Empty cages, companionship, and nurturing for a dog who has felt life’s harsher realities… fostering is a win-win!
When COVID 19 hit, pet adoption levels skyrocketed across the country! Suddenly, thousands of Americans working from home decided to become pet owners. In addition, many shelters also saw a huge uptick in the number of people willing to foster dogs on a temporary basis. Shelters were emptied and pressure was relieved. Overworked rescue organizations finally had the time to reinforce the best ways to help homeless animals.
A NEW GOAL
Reducing institutional housing of homeless animals through fostering is now the objective of many shelters nationwide.
THE SCIENCE OF LOWERED STRESS
Getting animals into homes eliminates the stress and isolation dogs experience while living in cages. In a calm, soft environment, fostered dogs receive the medical or behavioral care they need to heal from whatever trauma they experienced previously. Additionally, they receive prolonged individualized attention, love, and play from their foster families. And foster dogs are given the ability to rest…. something a new study conducted by Arizona State University and Virginia Tech has found to be essential to a dog’s well-being. Published in 2019, the study focused on the urinary cortisol levels of dogs moved from a shelter into foster care. Researchers found lower levels of the stress hormone in dogs who were able to sleep in homes as opposed to group shelter environments.
“Reducing institutional housing of homeless animals through fostering is now the objective of many shelters nationwide.”
Some rescues, like the Silicon Valley Pet Project in San Jose, CA, has had direct-to-foster as their mission all along! They have no central facility. Rescued pets are solely fostered and nurtured in vetted Bay Area volunteers’ homes. Notably, SVPP has found that foster parents, able to observe a dog in a home environment can better advise on the temperament and personality of the dog they have cared for. This ensures that a good match is made with potential adopters! A good match means the dog is never returned or put back in the system.
It may be possible to eliminate the ‘shelter’ from the shelter system! If you think you can help, reach out to your local rescue group and fill out a foster application today!