PORT ANGELES – The Olympic Peninsula Humane Society is looking for foster families to provide temporary homes for dogs and cats.
“We really need the support of our animal loving community to help with pets that are not doing well in the shelter,” said OPHS Executive Director Luanne Hinkle.
“Being in a house is always preferred and helps animals thrive and get adopted.”
No matter how well run a shelter is, according to staff and volunteers, animals do best in a home-like environment.
The training, routines, and companionship provided by foster families in a temporary home cultivates stability, peace, and consistency for the animals, which helps them show their unstressed personality, which increases their chances of finding a home forever, they said.
“We realized pretty early on that having many foster animals at once required a solid infrastructure in place to provide the necessary support to families,” Hinkle said.
OPHS receives a $ 20,000 grant from the ASPCA Northern Tier Initiative to devote staff and consultant time to develop a program filled with systems and procedures.
“It’s a very noble endeavor to be a foster family,” Hinkle said. “Some of these animals could descend quickly without this service. Our host families really save lives.
Foster families receive comprehensive training, a comprehensive care manual and all necessary supplies.
In addition to staff support, including veterinary help, OPHS has a web resource page with detailed information by topic so that caregivers can quickly search a myriad of topics ranging from training and socializing to animal health concerns, a host mentoring program. and an app called Maddie’s Pet Assistant.
“We have thought of everything to ensure that the host families are fully supported,” said Hinkle.
Foster families can volunteer for varying lengths of time, from a weekend until adoption or as a hospice for dying animals.
“Hospice animals are best in a home – their last few days can be a lot less stressful,” said Jacklyn Peterson, a foster volunteer.
Peterson said some people want a pet but can’t get one and fostering may work for them.
“A foster family is the best place animals can be, other than their permanent home,” she said.
Peterson said each foster animal makes more space at the shelter for another animal, so foster families can potentially save two animals by caring for one.
Twenty-three intake requests are in the system, and if OPHS could double that number, around 200 animals in total could be placed over the next year, said Hinkle, who added that OPHS would like to at least a quarter of its animals are placed.
OPHS, which is the only kill-free shelter that accepts all types of pets and serves all of County Clallam, adopts approximately 1,200 animals per year.
The host application begins by completing an application available online on the OPHS website, www.ophumanesociety.org/foster-program.
For those who want to help but cannot host at this time, OPSS may use other types of volunteer help or financial support. More information can also be found on its website.
Emily Matthiessen is a reporter for the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is made up of the newspapers from Sound Publishing, Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Contact her at [email protected]