Saving Lives

More than 7000 animals are placed in foster care in Queensland each year. At the same time, demand for animal hospital and shelter services continues to grow.

RSPCA must continue to expand its foster family network, and ensure more animals like Lulu can continue to access the intensive rehabilitation, love and support they need to get them through their darkest days.

RSPCA Queensland’s Foster Care program is a life-saving program that places injured and sick animals with high care needs in the homes of specially trained foster families who Save Lives.

By providing extra care and support, typically on leaving the vet hospital, these remarkable and often invisible heroes play an essential role in rehabilitating sick, traumatised and unwanted pets so they can be ready for adoption. 

Animals in foster care receive the extra time and space they need to recuperate away from the stress of the shelter environment. Every animal in a loving foster home is also one less animal staff and volunteers must attend to in shelter creating much needed space for other sick and abandoned pets arriving on our doorstep in need of help for the first time.

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Lulu is one pet who was able to find her happy ending through the foster program. A sweet and trusting tan and white female Boxer, Lulu was rescued from a life of starvation and neglect and placed in the care of dedicated foster hero Marion when a tip-off from a concerned neighbour about a malnourished dog was reported to the RSPCA 1300ANIMAL Emergency Hotline.

Inspector Laurie Stageman, the officer dispatched to rescue Lulu, recalls the moment he first saw her: 

“As I approached I could tell immediately something was wrong. Lulu was severely emaciated, and her ribs clearly visible. Her little body could not stop trembling from the effort standing. I rushed her to the vet so she could be examined and fed as it was clear to me she would not have been able to endure much longer.”

Lulu weighed just 16kg when she arrived at the RSPCA Animal Emergency Hospital. She was severely underweight for a dog of her age, size and breed. It is hard to believe anyone could have let her get into such a state.

When it looked like Lulu was over the worst, the decision was taken to place in the care of Marion and her dedicated foster family.

Lulu spent many months with Marion, returning to the hospital for regular check-ups. Lulu needed to be fed four times a day at regular intervals – at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm – so she also accompanied Marion to work much to the delight of her colleagues!

Reflecting on the day she first saw Lulu, Marion said:

“Everyone at the shelter knows I just love Boxers so when the photo of Lulu came through I knew she would be coming home with me. She was all tucked in, and so scared and frightened. I knew she deserved so much better than the life she had been dealt. We have lots of space at home, and if I can give an innocent animal a happy place for a little while then that is what I will do.”

Foster families are the unseen heroes of our shelters. These remarkable volunteers provide much needed love and support for animals who need temporary special care prior to becoming available for adoption. 


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