Local foster parents, donations needed for dogs and cats
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Most people are familiar with foster families for children, but another kind of foster family is needed in Coweta and in surrounding counties.
Foster families take care of animals – some of which would be saved from euthanasia – until they are able to be adopted into a new, forever home.
“The key is getting enough fosters,” said Jane Reed of Fayette Humane Society.
Some foster families take care of litters of puppies or kittens. Some foster multiple animals. Others may foster only one.
Local humane societies provide food for the foster pets as well as veterinarian care, including spaying or neutering, shots, and heartworm and flea preventatives.
Kenna Galloway, one of the dog foster coordinators for the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society, says there’s a foster animal for almost every situation.
“If they only want to foster for two weeks, we can find a dog that they will only have for two weeks,” said Galloway.
“If somebody can just take one little dog, my gosh, that would help,” Jane Reed of Fayette Humane Society said. “If everybody just did a little bit.”
When fostering puppies, it’s best to bring home more than one, because puppies are social creatures, and “they need to have each other,” Galloway said.
If you want the animal you’re fostering to be adopted locally instead of being transported north, that’s fine, says Linda Terry, another NCHS dog foster coordinator.
“And we let the fosters have a say in whether a potential adoptive home is a good one,” added Terry. NCHS also offers an adoption assistance program for people who can no longer keep their pets and need to find new homes.
Many families are unaware of what is required to be a pet foster family.
“If you have questions about fostering, we’ll walk you through the process,” Reed said.
“I’m definitely there for my fosters,” said Terry.
Cat foster families are desperately needed, especially since it is about to be kitten season. “Every spring and summer, there is a ‘baby boom’ of kittens,” Terry said. “Kittens tend to fare poorly at animal control.”
“Time and love are the two main ingredients,” said Terry. There aren’t many requirements for being a foster parent. You should have a safe and secure home for the animals. A fenced yard isn’t a requirement, but exercising the dogs is. Some dogs are already house-trained and some are not. The Humane Society can give guidance on training and feeding schedules.
Fostering animals doesn’t just benefit the animals; it benefits the foster parents, too.
“There are some mornings I don't feel like getting up. I go over there and I hug those puppies and everything is good,” said Chris Garcia. “It gives me a purpose."
Galloway lost six family members and a friend in a two-year span. Fostering dogs “has been my therapy. I think I would have gone crazy without it,” she said.
“These animals give us such joy and put a smile on my heart,” said Reed.
“You get so much more back than you give,” said Terry.
“They don’t care how much money you have or what you look like or if you stink,” Reed said. Animals love you for who you are.
“If you are an empty nester like me, your kids go to college. You just replace them with dogs,” said Terry.
In addition to foster parents, humane societies also need donations such as old towels and blankets, dog and cat food, cat litter and money. All donations are tax deductible.
There is also a need for people who can transport pets.
To find out more about becoming a pet foster parent, call 770-253-4694, or visit www.nchsrescue.org.