ANIMAL SERVICES: Dog co-ordinator Trish Giltinan makes Sawyer and Blossy feel welcome.
ANIMAL SERVICES: Dog co-ordinator Trish Giltinan makes Sawyer and Blossy feel welcome. Yvonne Gardiner

Fostering a love of pets

FOSTER carers are a "must-have” for the Northern Rivers Animal Services to do its work successfully.

The group is specifically in need of those wanting to foster the many cats that go through its adoption process.

NRAS president Jo Parker said all food and veterinary costs were met by the group, and its volunteers were always available to offer advice and assistance.

"Foster carers are a vital part of the NRAS organisation, to provide socialisation, love and care before animals are adopted,” she said.  

"One lady has seven cats of her own and at one point had seven of ours. Without her, we'd be in trouble.

"All animals in NRAS' care are flea and worm-treated, vet-checked, microchipped, vaccinated and desexed prior to being adopted.”

Jo explained why NRAS charged an "adoption fee”. 

"For these services alone, you could be looking at a cost upward of $450. Besides, a puppy or kitten will require two or more vaccinations and that is before considering the bill for bedding and food,” she said.

"NRAS is a completely self-funded, not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers and, while it has some amazing vet partners in the area that provide a charitable discount on these services, they still need to be paid for.”

NRAS secretary Vicki Kelly said the group formed in 2001 and bought the old council pound a couple of years ago.

"We have about 40 animal carers, 12 office workers and about 20 op shop workers,” Vicki said.

Dogs and cats come mainly from the Ballina Shire Council's new animal shelter next door.

Some are surrendered and others are found wandering.

NRAS holds regular "adoption days” for families looking for a dog or cat.

To find out more about becoming a foster carer or adopting a pet, go to 

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