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Fostering Small Mammals - The Pet Foster Network

By Anthony Richardson,2014-11-16 14:13
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    2323 55 Street

    Boulder, CO 80301-2806

    FOSTER VOLUNTEER

    HANDBOOK

    A Reference Guide for

     Rabbit/Small Mammal

     Foster Care Volunteers

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     Table of Contents

    Emergency Numbers .................................................................. 4 History of the Foster Program ................................................... 5 Job Description and Responsibilities ......................................... 6

    Foster Volunteer Duties .............................................................. 8 Suggested Fostering Supplies ..................................................... 9 Animal Proofing Your Home ................................................... 10 Fostering House Rabbits........................................................... 11 Rabbit Housing ......................................................................... 13 Basic Diet for a Healthy Rabbit................................................ 14

    Vegetables ................................................................................. 15 Litter box Training ................................................................... 17 Restraint and Handling ............................................................ 18 Grooming…………………………………………………………19

    Nail Trimming .......................................................................... 20 Medical ...................................................................................... 21 Fostering Injured or Surgery Recovery Rabbits ..................... 22

    Fostering Ill Rabbits ................................................................. 23 Spay and Neuter of Rabbits ...................................................... 24 Rabbit Care After Surgery ....................................................... 25 Fostering Small Mammals ........................................................ 26 Fostering Rats ........................................................................... 27 Fostering Gerbils ...................................................................... 29 Fostering Hamsters ................................................................... 31 Fostering Guinea Pigs ............................................................... 33 Return and Adoption of Foster Animals .................................. 35

    Suggestions for Cleaning Procedures ....................................... 37

    Education Opportunities .......................................................... 38

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     Emergency Numbers

    Humane Society of Boulder Valley th2323 55 Street, Boulder, CO 80301

    303-442-4030 extension 0

    Mon-Fri 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sat-Sun - 11 a.m. 5 p.m.

    Foster Department Extension 697

    If no one answers in the Foster Department, you can press "0" and have a department staff member paged

    Behavior & Health Coordinator Extension 657

    Shelter Manager Extension 698

    Humane Society of Boulder Valley Veterinary Clinic

    303-443-8102 or 303-442-4030, press 2 for clinic

    Mon - Fri - 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sat 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed Sunday

    After Hours:

    Kristen Nickodemus, Foster Care Coordinator. - 303-499-1475

    Bridgette Chesne, Shelter Manager - 303-684-8142

    Dr. Joan Primeau, Staff Veterinarian - h- 303-651-1602 cell-720-319-7155 Numbers to call only if you cannot reach any Society Staff Member

    Boulder Emergency Pet Clinic 303-440-7722 (authorized to stabilize only)

    Poison Emergency - 303-629-1123 (people) or 1-800-332-3073 (animals)

    Notify the Foster Department or the

    Society immediately if a foster animal

    becomes lost!

    This page should be copied and kept where it will be handy.

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_ History of the Foster Program

    Our Foster Program began informally in 1984, when a group of twelve dedicated employees committed themselves to save the lives of special needs animals at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. Those pioneer volunteers fostered 50 animals the first year.

    Throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, the program was managed mostly by volunteers and grew slowly. In 1995, the first part-time Foster Care Coordinator was hired. That year, the Foster Department helped 481 of the 5,309 animals that came to the Society. In 1996, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley reached its goal of 100% placement of adoptable animals, largely through the efforts of the Foster Program. The Foster Department remains a cornerstone program for the Society and saves thousands of animal’s lives. As the number of animals that HSBV sees increases annually, so does the number of animals that need foster homes. Each year, our numbers continue to grow, as does the need for volunteers to help save lives.

    Welcome to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley's Foster Program. Your volunteer contributions allow us to continue our fight against the euthanasia of adoptable animals and to make a difference in the lives of even more companion animals.

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     Job Description and Responsibilities

    Major Objective To ensure a nurturing environment in the comfort of your own home which will allow the fostered animals to grow, heal, socialize and become or remain adoptable.

    Responsibilities Feed, socialize, groom, and medicate animals.

    Ensure the animal's safety and respond to the animal's needs. Isolate foster animals from your own companion animals when necessary. Ensure that your companion animals are current on vaccinations and are spayed or neutered.

    Observe and report any problems with the animal to the Foster Department staff. Maintain confidentiality regarding foster animals and their situations. Return the animal to the Society at the appropriate time. Comply with the Society's philosophies and policies and act as a Society representative.

    Required Orientation and Training Complete a volunteer application and attend a

    Volunteer Information Session. Interview with staff in the Volunteer Department. You must also complete a foster volunteer application and attend Foster Orientation. Annual Inspection Have an annual home visit by Foster Department representative. Foster homes are considered an extension of the Shelter and must be inspected annually. A written record of that inspection must be available for review.

    The inspection will include:

    Food storage (no bags on the ground, closed container)

    Disease control (i.e. is home clean?)

    Where foster animal is housed

    Commitment A minimum completion of three foster care contracts or a six-month period.

    Supervision Direct supervision will be by the Foster Department. Behavior and Health Coordinators and Clinic Veterinary staff may give technical supervision.

    Please call the Foster Department regularly with updates on

    foster animals.

    Foster@boulderhumane.org

    or

    303-442-4030, extension 697

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     Placement into Foster Care

    Placement After a Veterinarian or Behavior and Health Coordinator have found an animal in need of a foster home, the Foster Department staff contacts available volunteers. As many volunteers as possible are called to ensure that the animal is quickly placed. We ask that these calls be returned as soon as possible, even if you are unable to foster at the time of the call.

