You may have heard that fostering saves lives. It absolutely does. If you have never fostered an animal before we hope the Pope family’s story of entering into animal rescue and foster inspires you to jump in and foster your own pet.
Written by Justin Pope:
“A couple days before my birthday two years ago, I heard on the radio about how overfull the county shelter was, and how they were begging for people to adopt dogs and cats for free. I had really not wanted to get a new dog yet… I was happy to only have one dog in the house, and never planned to have more than one again. But maybe, just like the one-eyed cat I had adopted from HOPE a few years before, I could break my own rules a little to save a life.
I started by looking online and found page after page of pictures… and then a list of urgent dogs… and a list of beyond urgent dogs. Karen saw this liver spotted, very sick, pregnant dog, and because she used to raise puppies she knew we could handle it. As luck had it, she went down to PACC on my birthday to break her out of jail.
And she was told no.
Through all the publicity and the beyond urgent pleas… we had overlooked that pregnant dogs can only go to a partner rescue. Karen spent hours trying to get a rescue to answer her calls, with no luck. I finished my day at work and drove over, because if you know anything about Karen, you know that she won’t take “no” for an answer. She was devising a plan to call the local TV news stations, because if there was any dog in that shelter who needed out that very day, it was this one.
I showed up at PACC, we walked back into the dark dungeon that was the sick isolation room at the time,
and I met Kelsey. On the way back, a staff member remarked that the director of In the Arms of Angels, one of the few rescues who eagerly accept pregnant moms and litters of puppies, had just walked by. By coincidence, she was there to deliver laundry – yes, PACC’s dryer had broken down, and she had volunteered to take a van load of bedding to dry offsite. We finally connected with her, and half an hour later we were official fosters and taking Kelsey home.
Our plan had been to adopt Kelsey and then find all her puppies homes when they were old enough, but now that we were a part of an actual rescue group, the plans changed. Maybe we could find her a home, and then pick up another mom or stray and save more lives. Once Kelsey’s puppies had been adopted, plans changed again, as we brought another set of fosters in, and Kelsey still wasn’t adoptable. On November 2nd, I adopted Kelsey as my own AND we kept fostering more.
In the past two years, we have brought 88 dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens into our home. It hasn’t always been a happy story… Our foster Rosie lost all but one of her puppies to canine herpes at a week old. Darla’s litter were exposed to distemper at PACC, and we fought for two months to save them, and only one survived. We have had fosters waiting for a year for the right home, recovered so many from colds and giardia, nursed a foster through pancreatitis, cleaned so many puppy messes, broken up dog fights, contributed thousands to their care. But it has always been worth it. Every minute, every dollar.
So while today is my birthday, my age isn’t that big of a deal. What I really celebrate today is my fosterversary. I am so happy for the circumstances that have brought me here, and the family that supports my continuing journey.”
Note: Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) currently does not allow pregnant animals to go to rescue but desperately needs fosters for moms and their puppies and kittens.
Why do you need to Foster?
- A rescue group doesn’t have a physical shelter and depends on foster homes to care for animals until suitable homes are found
- A puppy or kitten is too young to be adopted and needs a safe place to stay until he or she is old enough to go to a forever home
- A dog or cat is recovering from surgery, illness or injury and needs a safe place to recuperate
- An animal is showing signs of stress such as pacing or hiding in the shelter
- A dog or cat may not have lived in a home before or has not had much contact with people and needs to be socialized
- The shelter is running out of room for adoptable animals
Why should you foster?
- It opens up a spot so the shelter or rescue can take in another cat or dog
- It gives animals the time needed to be ready for adoption
- It helps the shelter or rescue learn more about the dog or cat so he can end up in the best home possible
- You may help socialize an animal to a home environment and possibly get him used to being around other pets and different types of people