At the RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch we celebrate Mother’s Day a little differently than most. Some years ago we rebranded it Foster Mother’s Day! This year we want take a moment to shine a spotlight on some of our wonderful foster carers, who provide an invaluable service to the RSPCA. In this blog we feature Lison, who adopted a rabbit in 2019 and then a year later turned volunteer.
How long have you been fostering and what species do you foster?
I have been fostering rabbits since August 2020
What have you learnt?
I have learnt a lot about rabbit welfare and good husbandry. I was already an attentive pet owner but monitoring bunnies who came from difficult circumstances just brought it to the next level. I also learned about myself and how providing care and nurturing is important for me. Having the support of the RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch was invaluable in moments of doubt. I also learned that hay is very difficult to vacuum off carpet!
Tell us about your funniest experience fostering.
It’s hard to choose one! I think getting updates about Georgie, a beautiful ginger lionhead I fostered. With me she was the tidiest, cleanest girl in my care, but now she has a new hobby of completely digging out her litter tray. Also, discovering that foster rabbit Marcelline hated the voice of a particular podcast presenter and thumped furiously if I dared listen to it without headphones on!
What is the best thing about fostering?
Getting to know all these animals and their different mannerisms and personalities. I don’t think most people realise how each rabbit is truly an individual. Seeing an animal improve in health and happiness and seeing them thrive in their new homes is the most rewarding experience!
What has been your greatest heartbreak?
I have had two big heartbreaks. Finding out that Marcelline, a lovely neddie, was ill and had to be put to sleep just before she was going to meet her forever family; this was devastating. She had been through so much and her family were so looking forward to welcoming her. Fortunately, they adopted another bunny who had also come from dreadful circumstances and who is now the apple of their eyes. Getting updates from Pebbles in her new home and seeing her and her family so happy together is one of my happiest experiences fostering.
My other heartbreak was mini rex Othello. I immediately had a strong bond with him and we fell in love with each other instantly. Unfortunately, he was kept in such bad conditions previously that despite everyone’s best efforts he did not thrive and his health kept deteriorating. Saying goodbye to him when he was put to sleep was very sad, but I would like to think that we could make the last few weeks of his life much better happier than if he hadn’t come to us.
How many ‘foster fails’ have you got? (Foster fails are when a fosterer ends up adopting their foster animal!)
So far none. However, there is a very strong chance my current foster bunny will stay with us if he bonds with my existing rabbit. I would class Dwayne Dibley as the most impressive glow-up of all: he came in with urine-stained fur, very thin and stinky. He is now gorgeously fluffy and white and a great litter tray user! No wonder Puck (my bunny girl) is enamoured with him! (see picture below).