USA Today: Benefits of Fostering a Pet - Arizona Humane Society

News Highlights:

  • AHS relies on a group of nearly 700 Foster Heroes to provide a safe place for our animals in need. Some pets may need recovery time while they heal from injury, while others may have developed kennel stress and need a break from the shelter environment.
  • AHS' offers temporary pet placement for owned animals as well through the following programs
    • Project Active Duty allows loving pet owners leaving for a tour of duty to entrust their pets with AHS, providing not only a peace of mind during their deployment, but comfort knowing that when they return, their pet will be waiting for them. This program is supported by PetSmart Charities.
    • Project Assist provides foster care for the pets of individuals who are hospitalized or in an emergency situation.
    • Project Safehouse provides foster care for the pets of individuals who must enter a domestic violence shelter.

USA Today

Fostering an animal is a win-win for parents and pets Mary Helen Berg, USA Today | May 13, 2017
Lying side by side on a cozy couch in West Hollywood, Calif., Dirk and Penny make an odd couple. Dirk, a Corgi mix with a hangdog look, is older and four times the size of Penny, a tiny, social Chihuahua-pug hybrid. The two strays met in an animal rescue and fell nose over tail for each other. On a recent morning, as part of an affectionate ritual, Dirk stays stock-still while Penny licks his ear. Their love may be everlasting, but their home is temporary. They’re foster dogs, waiting to be adopted into a forever home. Instead of idling in a shelter cage, they lounge in the comfortable apartment of Karen Stevens, 51, a publicist who’s fostered 40 dogs over the past six years. Foster pet parents like Stevens work with rescue groups or shelters to provide temporary homes for dogs until they’re ready for adoption. Some homeless animals are placed in foster care because a shelter is too crowded, or because they’re too young, or they need medical attention, socialization or basic behavioral training. Some animals need temporary placement because of a family emergency or military deployment.Many of them have one thing in common, Stevens says. “These animals will love you unconditionally,” she says. “They’ve been abused, they’ve been in the most horrific situations, and if you give them just a cup of kindness, you have a friend for life.” About 3.3 million dogs end up in U.S. shelters each year and 670,000 of them will be euthanized, according to Alyssa Fleck, spokeswoman for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Put simply, foster parents help shelters save more dogs. “Fostering a dog frees up critical space and resources to help other animals who may need them more,” says Joey Teixeira, senior manager of customer relations and communications at the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City. “The shelter also gets vital information about how the animal acts in a home environment, which can then help place that animal with the right adopter.” At the Arizona Humane Society in Phoenix, the foster program is one of many efforts that have helped decrease euthanasia by 84 percent since 2013, says Sharon Kinsella, director of volunteer engagement. One thousand dogs were fostered there in 2016. Sheldon “Ski” Kobylanski, of nearby Laveen, is one of the shelter’s most prolific foster parents. Although he has four dogs of his own, since 2010 he’s brought more than 100 other animals to stay at his home he calls a Disneyland for dogs,” where they paddle freely in the backyard pool. His voice breaks as he recalls some of the pups that have passed through his doggie doors: Lana, a pit bull puppy with a broken leg (“I’ll never forget her face.”); Eggbert, a Chihuahua so tiny he fit in Kobylanski’s palm; Bruno, an emaciated pit bull he nursed through the potentially deadly canine parvovirus; and Zeus, a pit bull mix whose aggressive cancer diagnosis broke Kobylanski’s heart. And so many more. With pet adoption you save only one dog, Kobylanski says, but fostering provides a chance to save many dogs every year. All it takes is time, space and love. “If you can expand the walls of the shelter by providing love, a safe place and a warm bed for an animal — any animal — you can be a foster parent,” he says. Read Full Story

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