Fluvanna SPCA needs fosters and volunteers

By Page H. Gifford

The Fluvanna SPCA needs volunteers to help with a variety of volunteer jobs including fostering. The county-owned facility, similar to most rural animal shelters and rescues relies heavily on volunteers for a good portion of their operations.

The Fluvanna County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a non-profit organization founded in 1989. Their life-saving mission is to rescue domestic animals in Fluvanna County from cruelty, neglect, and abandonment and to place them in good, loving, permanent homes. As a small, rural, open-intake shelter, they have worked hard to achieve and maintain a no-kill philosophy.

For a shelter to achieve what is considered a no-kill, 90 percent of the cats and dogs coming into the shelter must be saved. Typically, no more than 10 percent of dogs and cats entering shelters are suffering from irreparable medical or behavioral issues that compromise their quality of life and prevent them from being re-homed.

Although the FSPCA may share some similar goals as the larger national organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals with regards to caring for animals in need, they are not directly affiliated with them and do not receive any financial support from these organizations apart from possible grants. 

Philanthropic support plays an essential role in ensuring that the animals at the shelter receive the care that they need and deserve.  The Board of Directors, committee members, volunteers, and staff are responsible for all FSPCA activities and are always striving to improve their operations and expand their services to the community. Community awareness and those willing to volunteer and foster are key to successful adoptions.

They receive their funding from Fluvanna County for providing the county’s public animal shelter services, and from donations, grants, and fundraising events. Many volunteers currently donate money, time, and supplies as well as writing grants and participating in fundraising events, such as the recent visit with students at the Fluvanna County High School, a supply drive at Long & Foster, and their annual rabies clinic at Pleasant Grove. Some take their special friend out on an outing or to visit a nursing home. There are so many options for volunteering.

The animals need volunteers to socialize them, foster them, train them, fund raise for them, write grants, and mostly understand them and their stories.

Taking them for a walk or playing with them, tells them that humans do care and are here for them and this simple act of kindness goes a long way in fostering their trust. It is even more gratifying when that dog or cat gets into their forever home.

Volunteers who foster animals require more patience and love when bringing animals into their homes but the reward comes when the animal is adopted into their permanent home

“Like volunteers, fosters can apply online if they can care for an animal in their home to give them a break from the shelter. They can also provide valuable information to the shelter about how a dog or cat adjusts to life in a home,” said Sarah Lloyd, FSPCA Volunteer Coordinator. Fosters sign an agreement with the shelter before taking a dog or cat into their temporary care. “They agree to keep the animal housed indoors, notify the shelter if there are any medical or behavioral concerns, and they must notify the shelter before they return the animal. The agreement is thoroughly reviewed before the foster leaves with the animal.”

Most of the animals that come through shelters are strays therefore their history is unknown. 

Lloyd added that “we are looking for opportunities to showcase our dogs to the public, especially in Fluvanna County. If any local businesses would like to have volunteers bring dogs for people to meet, please email volunteer@fspca.org to coordinate it.”

For those interested in volunteering or fostering, visit fspca.org and apply online.

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