Thank you for thinking about sharing your home with one of our dogs. The AAC is always in need of foster homes and the more homes we have, the more lives we can save. Without the help of foster caregivers we would be forced to turn away many pets that need our help, so again, we thank you.
The Animal Adoption Center relies on the generosity of foster parents to provide loving and temporary homes for the dogs in our program. Each evening our goal is to have every dog leave the AAC with one of our selfless foster parents and spend the night in their home, often with their own pets and children. Foster parents supply temporary housing during the night, which helps prepare the dogs for placement with their future adoptive family by giving them the opportunity to learn valuable household manners. Additionally, foster parents help us understand each animal’s particular needs and determine the best long term placement for each dog. During operating hours the dogs are brought back to the AAC for visitors and potential adopters to view them.
The AAC provides an overnight bag with everything the dog will need for their “sleepover”. Foster parents are needed nightly. Tuesday through Friday is a one-night commitment. We ask that dogs are picked up between 4pm and 6pm and returned the following morning between 9am and 12pm. The AAC is closed Sundays and Mondays, so foster parents get to spend a whole weekend with their foster dog! Pickup is Saturday between 4pm and 5pm and drop off is Tuesday between 9am and 12pm.
Some animal shelters are forced to euthanize hundreds of healthy and friendly animals each day to make space for the new ones coming into the shelter. Foster parents maximize the number of pets who can be saved by playing an indispensable role in preparing dogs for their future homes. It is a truly rewarding way to help an animal in need. Each time a dog stays at a foster parent’s home, we are able to learn more about the dogs personalities; their likes/dislikes, their optimal living environment, as well as any potential issues or quirks that we may need to address. The dogs benefit immensely from the individual attention, affection, socialization and additional exposure to the public that foster homes offer. In addition, fostering is the best way for potential adopters to get to know a particular dog better without any commitment until they find that perfect match!
Every dog at the AAC needs a nightly foster, even puppies. Puppies require extra love, attention and structure as well as longer term foster care. Puppy fostering is a great way to discover whether or not you are ready for the responsibility of raising a young dog. Periodically the AAC needs cat foster parents to provide a kitty with health or behavioral concerns with a little extra love and attention.
If you think you can’t foster, you can. If you think it will hurt the first few times, it will (in fact it will hurt more than just the first few times). If you think they might pee on a carpet, they might. But, in the end, I don’t stop fostering when my heart gets broken or when I am cleaning poop off the rug because it isn’t about me. It is about them. It is about the love you can give to a creature in need.
Fostering is not always easy but I absolutely cherish the time I have with each foster dog and I truly believe that the fostering experience helps to get these dogs adopted. Of course adopting a dog saves that dog’s life, but through fostering, I can save many more dogs by opening up my apartment and my heart (if only for a short period of time) to a pooch in need.
Fostering gives me the opportunity to see the world from the perspective of a dog who is desperately trying to figure out its’ place in the world, and I feel honored to be the one who helps him find that place.
I often wonder why I foster so much, but I think it’s because I feel like I am truly making a difference in the world, one dog at a time. I find it a rewarding opportunity when I am able to help train and socialize them to make them a better adoption candidate. It also serves as a great way to socialize my personal dogs and a good test in patience, persistence, love and dedication for myself.
Each dog is different, but they all come to us from the AAC after being abandoned. We get to watch them heal, relax and learn to love again. After a few hours or days, most let out what we have come to call “the sigh.” It is in that moment when they seem to know that they will be okay. Then one day, they get adopted and are gone. We hear about some of them, see others in town, and get to interact with a few on a regular basis. But even with the ones that disappear and we never hear from, we know they are out there, enriching people’s lives. It feels good to know that we helped, now 108 dogs, a little along the way.
Paul Hansen & Kay Stratman