added.
Though some may have been injured or abused and need special care by experienced fosterers, the bulk are puppies and kittens whose numbers can overwhelm the shelter's capacity at peak times.
The foster programme, which has been in operation for a decade at the farm-like facility in the Dublin mountains, is a great solution for both DSPCA and foster family, she said.
"Typically, a puppy or kitten will be sent to a foster family for a few weeks in between their initial vaccination and booster shots, to free the kennels for other animals," she said.
Fosterers are given free pet food, cat litter and trays, toys, medicine and other supplies in exchange for giving the animals a home and love and care for a few weeks. They may then choose to home permanently.
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