pets' lives saved since becoming no-kill in
January 2002

Hello! Woof! Meow!

(not required to
browse site)

search our site:

Like the Richmond SPCA on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  Read our blog on typepad
Dogs available for adoption  Follow the Richmond SPCA on tumblr  Cats available for adoption
Richmond SPCA YouTube channel  Check out our photos on flickr  instagram

Richmond SPCA

Humane Center

2519 Hermitage Road
Richmond, VA 23220

Adoption Hours
Mon. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.
Lora Robins Gift Shop Hours
Mon. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.

Donation Drop Off Hours
Mon. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.

Susan M. Markel
Veterinary Hospital

Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.

Admissions Hours
Mon. - Fri. by appointment.
Closed December 24-25.

Administrative Hours
Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.
Donate Today
Charity Navigator: Four Star Charity
Frequently Asked Questions about Richmond SPCA Foster Care VolunteerING

We have compiled some common questions that prospective foster care volunteers have, and this page is designed to provide potential volunteers with enough information to decide if foster care is a good volunteer match. If you have questions not answered here, please feel free to contact Allana Maiden by phone at 804-521-1313 or by e-mail at amaiden@richmondspca.org. Thanks!

Q. What are the requirements for a foster care volunteer?

  • Foster parents must be at least 18 years of age
  • Foster parents must fill out a foster care volunteer profile when signing up online for a foster care training session
  • Foster parents must attend a foster parent training session

    Q. How do I become a foster care volunteer?

    A. The first step in becoming a foster care volunteer at the Richmond SPCA is signing up for a Meet the FostersTM Training Workshop.

    Q. What types of pets are placed into foster care?

    A. The majority of dogs and cats in need of foster care are underage juveniles too small for spay or neuter surgery and long-term residents needing a break from the shelter. Other foster care candidates are animals recovering from or awaiting surgery (other than spay/neuter surgery), animals needing specific behavior training, and nursing moms and their offspring.

    Q. How long will I have my foster pet?

    A. The length of foster care needed is determined by the foster pet’s individual needs. Long-term residents needing a break from the shelter generally spend three to four weeks in foster care. Average length of foster care for underage juveniles and surgery recovery is between four and eight weeks.

    Q. How much care is involved in fostering? 

    A. The amount of care and time involved is dependant on each foster pet's needs. Bottle baby foster pets requiring through the night feeding require more involved care than an adult cat. Expectations of time and care will be discussed prior to placement of a foster pet in your home, and you will not be expected to foster any animal that does not fit into your lifestyle.

    Q. What do I need to provide as a foster parent?

    A. Any items a foster parent wants to provide or donate are greatly appreciated. However, the Richmond SPCA can provide all supplies needed (example: food, crate, toys, bedding). All medications, supplements, and vaccinations will be provided by, and must be administered by, Richmond SPCA medical staff. 

    Q. How will I receive my foster pet?

    A. Active foster care volunteers will receive periodic (weekly to monthly) e-mails with lists of pets in need of foster care. Volunteers who show an interest in any of these pets will be contacted about scheduling a pick up by our foster care coordinator. In cases of immediate need, active foster care volunteers may be contacted by telephone with a request to provide foster care for a specific dog or cat. 

    Q. Will children in my household affect my ability to provide animal foster care? 

    A. A lot of our foster care volunteers are also parents. Children in the home will be a factor in determining which pets are placed into your home, and for how long, but will not prevent you from volunteering in this capacity.

    Q. What if I already have pets in my home?

    A. A lot of foster care volunteers are also pet owners. This will be a factor in determining which pets are placed into your home, and for how long, but will not prevent you from volunteering in this capacity. Please note that foster pets must be kept separate from owned animals during the length of the foster stay, unless specifically given permission otherwise. If you are interested in fostering a dog and and have a dog at home, we will set up a time for the two to meet ahead of time to make sure everyone gets along. However, no unsupervised time is allowed between an owned dog and a foster dog for the safety of both animals.

    Q. What if I have never had a pet before or lack animal care experience?

    A. Not to worry, the Richmond SPCA will provide all necessary training and information regarding your foster pet’s care. Our workshops and pet specific training are designed to create confident foster parents resulting in a comfortable and rewarding foster experience.

