At the Longmont and Boulder humane societies, foster families are a bridge to furever homes.
Those who open their doors to animals in need help to maximize the amount of care that both organizations can provide. In honor of June being National Foster a Pet Month, the Longmont Humane Society is encouraging participation in a unique contest to promote the addition of more foster families — just as an influx of baby animals arrives at the shelter.
At the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, the shelter is in particular need of foster families who can provide some love and care to dogs with medical and behavioral conditions. Some smaller animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, are also in need of good foster homes.
The Longmont Humane Society is teaming up with national partners to make the goodbye part of fostering a little easier.
To bring awareness to the importance of foster families in helping local shelters, Petco Love, a national nonprofit, will host a #MyFosterBreakUp story contest for foster families to share their goodbye stories and get a chance to win “Foster Breakup Kit” giveaways. The kits are complete with cozy socks from BOBS from Skechers — also a partner — a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Kleenex, the official Petco Love Foster Breakup Spotify, and a T-shirt that reads “Foster Pets are Here for A Fun Time, Not a Long Time.”
“It’s just the twist of ‘Sorry, you’re really cool, but I found a better house,’” said Mitchell Willis, Longmont Humane Society deputy director.
Longmont Humane Society foster families interested in participating can share their story via Instagram by using the hashtag and tagging @PetcoLove and @longmonthumane. Willis said the humane society plans to share those stories through Facebook and Instagram. Its participation also puts the Longmont Humane Society in the running to win a $10,000 Petco Love grant.
The timing of the partnership is no coincidence. The Longmont Humane Society sees an uptick in kittens and puppies, Willis said, from June to early fall.
“As an organization we only have so much capacity,” Willis said. “And so, being able to have families take in the animals to help us is huge.”
Since January, there have been 642 pets placed in foster care by the Longmont Humane Society. Willis said almost all animals placed in foster care get adopted.
Willis encouraged anyone with a love of animals to consider fostering a pet. The humane society does have an application process that a prospective pet foster parent will need to complete.
The humane society will provide pet supplies, including food, to pet fosters, as well as cover the cost of medical care. Fosters also choose which kind of animal they want to provide a temporary home for.
There is no minimum commitment for fostering a pet, Willis said. Typically, a pet will need to be fostered for less than a month. The humane society helps to arrange for prospective adopters to visit the pet at the foster family’s house, if convenient, or has the foster family bring the pet to the humane society.
“There is not a personality that we’re looking for, it’s really the willingness of someone that has a love for animals and wants to create an environment for them,” Willis said.
Not all foster scenarios end with a hard goodbye. Sometimes the foster family decides to adopt the pet. If they do, Willis said, there will be a discounted adoption fee.
The Longmont Humane Society will take part in a National Foster Pet Open House from 10 am. to noon June 25, at 9595 Nelson Road. Those who attend can meet other foster families and learn how to become a pet foster parent. More than 100 residents are part of the foster program today.
Boulder foster families needed
At the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Amanda Boerman, director of shelter services, said while the humane society is seeing a seasonal swell of baby animals, the greatest need for foster support is for dogs.
“We’re seeking support for animals with behavior or medical conditions that need some additional home comforts for them to thrive,” Boerman said. “As well as support for our Safety Net Program and temporary boarding that we offer community members during times of crisis. We also need foster homes for those individual animals as well.”
The Safety Net Program helps to provide aid to support pet owners with basics for their pet, such as food, supplies and temporary housing.
The Boulder humane society has 115 cat and 100 dog foster families. The humane society provides medical treatment for foster animals. Boerman said the humane society also will provide supplies, like pet crates, food and treats to get a foster family started in caring for the pet. The humane society’s website says that volunteers can also “declare tax-deductible contributions to the organization” for basic pet supplies.
Prospective foster volunteers must complete a background check, application form and virtual home visit. Humane society staff will also schedule an appointment to talk with them and answer any questions.
Lindsay Scott, director of philanthropy and community relations, said fostering provides a chance for people who want a pet, but can’t yet take on the full-time commitment.
“For those that want to help animals in their community, fostering is a wonderful way for someone to make a difference,” Scott said. “These are often the animals that need it the most.”
To sign up to foster a pet:
Boulder: Visit the Humane Society of Boulder Valley’s website at: boulderhumane.org and click on volunteer opportunities under “How to Help.”
Longmont: Visit the Longmont Humane Society’s website at: longmonthumane.org and click “foster program” under the programs tab. Those interested can also call Shelby Bundy in foster care at 303-772-1232 at extension 234.
Boulder Daily Camera
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