By Dr. Donna Watson
There is so much talk about making our county shelters No-Kill as other cities have done over the last few years. Broward County passed a No-Kill initiate back in 2012. Miami Dade passed one as well in 2012 and Palm Beach County in 2014. Unfortunately, these all were turned into a wish list idea for the future as an immediate mandate wasn’t passed. The realty is it can’t happen now. Not because the counties don’t want it. It is because our cities are hugely over-populated with strays and abandoned animals, and there are simply not enough places for them to go. That is why so many are euthanized every year. Published statistics at Broward County Animal euthanized over 5,800 animals, Miami Dade Animal 3,000 and Broward Humane Society 5,600 and 6,100 in Palm Beach County. These are staggering numbers.
We have many animal rescue groups in the Tri County area but each has the exact same problem. They can only take in as many animals as they can afford to care for, many needing to be placed in a safe environment until that animal can be adopted. Some choose boarding as an answer, but it is not always the best answer for these animals. They need a home, love and stability to heal and be able to transition into a new permanent home. That is where the lifesaving gift of fostering an animal comes into play.
When you foster, you agree to take a homeless dog or cat into your home and give them love, care and attention, either for a predetermined period of time or until the dog is adopted. They pay for all the expenses.
Sometimes the animal is too young to be adopted and needs a safe place to stay until they are old enough to go to a forever home usually at 8 weeks old. Sometimes they are recovering from surgery, illness or injury and needs a safe place to recuperate.
Many times a dog shows signs of extreme stress while in the horrible shelter environment and needs to be pulled immediately for their safety. In order for a rescue to do, it needs a foster home to keep them temporarily.
Often the shelter runs out of room for adoptable dogs and they will be euthanized/killed for no other reason then for space unless a rescue/foster can be found. These are all preventable deaths if we had more people fostering.
Fostering a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. By taking an animal in need temporarily into your home, you are literally saving its life, and they know it. Rescue dogs are the most loving and appreciative beings there are.
So how can you sign up to foster a dog or cat? If you know of a rescue group, contact them. They’ll likely have you fill out a foster application and, if you are approved, they will work with you to figure out the right foster dog/cat for your household. In addition, every shelter has a foster program and you can contact each of them and register with them under their foster program. If you aren’t familiar with a group, please visit my website and view the rescue and resource tabs. Many of the bigger rescues are listed as are the shelters.
Please consider opening your home and save a life!!! It is an amazingly good good feeling right down to your soul.
Dr. Donna Watson is a chiropractic physician and founder of Dr. Donna’s Pet Foundation, a non profit focused on animal overpopulation and animal welfare. Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/drdonnaspetfoundation5.