    Q. Can I adopt my foster pet?

    A. If your foster pet is already available for adoption, or will become available for adoption after his or her spay/neuter surgery, then yes you may adopt your foster pet, at a 10% discount off our regular adoption fee. However, if the animal has not been cleared for adoption or will not become available for public adoption, the adoption of your foster pet may not be possible. Foster care volunteers are encouraged to discuss options with our foster care volunteer. If at any point before, during or after a placement you have questions about your ability to adopt your foster pet, please contact our foster care coordinator. 

    Q. What if my friends, family or neighbors want to adopt my foster pet?

    A.With the exception of kittens during kitten season (June, July, and August) foster parents are not allowed to adopt out, transfer, or place foster animals into other homes or with other individuals. Once a pet is returned to our center and is available for adoption, foster care volunteers are encouraged to let their friends and family know. If at any point before, during or after a placement you have questions about your foster pet's adoption availability, please contact our foster care coordinator. 

    Q. What if my foster placement is not going well due to behavior or health issues?

    A. If a foster pet isn’t meshing with your household you are encouraged to contact our foster care coordinator. Dependant on the situation, a training session can be scheduled, medication can be prescribed for illness, or a return can be scheduled. No foster parent will be expected to keep an animal they are uncomfortable caring for.

    Q. What if there is an emergency?

    A. Our foster care coordinator is available by phone 24 hours a day. Foster care volunteers are given an emergency cell phone number to call if an emergency occurs after the shelter is closed for the day. Instructions will be given in the event of an after hours emergency, with guidance from our veterinarian.


Q. What if I am going out of town while I am fostering?

A. There are several options available if you need to go out of town and are currently fostering. You may bring the pet back to our center and pick them up after they return. A fill-in foster placement can be arranged with another foster care volunteer. Or, local pet sitting services can be arranged to visit your home and care for the foster pet while you are away.         

Q. What are the terms and conditions of fostering?

A. The foster parent must understand that the animal belongs to the Richmond SPCA and that this title is not being conveyed to you as part of this foster care arrangement and that the control of this animal or animals remains with the Richmond SPCA. The foster parent must agree to provide the animal loving care, including at a minimum: adequate food, adequate water, adequate shelter that is properly cleaned, adequate space for the particular type of animal depending upon its age, size, species and weight, and adequate exercise. The foster parent also agrees to follow Richmond SPCA instructions related to transportation and provision of veterinary care in order to prevent suffering and/or disease transmission. The foster parent understands that medicines and other supplies provided by the Richmond SPCA are for use with Richmond SPCA foster care animals only and that these medicines and supplies are not to be administered to animals for which the Richmond SPCA does not hold title or to any animal for which it was not prescribed. The foster care parent understands that all emergency and after-hours veterinary care must be authorized in advance by a representative of the Richmond SPCA.  You agree to personally incur the cost for any such treatment for which you have failed to receive pre-authorization by the Richmond SPCA. The foster parent understands and acknowledges that you do not have title to the foster animal to which you are providing care, and therefore, you have no right or authority to keep, adopt, transfer, or place foster animals in other homes or with other individuals. The foster parent agrees that every Richmond SPCA dog or cat for which you provide foster care must be physically returned to the Richmond SPCA by a date set by the Richmond SPCA or at any time upon the request of the Richmond SPCA.  You also agree to return the animal(s) to the Richmond SPCA immediately should circumstances arise that preclude you from being able to provide the animal with adequate care as described above. The foster parent agrees to provide information and materials (such as temperatures, weight measurements, fecal samples, etc.) related to the animal to Richmond SPCA staff when requested. You agree to hold the Richmond SPCA harmless from any direct or consequential damages arising out of this foster care arrangement. The foster parent acknowledges that the Richmond SPCA may terminate a foster care arrangement at any time in its sole discretion. The foster parent must certify that no person residing in the household where the animal will be fostered has ever been charged with or convicted of animal cruelty, neglect or abandonment or domestic abuse. The foster parent also understands that no animal may ever leave the control of the Richmond SPCA without having first been spayed or neutered.