Shelters rely on many volunteers, but some of the most in-demand are fosters. Fosters are lifelines for shelters and help in a variety of ways. Some fosters take dogs that are fearful, anxious, too energetic, or simply do not show well in the shelter environment, and help them adjust to life as a house pet. Other fosters take in litters of tiny kittens and bottle feed and care for them until they are old enough to be adopted into forever homes.

The care that fosters provide for these animals goes far above just feeding them and giving them a place to stay. Fosters also provide training, exercise, and structure – all factors that are necessary for the animal’s success. Although it may sound like a lot of work, it’s “no different than being a dog parent; you just have more dogs,” according to seasoned foster Lyn Cianflocco.

For some fosters, the biggest challenge they face is the sorrow of letting an animal go to its forever home once it is adopted. “If I had the space, I’d keep them all!” says Nicole Winemiller.  Sabrina Stockley has great advice for moving on though. “The best way to get over sending a dog to its forever home is taking in the next one.”

Despite the heartaches faced by foster parents, there is also so much joy found in fostering animals. According to Ruth Bramblett, “What you get out of fostering is a whole new perspective about life.” She goes on to say, “You bring in an animal that had to be surrendered and you work to give their life back. Fostering gives you more than what you could ever give the dog.”

After interviewing many fosters about their experiences, the resounding consensus was that they wish more people would give fostering a try. According to Natalie Moseley, “If we had more people that fostered, there would be very little need for a shelter. Consider fostering; you might just be surprised at how much you enjoy it and how well you can handle it.” Deonna Stevenson agrees, “Fostering is wonderful. I wish more people would get into it.”

If you would like to help The Humane Society of Charles County by becoming a foster, please give us a call. The more fosters we have, the more animals we can save. We have a great group of fosters that will support you and answer any questions you may have along the way. We even provide free training assistance through S&D K9 Rehabilitation. It truly does take a village to save these wonderful animals so we hope you’ll open your heart and home to the opportunity to save a life through fostering.

This blog was written by Randi Yochim

Randi has been an avid volunteer with the Humane Society of Charles County.  She and her husband have volunteered at off site adoption events, enrichment of dogs, and has helped with the Sunday training classes provided free of charge to all new adopters and fosters.

The shelter is always looking for Fosters for both cats/kittens and dogs.  If you can foster, please visit our “Foster Page.”

If you can volunteer, please visit our “Get Involved” page, or like our Volunteer Corner Facebook page to keep up to date on any volunteering needs our shelter might have.