Friday, August 21, 2015

• Fostering Pets

Are you familiar with Pet Fostering?
Do not look directly into their eyes... they will hypnotize you into taking them home with you.

There is a Pet Fostering program that is run through Animal Friends of the Valleys.

I had a chance to chat with long time Foster Pet Parent Paula Willette (try that one three times fast) about the program and thought I'd share some pertinent facts with you.

The job of a Foster Pet Parent is to offer a nice safe environment to the animal. The shelter takes care of all of the vet needs and food needs. Though if you're so inclined to buy the food yourself, it would free up more food for other animals in need.

There are two main types of fostering.
One is where a person wants to take a dog with poor social skills, a dog that would be passed over by most people looking to adopt, and then to work with it, handle it, love it and turn it into the type of dog that every family would be looking for.

The other type of fostering is where a person is just looking to help a dog (or cat) have a place to stay while they are waiting for their forever home. An animal in this category will immediately start going to PetCo for adoption. 

There is actually a third type of pet fostering: Puppies and Kitties
When I was visiting Paula she had two different litters of Chihuahuas that she was caring for. Part of her responsibilities, besides feeding and cleaning up, include handling the pups and playing with them. Getting them comfortable around people and ready to be adopted. 

Ten years ago we adopted a kitten from just such a foster pet parent. When I mentioned that in conversation, Paula remarked that it takes a special person to foster kitties. ☺

Fostering is great for someone that wants a dog but isn't sure if they are really ready for such a long term commitment. If it turns out that you're not ready for the full time needs of an animal, you'll find out while fostering.

Some dogs will be with a foster family for less than a week before they get adopted, others will be around for a couple of months.

Fostering would be great for a person/family that wants the love of a pet, but can't make the obligation that a pet needs. Paula was telling me that she arranges her pet fostering stints around her out of town trips. She knows when travel is on the her schedule and she makes sure her commitments as a Foster Pet Parent are concluded before she goes.

Some people foster continually, others do it once a year, once in awhile or just once.


 Every dog, or cat,  that is in a foster home opens up a space at the shelter. For every animal that is being fostered, that is another that isn't being put down. 

If interested, you can contact the Shelter's Foster Program, and they'll do a yard check to make sure it's safe for the dog. Robin Harper is the Foster Coordinator and I'm sure she'll be glad to speak with you. (951) 674-0618 ext. 216

 The AFV Foster Program has weekly adoptions
at the PetCo at the Promenade in Temecula.

Here is a link to PetCo's calendar (usual times are Saturdays from 10am to 3pm)

From introvert to extrovert

I had a foster, a queensland heeler, that I called a lawn ornament. I'm very familiar with queensland heelers, but she wouldn't let me touch her. She was a sweetheart, but wouldn't let you touch her. She was never going to be able to go to PetCo. She ended up being sent to a rescue for queensland heelers. Queensland heelers have a pack mentality and when she was with the other dogs she would learn [social skills] from them. The rescue had nine other dogs and within two months she was a perfect candidate for adoption and a vet tech adopted her, and she now is a fixture in the [vet] office.     — Paula Willette

I asked if some foster families end up adopting the animals they've been caring for, and Paula chuckled and said they call that Foster Failure.

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“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”  ― Christopher Hitchens

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