    Foster Agreement When you arrive at the Society, you will sign a Foster Agreement and pick up the animal and any supplies needed. You will receive a copy of your agreement. If you cannot fulfill the entire foster term (due to scheduling restraints, vacations, or unforeseen events), contact us as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made for another foster home or for the animal to be returned to the Society. For

    temporary care of just a few days, we may be able to keep the animal at the Shelter. Veterinary Appointments You will be informed of any veterinary check up or

    spay/neuter appointments.

    Animal Return Please call the Foster Department to schedule a time for returning the animal.

    Responsibility Foster animals must stay in the immediate care and residence of the foster volunteer. Leaving your foster animal in anyone else’s care is prohibited, unless

    specific arrangements have been made with the Foster Department. If you are unable to care for a foster animal for the entire length of the foster agreement, notify the Foster Department as soon as possible so that alternate arrangements can be made.

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     Foster Volunteer Duties

    Daily Duties

    Feed - may be necessary 2 times a day

    Clean bowls

    Supply fresh food and water, remembering to always have grass hay available for rabbits. Clean area where animal urinates and defecates; check for problems (bloody urine, runny stools)

    Groom or accustom the animal to being groomed.

    Check entire animal thoroughly for symptoms of health problems, especially after any surgery - can be done while grooming. See “Medical Problems” section, page 38.

    Play with and socialize animal.

    As Needed Duties

    Weigh rabbits once a week if necessary.

    Check regularly to ensure that all medical schedules are met and make appointments with Foster Department - may require trips to Shelter.

    Clean bedding weekly or more often.

    Trim nails Accustoms the animal to having its feet handled.

    Schedule spay/neuter surgery and recovery during foster period, if applicable. Please

    call the Foster Department when the surgery has been scheduled.

    Purchases

    Purchases made for foster animals are considered donations to the Shelter and are tax-deductible. Keep your receipts! Bring your receipts to the Foster Department, and a Foster Care Coordinator will complete a donation form for tax purposes for you.

    Discounted food for Foster Volunteers is available through the Pet

    Supply & Training Center and the Sonnyside Retail Center. Ask

    the Foster Department staff for more information.

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     Suggested Fostering Supplies

    Scale for weighing Soft, non-ravel blankets or towels Newspaper Ceramic or other weighted bowls

    Stain/odor remover Toys

    Brushes and nail clippers Notebook

    Pill applicator

    Rabbits

    Supplies

    Roomy cage - non wire bottom Comb and brush

    Litter box Pellet bowl

    Water bottle Toys, including chewy ones

    Dust-free litter (pellets, corn cob No Cedar shavings)

    Broom/dustpan

    Food

    Fresh pellets and hay (alfalfa if under one year or underweight, timothy if older than a

    year or normal to heavy weight)

    In small amounts: salad veggies*, fruit*, barley, oats, crackers, nuts, wood, multiple enzymes (papaya tablets).

    Small Mammals

    Supplies

    Cage or aquarium with a secure screen lid

    Untreated wood shavings for bedding (no cedar!)

    Safety exercise wheel (no guillotine-type stand), tubes, chew toys, including paper towel and toilet paper rolls

    Water bottles

    Cotton balls

    Food

    No sticky foods like peanut butter - they cannot vomit and may choke

Seed mixes that are specific to each species, rats can also eat rodent lab chow

    In small amounts: salad veggies*, fruit*, barley, oats, crackers, nuts, wood.

    *Avoid vegetables and fruits that are mostly water-based iceberg lettuce,

    grapes, watermelon, etc. These can cause diarrhea. Fresh lawn grass and

    weeds can be dangerous because of possible pesticides.

    Please do not feed animals through the cage wire.

    We do not want the animals to mistake fingers for tasty treats!

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     Animal Proofing Your Home

    Animals are curious creatures. Many are capable of jumping onto high surfaces or squeezing into small spaces. Rabbits love to chew everything!

    To protect a foster animal in its new environment and to safeguard your belongings,

    it is necessary to animal proof your house.

    Kitchens/Bathrooms

    Keep medications, cleaners, chemicals, and laundry supplies on high shelves. Check for and block any small spaces, nooks, or holes inside cabinetry, behind washer/dryer units, under bathroom cabinets or dishwasher and between cabinets and floors.

    Keep foods out of reach (even if the food isn't harmful, the wrapper could be). Living/Family Room

    Place dangling wires from lamps, VCRs, TVs, stereos, and phones out of reach. Keep children’s toys put away.

    Block all those places where your vacuum cleaner doesn't fit, the same as for kitchens/bathrooms

    Move houseplants (many can be poisonous) - out of reach.

    Make sure all heating/air vents have a cover.

    Remove dangerous items, like string and pins. Put away all sewing and craft notions, especially thread.

    Garage

    Foster animals should not be housed in a garage. There are too many chemicals and unsafe items located there. However, animals may find their way into the garage at some time.

    Move all chemicals to high shelves or behind secure doors.

    Clean up all antifreeze from the floor and driveway - one taste can be lethal to an

    animal.

    Bedrooms

    Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors (drawstrings and loose buttons can cause major problems).

    Move electrical and phone wires out of reach of chewing.

    Potentially Dangerous Situations

    Closet and bedroom doors Open doors to the outdoors (escape)

    Open dryer doors Open cabinet drawers

    Computer wires (electrocution or strangulation) Folding chairs

    Stairways, if animal is in an exercise ball

    Never underestimate an animal's abilities. Accidents Happen!

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