The Victoria Humane Society is in desperate need of foster homes after an influx of new animals in recent months.
“We’ve suddenly been hit really, really hard. In May alone we took in 185 animals and in June we’re looking at probably just over 200,” said society executive director and Highlands resident Penny Stone. “It’s getting really heartbreaking when we have to turn animals away because we just don’t have fosters for them.”
Stone said the society has doubled the amount of animals it has taken in compared to last year. Most recently, the society welcomed 76 animals last Saturday and another 54 on Tuesday – about 75 per cent of which are cats and kittens, coming from Interior B.C. and up Island, as well as some from Regina as the humane society there is at capacity.
The society, which does not have a shelter and is completely foster based, currently has 55 foster homes which are full and are taking care of more than a dozen animals. Ideally, Stone would like to add another 20 to 30 foster homes to their roster so the society can match the animal to an appropriate home.
Depending on the animal and its needs, it could stay with foster homes for a couple of weeks or up to several months.
But being a foster home isn’t as easy as taking in the furry friends and cuddling with them, said Stone, noting a lot of work needs to be put into building a relationship with the animal first.
“With a lot of these animals, it’s going to take weeks to see progress. These animals have already been through traumatic experiences and they need to go somewhere where people are going to take the time and be patient with them,” said Stone, who currently has about 40 cats and kittens living at her home.
“People need to know it will take time for animals to come around and to accept them and to trust them and they just need to be patient.”
Despite some challenges, Stone said being a foster home for an animal in need can be incredibly fulfilling.
“The reality is if you’re a foster home, you’re saving a life,” she said. “There’s no better thing than being able to say today I saved a life. You’re making a difference in an animal’s life.”
Those interested in becoming a foster home can fill out the online application at victoriahumanesociety.com.