Foster caregivers play a vital role in helping to give wildlife a second chance at life in the wild. Volunteers care for orphaned wildlife in their own home as we do at the rehabilitation centre.


  • formula-feed animals
  • provide fresh food and water
  • clean indoor cages and outdoor enclosures
  • assist with finding a suitable release site
  • release animals


  • transportation to RVWS (no public transit available)
  • 19 years of age or older
  • up-to-date tetanus vaccination
  • up-to-date rabies vaccination* if working with rabies-vector species (raccoons, skunks)
  • you live in Ontario (we cannot foster to people living in Quebec because it’s a provincial jurisdiction)
  • own your home or have permission from your landlord to raise wildlife in your home
  • a separate room in your home with an entrance that is not used by members of the household and will provide a quiet environment for the animals
  • ability to release wildlife on your property is an asset
  • sign a Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) foster care agreement and commit to following the conditions of our wildlife rehabilitation licence
  • allow RVWS and MNR to inspect rehabilitation records and the rehabilitation room
  • pass an MNR rabies test prior to fostering
  • limit human contact to one or two primary caregivers to only what is absolutely necessary during feeding and cage cleaning
  • to keep the animals wild, ensure that wildlife are not handled or viewed by friends, family or domestic pets

 Time Commitment

  • Commitment to the foster program varies from 4-10 weeks with 2-6 feedings a day for a single litter
  • Must commit to one litter per year between March and October

 Training Provided

  • general orientation session
  • several hands-on animal care training sessions until fully trained and comfortable
  • ongoing support is provided throughout the foster period
  • advanced training skills as requested

* Rabies Vaccine Information

If you would like to work with raccoons, skunks, foxes or bats, you need to have a rabies pre-exposure vaccine. The vaccine consists of a series of three injections given in your arm (much like a flu vaccine) over the course of three weeks. You can obtain a prescription and injections from your family doctor, and order the vaccine from any pharmacy. You can also get rabies vaccines from travel clinics without a prescription. Most health plans cover the costs of the vaccinations. If you don’t have a health plan, the total cost is about $700. There are two manufacturers of the vaccine. To check if your health plan covers the vaccine, you will need the following Drug Identification Numbers: RabAvert – DIN 02267667, or Imovax – DIN 01908286. If you have had the rabies vaccine in the past, you need to provide proof of your titre levels (blood test for levels of antibodies) every two years, which you can also request from your family doctor. If you do not have your rabies vaccine, there are plenty of other species to work with!