Fostering animals saves lives

A dog lazily lies near the fire harnessing the warmth for itself. A cat nuzzles up to loving children during story time. These are prime moments for a dog or cat to have. Unfortunately, most do not have this privilege as they seek adoption. But foster homes provide this temporary benefit for dogs and cats alike when waiting for their forever homes.

According to Laura Flamion, Operational Manager at the DuPage Animal Shelter, “A shelter environment is always going to be more stressful than a home environment.”

Of course, shelters attempt to provide a home setting but look to foster families to help their efforts.  To become a foster family means you keep homeless cats or dogs at your home until the shelter can find them a forever home.  

Laura Passafiume, foster volunteer, states, “Fostering literally saves lives. If a dog is a medical case, the foster [family] helps monitor the issues and treat what’s going on with guidance from a vet. I took several fosters [foster animals] to specialty vets for extra treatment. For behavioral dogs, the foster home works with a trainer and vet to medicate and train out difficult behaviors that cannot be addressed in boarding. The foster [family] gets to know each dog in a realistic home setting so the prospective adopter has accurate info for a good match.”

Application Coordinator Jessie Kasper adds on, “Animals are more likely to be adopted when shown in a home. You get to see their true personality and make the most sound placement for that animal.”

The foster program is not very different from the adoption program. In both instances an extensive background check is done in order to determine if you would be a good fit to foster dogs or cats.

Foster volunteer Tina states, “Potential foster homes fill out an application so we can do a landlord check if it applies, a vet check on resident animals in the last 5 years, and a home visit. You must also be 18 years or older to be the primary caretaker of our foster animals. This process is important so that we can make sure our foster homes set the best examples.”

Adding on, Lauren Matos, assistant application coordinator, says the Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus (IDR+) “does a home visit and vet check along with an optional reference check. An experienced volunteer goes to the prospective foster’s home to talk to them in person and get a feel for the situation of what kind of dog would work best for them.”

Illinois has many organizations and shelters that provide homes and medical care to animals. IDR+ is home to mainly dogs and they work with shelters and foster homes to place dogs in foster care until they can be adopted.

Secretary of Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus, Beth Passafiume, states, “We are a private NFP [not-for profit] that is mostly a network of foster homes. Most of the municipal shelters/facilities in the area know to contact us about certain breeds. IDR offers to provide all supplies, food, toys, etc., but some fosters prefer to buy those items to defray the cost from the rescue.”

IDR+ is a fantastic organization that provides many homes to dogs of all breeds ranging from Chihuahuas to Dobermans. They also have vets on standby and as staff. IDR+ may be mainly private but it does not shy away from helping other organizations and or shelters.

Emily Garza, assistant veterinarian, says, “ lDR+ accepts animals from shelters who might have an animal that could not as easily be adopted through their resources.”

It’s important to note that shelters are a great way to adopt animals and help them find their forever home, but with the concern of overcrowding, foster homes provide the next best resource to save dogs and cats from the streets.

Everyone animal deserves a forever home, and while they wait for that chance, they need the love and care foster homes provide to fill that void until adoption occurs. A foster home gives them a sense of belonging and balance.