Thursday, March 22, 2012

I am a failure.

No, silly -- I have not failed in the ways of perfection. But I am a foster failure. That means that my foster mom cannot bear to part with me and is going to adopt me so I will be her official biological child, not just a foster pet (did I get that right?)

I bet you're not surprised. I am pretty irresistible.

And look what we got to celebrate!

But don't worry -- I will still be available to help other foster dogs and people and even foster cats. Next topic will be my class in learning Basic Obedience and Manners -- because even perfect princesses can still learn a few new tricks.

Friday, March 2, 2012

So, what is a “foster network,” anyway?

First off, it is not a rescue; we do not have space for pets and we do not adopt them out.

We do support the work of existing rescue organizations in our community, to try to expand their ability to help homeless dogs and cats. The main way we do so is by finding foster homes that can give temporary homes to animals who are put on the euthanasia list at the county shelter. Once in a while we are also able to help dogs from other places, like Hazel, when an extra spot opens up.

This can happen in many ways. In the past week, we’ve placed one long-time shelter dog, Meatloaf, in a foster home that opened up when the previous foster dog was adopted.


We found a brand-new foster home for another long-term shelter dog, Rocky. That foster home was found thanks to the good old-fashioned networking efforts of a current foster volunteer.


We placed another dog in a different kind of foster home. This big, beautiful American Bulldog mix was abandoned in a rural area. A kind-hearted neighbor kept him for a few weeks, but when she found his owners, they said they did not want him back. She told them she could not keep him and that she would have to take him to the shelter. They didn’t care. She took him to the shelter but was worried about him and called to check. It turns out he would not make it to the adoptable section because he had a common, treatable skin condition, demodex mange. The shelter staff asked us for help. We said that if the finder could foster him until adoption, we would try to match her up with a rescue organization that could advertise him on Petfinder, showcase him at adoption events, and process the adoption application. The finder was happy to do that, because she knew he already got along with her other dogs. And a local rescue organization was happy to take this friendly and good-looking dog into their program.

We’ve also recently recruited some special kinds of volunteers. The Humane Society needs short-term foster homes for dogs in their required seven-day quarantine period. A call for seven-day dog fosters turned up several people who cannot do long-term fostering but are happy to help with the short-term gigs. And another wonderful volunteer offered to foster cats with treatable medical conditions, who need a bit longer than seven days to be healthy enough for the adoptable section.

Most of our foster homes come from word-of-mouth, personal networks, and social media. We are exploring other ways to recruit more homes, including tabling at events and other media outlets. We are also hoping to expand our services to rescue organizations by marketing and advertising adoptable animals. The faster we move them into permanent homes, the better it is for the animals – and it also means we have a space to put the next animal who needs some extra time.

We frequently pull the animals from the shelter and deliver them to the foster homes, and we also try to help foster families by transporting animals to adoption events.

Everything is done by volunteers, without any funding. Please let us know if you can help – in addition to foster homes, we need people who can write, call, put up flyers, transport pets, and help in many other ways. Please contact us at