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  • Thursday , Feb 1 , 2018

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Foster pet parents are a critical link

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It's a noble goal, to operate an animal shelter and think that every dog and every cat can be adopted into a loving, caring home.

It's a harsh reality that not every dog or every cat that finds themselves lodged in an animal shelter is readily adoptable. The staff and volunteers at Pinal County Animal Care and Control readily admit that many do not "show well" in a shelter kennel, or even in a play yard at the Shelter. These dogs and cats can be overlooked, or not well understood by potential adopters.

The meeting of the goal to the reality is a daily challenge. Sometimes, on lucky days, it's a pleasant satisfaction, when a dog or cat does actually go to their forever home. Sometimes, on unlucky days, a pet is returned to the shelter after being adopted. Among many reasons, one may be that the dog or cat was not given enough time to "de-compress." Many shelter animals have been through much stress and change, and it can take up to several weeks for the animal to settle into a new living situation.

Foster pet parents can be a critical link in turning this reality into a goal accomplished. Placing a pet into a foster home is beneficial to the pet. Usually a home is a less-stressful environment than the kennels at the shelter. Personal attention can help the pet's behavior and the pet has a chance to learn behaviors appropriate for a home setting. Also, they have more opportunities for active exercise and people interactions.

Fostering a pet can also be a crucial link for the shelter staff: Fosters can learn more about the pet's behaviors, needs, preferences, and training (or lack of), and this can help the adoption coordinators at the shelter make more appropriate matches for those looking to adopt a pet. This is one of the reasons the adoption coordinators at Pinal County Animal Care and Control like to stay in frequent contact with foster pet parents.

There are at least two special fostering situations. The first is a foster-to-adopt arrangement. An individual or family thinks they might like to adopt a dog or a cat, and by fostering that animal first, they can make sure the pet is the appropriate one for their home environment. There are also special situations in which a "medical foster" is needed, to care for an animal with special medical needs that cannot be fully met at the shelter, or healing that can happen more quickly and safely in a foster home.

The Pinal County Animal Care and Control Shelter is filled to capacity this summer. Placing an animal with a foster parent is critical to helping a dog or cat become more adoptable. If you are interested in this opportunity, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name and contact information. One of the adoption coordinators will be ready to provide you more details and help make an appropriate match for you. Be a hero, foster a dog or a cat!


Submitted by Joy Wegner, Friends of Pinal County Animal Shelter and Rescues

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