The 5 FreedomsFebruary 3, 2020
Volunteers are the heart of the Tulsa SPCA, and some of our most dedicated volunteers are foster parents.
Fostering is temporarily opening up your home and your heart to a dog or cat until their permanent home can be found.
“The experience has been special to us.,” foster mom Veronique Ulrich said. “My roommate and I foster together. It’s been the highlight of our university experience.”
Nearly 300 Tulsa SPCA animals benefited from time in foster care in 2019. Many were bottle babies: kittens and puppies surrendered or found before they’re weaned from their mothers. Some were mothers with their litters. A handful were dogs or cats in recovery from a medical procedure. Some, like the dogs fostered by Ulrich and her roommate Helen Leigh, just need a break from the stresses of shelter life.
Ulrich is from Calgary, Canada, and Leigh is from Manchester, UK. They are University of Tulsa students who made arrangements with the university to house foster dogs in their on-campus apartment last year and this year.
“We wish we’d fostered dogs from the beginning,” Ulrich said.
The pair have learned a lot about life with a dog during their fostering experience.
“The advice I’d give to anyone starting out fostering is to be patient – especially with the puppies,” Ulrich said. “You have to have a massive open heart for these dogs.”
The roommates are currently providing a temporary home for Mara who is learning “how to dog” from the pair. PHOTO OF MARA WITH HER FOSTER FAMILY
“Each dog has such a personality,” Ulrich said. “Some of them have really tough back stories but they are still so loving. You can really tell that that they are grateful even though they can’t talk.”
The animals benefit greatly from the Tulsa SPCA foster program, and so do the foster families.
What do families get out of fostering?
- Supplies provided (Food, litter, crate, toys, etc.)
- Veterinary care free-of-charge (Vaccines, deworming, spay/neuter, parasite prevention, etc.)
- Support from Tulsa SPCA staff
- Foster family training
- A pet without a lifetime commitment
- Satisfaction of knowing you saved a life and helped the Tulsa SPCA care for an animal in need
- Companionship, cuddles and hours of entertainment
- Known health benefits of caring for a pet: lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety, increased happiness, etc.
One of the greatest benefits of fostering is that you can start or stop on whatever schedule is convenient for you.
“We’re both graduating this year,” Ulrich said. “Wherever I go next, I think I’ll foster dogs there.”
To volunteer as a foster family for the Tulsa SPCA, please email email@example.com or call (918) 428-7722 ext. 1031.
All year, we’re focusing on our foster program. If you have a Tulsa SPCA foster story to share, please send your story and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.