The Petco Foundation, the not for profit arm of Petco pet stores has focused many of its efforts on saving the lives of dogs and cats. According to Caroline Golon, spokeswoman for the Petco Foundation. “The Petco Foundation has invested more than $250 million since it started to support rescues and shelters across the nation. Petco believes very strongly in the difference that fostering a dog or cat can make in creating a life-saving nation for pets.”
June has been designated, by the Petco Foundation, as “National Foster A Pet Month” which coincides with its “Be A Foster” campaign that will be held at Petco stores across the country. On June 29, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Select Petco stores will host “Be A Foster” events where the store guests will have an opportunity to learn more about foster care, what to expect when they become a foster family, the rewards of fostering and how fostering saves animal lives. Animal welfare organizations and experienced foster families will be on site to answer questions and share their experiences.
Susanne Kogut, president of the Petco Foundation, has personally fostered more than 500 dogs. “She really walks the walk in an organization that knows fostering can make a critical difference in saving lives,” Golon said.
Kogut was quoted as saying, “We believe if people understood the incredible impact they can make by fostering and that it is an easy and fun experience, more people would do it.”
With an estimated one and a half million animals are unnecessarily euthanized each year, according to the ASPCA, Kogut believes fostering is the key to change. “If less than two percent of pet-owning households in the U.S. fostered one pet a year, we could eliminate unnecessary euthanasia in animal shelters tomorrow,” she said.
Foster A Dog Or Cat: Save A Life
Overcrowding remains a problem in many shelters and rescues across the country. “When there isn’t enough room in the shelter, a foster family can help alleviate the burden on the shelter if they take in a pet until an adopter is found,” Golon shared.
If a family is fostering how would a potential adopter know the pet is available?
Golon said, “Many of the fosters will take it upon themselves to promote the pet they’re fostering through their own network and that helps find those pets a home.”
Many of the rescues and shelter will pay for the food and the vetting and other care the pet in the foster home needs. “Even people with limited incomes, seniors or younger people can afford to foster,” she said.
Some pets travel between shelters, sometimes in other states, to help alleviate overcrowding and because in some states there simply aren’t any dogs or cats, puppies or kittens available for adoption. “Fosters are needed at the end of the transport for some of these dogs and cats, too.”
Who can foster?
The simple answer, Golon said, is “everyone.” The Petco Foundation is helping spread the word that fostering is
something anyone can do. “Your income, age, employment status or where you live doesn’t matter,” Golon said. “There are a lot of retirees who like to foster. There is even a rescue in New York City called Muddy Paws that targets their foster efforts toward millennials because there are growing numbers of millennials who prefer to foster; they have busy professional lives and they travel, but fostering is an ideal situation for them.”
Golon and her family also foster pets. “This is the second year we have fostered kittens,” she said. “Kittens need to be handled and socialized and my girls take on the responsibility for this. It gives my children a ‘job’ to do and helps them understand the challenges in animal welfare. It’s been a great experience for our family.”
Schools are now looking at fostering pets as a way for students to earn community service volunteer hours. Ask your school district if fostering a dog or cat, puppy or kitten could count for your child’s community service volunteer hours.
Fostering can make a difference in the lives of the pets being fostered because some dogs and cats simply don’t thrive in a shelter setting. Being in a home setting, surrounded by loving fosters will help the pet show his or her best side to potential adopters.
Golon said, “Any amount of time you can devote to fostering – a day, a weekend, or longer – helps the shelter, but more importantly benefits the pet. Also, if you foster and take home a pet that simply isn’t working out you can call the shelter, let them know and they will allow you to bring the pet back. Sometimes, you may bring home another dog or cat who just doesn’t get along with your dog or cat and that isn’t a situation the shelter will want to put the foster family in. Shelter operators are grateful for the families who foster and want to make it a great experience for them and the pets.”
The Petco Foundation wants to show that fostering is a fun and easy way for anyone to make a difference in a pet’s life. It wants to make the United States a lifesaving nation.
Inspirational foster story
Golon shared the story of a girl in Vermont who has a connective tissue disease that has her wheelchair bound. This girl fell in love with fostering bottle-fed kittens. After she started using a wheelchair and couldn’t care for herself, her parents turned the living room into her bedroom and that allowed her to continue caring for bottle-fed kittens.
She was granted a wish through the Make A Wish Foundation to have her living room redone so she could continue to care for the kittens. A “Kitten Palace” was constructed right next to her bed so she can simply reach over and feed the kittens without having to wake her parents to help out.
This girl, Golon shared, said she has been “given blessings so she gives back. Her mottos is, ‘If I can foster, anyone can foster.’”
That is the bottom line: Anyone can foster!
Click here to find a Petco “Be A Foster” event near you on Saturday, June 29.
By Robbi Hess ~ Managing Editor Pet Calendar, Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor, Chief Cat Herder