Katie Thurbon, Volunteer and Foster Manager
Hi, I’m Katie Thurbon, Volunteer and Foster Manager at Great Plains SPCA. Thank you for your interest in volunteering! Volunteers are essential to our mission of providing a better life for pets and the people who love them. We have hundreds of dedicated volunteers who expand our impact in the community and enhance the lives of homeless pets through a variety of avenues.
Specifically, our Foster Care Program gives us the opportunity to save more pets in our community and is an integral part of what we do. Not all pets we serve are able to stay in the shelter for medical or behavioral reasons, so we turn to dedicated volunteer fosters to open their hearts and their homes while we finish treatment for the pet or search for their “furever” home. Please read the FAQ’s below to find out if fostering with Great Plains SPCA is right for you!
Featured Great Plains SPCA Fosters
Julie AdkinsJulie Adkins is a new foster to Great Plains SPCA but has made all the difference in the life of miss Callie the cat. Callie was transferred to Great Plains from an outdoor living situation where the guardian thought she was pregnant. It turned out that Callie was simply a bit plump but also, as Julie discovered, had an injury that caused her to limp. Thanks to Julie, Callie is now on some medication to help with the old injury and has been able to show her true personality in the foster home. In the shelter, Callie was extremely scared and stressed. Now, Callie’s nickname is Cali-Roo because she pops up onto her back paws to lean into your pets even more.
“I enjoy fostering because I know that undersocialized animals need a chance and a place to be rehabilitated in order to find a forever home, and participating in that is very fulfilling.” – Julie Adkins, Foster of the Month, March 2021
Kathi was nominated by a fellow volunteer for the short-term fosters (aka furloughs) she does with the most stressed-out dogs at the shelter. Over the 15 years Kathi has volunteered and fostered with Great Plains, she has acquired an advanced skill set in canine behavior modification that makes her especially effective at helping dogs become better versions of themselves. Kathi also often stays in close contact with the adopers of her former foster dogs, further ensuring their success in their adoptive homes.
“I have brought home shy/fearful dogs that have hid in the corner (literally) when I brought them home. I have brought home snapping dogs and many high arousal dogs. To watch them become the dogs they really are is why I enjoy fostering and seeing them continue to flourish in their forever homes – priceless. Fostering saves lives and I encourage ALL to try it!” – Kathi Thies, Foster of the Month, March 2021
Ba SteinBa has been a big part of the Great Plains SPCA volunteer team since 2015, and started fostering in 2018 when a hospice dog named Rutherford stole her and her partner Josh’s hearts. Since then, they’ve fostered a handful of other pets, most recently assisting a pregnant dog named Coco give birth and raise five beautiful daughters.
“I love to foster because I believe it’s such an important piece of a homeless dog’s journey to their forever home, particularly for dogs with medical or behavioral challenges. I especially love the seniors. I will never forget our hospice foster dog Burt. Despite his physical challenges, he was the happiest and most perfectly behaved dog I’ve ever had. He lived life with us to the fullest for 9 months. We adored him!” – Ba Stein, Foster of the Month, February 2021
Barb and Glenn BeckerditeBarb and Glenn Beckerdite have fostered with Great Plains SPCA since 2013.They are always open to foster whatever feline needs it the most! They are currently caring for Delilah, a cat with chronic ringworm.
“We are surprised, honored and humbled at being chosen Fosters of the Month. Thank you everyone. We have been fostering for GPSPCA around 7 years. Each litter of kittens and adult cats we foster is always the sweetest, cutest and our favorite. Glenn would keep them all if he could & he does try. We cared for Victoria, a surrendered older hospice cat. She was only thought to live a couple of months but we had her for six glorious ones. Gyps is another foster love with a skin condition who went to a rescue in Pennsylvania last year. Delilah is currently our favorite. She is such a sweet girl despite all she’s been through and needs a loving home to run and play in. Delilah’s speedy recovery could not have been possible without the wonderful support of the Vet, techs and other staff.” – Barb and Glenn Beckerdite, Fosters of the Month, January 2021
Jenny CarlsonJenny has fostered 155 cats and kittens since she began as a foster mom in 2012. She specializes in socializing the most shy and fearful cats who come through the shelter, helping get them ready for their adoptive homes. Jenny has also filled several other volunteer roles for us – including organizing the annual Kitten Shower and, most recently, helping us choose our new shelter database! In 2020, Jenny “foster-failed” for the first time when she adopted Sadie-the-Goat, now called Opal.
“Very rarely do we get to see the difference we make in the world but when I can help a shy cat trust humans, I know I made a huge difference in that cat’s life, as well as the life of the person who adopts them. There is no better feeling than that!” – Jenny Carlson, Foster of the Year
Some of the most common foster needs are:
- Pregnant or nursing moms
- Any pets under eight weeks of age (including bottle babies)
- Post-operative care or recovering from illness or injury
- Pets who are shelter stressed or dealing with other behavior issues
- Pets who need socialization to learn how to trust humans
- By fostering a pet in your home you are opening another spot in the shelter to save a life. Having a pet in a home also gives us more information to help match them successfully with a future adopter. We also know pets stay healthier in a home than they do at the shelter. Fostering is also very rewarding and allows you the chance to impact countless lives!
- Foster parents must be at least 18 years of age
- Foster parents must fill out a Foster Application and be approved
- Foster parents must be interested in helping their foster pets find forever homes
- Must have support for the mission of Great Plains SPCA
- Foster parents must treat any and all foster pets with love and respect
- Yes! Fostering is a form of volunteering that is done from the comfort of your home.
- The length of foster depends on each pet’s needs and will be discussed with the Foster Manager prior to placement. Some pets just need short term (a few days to a few weeks) foster while others may require longer. Ultimately, it is up to you how long you want or can foster.
- Yes. Foster parents are encouraged to meet any pets prior to agreeing to foster them. The Foster Manager will work to match each foster parent with the best fit for their family.
- We have a foster cell phone that is monitored 24/7 for calls in case of emergency. During business hours (10am-6pm) you can also text with the Foster Team to send updates and ask questions.
- Great Plains SPCA provides all medical care for foster pets and can provide food, toys, and other supplies if needed. Some fosters do choose to buy their own supplies or use what they have for their own pets, but all a foster family is required to provide is their home and their love!
- All foster pets are eligible to come stay at the shelter or go to another foster home if you need to go out of town or have an emergency arise during the foster pet’s stay. Giving as much notice as possible for foreseeable circumstances is appreciated.