Tuesday 1 June 2021
This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), much-loved animal charity Battersea has been joined by one of its many famous friends to thank the special army of foster carers that has helped to care for abandoned or unwanted dogs and cats during the past 15 unprecedented months.
Ashley Roberts of Pussycat Dolls fame is just one of around 250 foster carers that help look after animals for Battersea, giving them a loving temporary home until they are ready to go and live with their new, permanent families.
The Heart Radio presenter says, “I had the absolute pleasure of fostering a kitten for Battersea during lockdown. Little Danny was a great companion – he brightened up long days spent at home, and I loved watching him grow into a confident young cat before my eyes. I can’t say a little piece of my heart didn’t go with Danny when he went to live with his new family but knowing I had been his temporary mom and given him a home environment in which he could flourish was an amazing feeling.”
In the two weeks leading up to the first lockdown in March 2020, Battersea’s foster carers rallied into action and over 160 animals were placed into temporary homes. The charity’s historic gates were closed to the public for the first time ever, but the huge effort shown by volunteer foster carers ensured that the skeleton team of staff remaining at Battersea’s centres could continue to care for emergency cases and animals with nowhere else to go.
With volunteers very much front of mind this week, the charity is keen to thank all of the dedicated foster carers who helped care for a total of 699 dogs and cats last year.
It’s not just during times of crisis that volunteer foster carers provide their vital service to help Battersea’s dogs and cats. Most animals that end up at rescue centres are there through no fault of their own – it’s often that their owner’s circumstances have changed, and they’ve done absolutely the right thing by handing them over to an organisation like Battersea. All year round, people of all ages and occupations dedicate their time and love to help rescue animals that may benefit from being placed in a foster home.
For busy celebrities like Ashley and many other foster carers registered at Battersea, fostering allows them to care for rescue animals without the full-time commitment needed to take on a pet. They generously give up their time to look after animals who need a little extra love and help until they are ready to be adopted, whether it’s abandoned newborns needing round-the-clock bottle feeding, those that find kennel life overwhelming, animals with medical needs or pregnant mums that need a quiet and calm home environment in which to deliver and nurse their puppies or kittens.
Battersea’s Head of Volunteering, Fostering and Communities, Charlotte Fielder, says, “For many rescue animals, finding themselves suddenly in kennels or a cattery can be quite a worrying experience, so fostering means they can be looked after in a more familiar setting and have round-the-clock care if needed. There is an amazing army of foster carers at Battersea. Some have fostered hundreds of animals and some are only just starting out, but on behalf of every dog and cat they’ve cared for, I would personally like to say a big thank you this Volunteers’ Week to each and every one of them.”
It’s a sentiment mirrored by Ashley, who says, “I truly believe that all those who foster animals for Battersea are incredible human beings. The unconditional love that they give dogs and cats in need is a beautiful thing and, having experienced how bittersweet it is to say goodbye to the furry friend you’ve been taking care of, I believe all foster carers deserve to be thanked this Volunteers’ Week for all that they do.
“Knowing you’ve helped an animal on its journey to a better life is probably enough of a reward for most foster carers, but I think they need a special shout out. Without their help, organisations like Battersea would simply not be able to help as many dogs and cats as they do. From one newbie foster carer to the rest, thank you!”