Category Archives: foster

How You Can Help Animal Shelters in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster


September 18, 2017

Natural disasters are devastating, leaving many people without a home, and their personal belongings and family memories forever destroyed.  Animals of all species also fall victim to these horrendous events when they’re left to fend for themselves or accidentally become separated as families attempt to travel to safety.

With the help of search and rescue teams, the animals are brought to the safety of shelters and makeshift facilities in hopes of having them reunited with their families. But the influx of incoming animals can place a strain on resources and displace animals already in the shelter, leaving workers scrambling to find a place for everyone to go. Because of this, donations and support are critical after a disaster, and there are several ways you can help, whether it’s on-site or from afar.

Adopt or Foster a Shelter Animal

How You Can Help Animal Shelters in the Aftermath of a Natural DisasterDave Parker/Flickr

Being inundated with rescued animals is hard on shelters of any size, but it’s especially burdensome on smaller shelters with limited resources and those without a network of foster homes.  And despite their best efforts to house as many animals as possible, some are faced with no other option but to euthanize those already in the shelter to make room for incoming animals.  After a disaster, rescue organizations across the country band together to help take in animals from overwhelmed shelters, but they can’t do it alone.

One way you can help shelters make room – and save lives in the process – is to adopt or offer to be a foster home for animals.  People often make the mistake of thinking that shelters are adopting out animals rescued from the disaster, forever separating them from their families in the process, but that isn’t the case.  The goal in these situations is to move the animals that were already in the shelter, making room for new animals until they can be reunited with their families.

If you don’t live near the disaster area, or you’re unable to adopt, you can always check with your local rescue organizations to see if they need foster homes – and chances are, they do.  Fostering provides relief by creating an opening for the organization to take in additional animals, and you can feel good about knowing that you did your part to help save a life.

Donate

The cost of providing food and medical care for animals can add up quickly, putting a financial strain on shelters that aren’t prepared to care for a large number of animals. Monetary donations are always welcome because shelters can use the funds to purchase what they need most, whether it’s food, blankets, medical supplies, or crates to house extra animals.  Unfortunately, donation scams are common after a disaster, so always do your research to make sure your money is going directly to the organization.

Food, treats, litter, gas cards, and cleaning supplies are also a helpful donation if you prefer not to send money.  Before you go shopping, contact the shelter or rescue to see exactly what they need, or see if they have an online “wish list” of donated items.  A large donation of puppy food, for example, won’t benefit an organization that has taken in several litters of kittens.  Checking with them first will help ensure that your donation benefits as many animals as possible. (NOTE:  View K-9 Angels Rescue’s donation options HERE.)

Volunteer

How You Can Help Animal Shelters in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster

FEMA/Wikimedia

The first thing any animal lover wants to do when there are animals in need is offer to volunteer.  But before you plan a road trip to a devastated area, it’s important to have a plan in place.  Disaster areas are incredibly dangerous, and first responders and other agencies are busy trying to save people and animals.  If you want to lend a helping hand, check with national organizations that have a system in place for disaster relief volunteers.  You can also reach out to local organizations to offer assistance with transporting animals from shelters or gathering donated supplies.

Keep in mind that thousands of people step up to help in these situations, so even if an organization doesn’t need your help right away, that doesn’t mean they won’t need it later.  Many organizations located in disaster areas will continue to need help for several months (if not longer) as they recover from the devastation and work to reunite pets with their families, so be patient until an opportunity becomes available.  Interested in volunteering with K-9 Angels Rescue in Houston, TX?  Find more info HERE!

Whatever you decide to do, know that your help is appreciated more than words can ever express.  No good deed is too small, and it’s often the simplest of acts of kindness that have the greatest impact.

 

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What an Amazing Adoption Count this past Weekend!

Adrienne Balfour Huertas's photo.

“I am so thankful to all the FOSTER HOMES who clean up, transport, love and train our dogs so we can have weekends like this.

These adoptions are Harris County Veterinary Public Health Division dogs, who, mostly, had run out of time in the shelter.
(Editor’s note: When a dog runs out of time it is killed by shelter staff. )

If you’d like to become a foster for K-9 Angels Rescue – Houston, TX please send me a message.”

Mary Tipton
Co-founder and Intake Coordinator
Mary@k-9AngelsRescue.org

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Filed under adopting, adoption, adoption center, advocacy, education, foster, Happy Tails, outreach

Strut Your Mutt for a Cause (2015)

Brian Yeager, Natalie Freed

Brian Yeager and Natalie Freed enjoying last year’s Strut Your Mutt event
with (from left) foster dogs, Puff and Jiggly Puff,
who have since been adopted and are now K-9 Angels alums.

. .

Bring your best friend to Strut Your Mutt:  Enjoy a leisurely fundraising dog walk with (or without) your dog, followed by a doggie-themed festival that includes pet contests, photos, doggie goodies, fun activities for you and your furry friend, food, refreshments and more, all for a great cause – helping homeless pets.

Kate Thomson

Kate Thomson, who lives in Tanglewood with her husband Andrew,
with foster dog Leilani, who recently found her forever home.

. .

One local team you can consider joining is K-9 Angels Rescue, a dog rescue group located in the West U area, which has saved more than 2,200 dogs from shelters and from the streets since early 2012.  K-9 Angels is an all-breed, all-condition rescue group and the money they raise will be used to continue to grow their adoptions programs and spay/neuter services.

K-9 Angels is particularly close to my heart, since that’s where my husband and I adopted our sweet pup, Yogi, from just about a year ago.

Barb Koston

K-9 Angels foster and Tanglewood resident Barb Koston,
holding Fifi on the left
(now named Gracie by her adoptive family)
and Caroline on the right (now named Jingle by her adoptive family).
These pups were found in a backyard after a fire burned down their house.

. .

See information about joining K-9 Angels Strut Your Mutt team.  Last year, K-9 Angels raised more than $68,000, coming in second in overall fundraised among all of the Houston rescues that participated.

Plus, learn more about becoming a foster.  K-9 Angels is a 100 percent volunteer and foster-run nonprofit and they’re always seeking additional foster homes to be able to save more dogs.  All K-9 Angels dogs stay with foster homes during the week and are available for adoption every Saturday and Sunday at 5533 Weslayan (next to Chuck-E-Cheese).

– See more at:  http://thebuzzmagazines.com/articles/2015/10/strut-your-mutt-cause#sthash.QddUiVMp.dpuf

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5 things I learned as a foster dog parent and the 1 reason why I keep doing it

As a foster parent with Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, I take dogs into my home and care for them until they find their forever homes.

These dogs come from high-kill shelters in the southern U.S., and so far, I have fostered two dogs, both of whom found fantastic forever homes.

Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue likes to give its dogs celebrity names, which makes calling them in the park even more fun.  The first dog I fostered was named Ezra Klein and the second (who stole my heart) was named Ellen Page.

This is Ezra Klein, my first foster dog, a 2-year-old dachshund-chihuahua mix.

This is Ellen Page, my second foster dog, a 4-year-old “muttigree.”

I’m a video producer here at Upworthy, so when I brought Ellen Page into my home, I decided to document the highs and lows of being a foster parent.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. You get very little information about the dog you’re welcoming into your home.

Most of the time, foster parents have no idea what we’re in for — we get very little information about the dogs in advance.  The anticipation of a new foster pup always makes me nervous.  I call it my “pre-foster jitters.”

With Ellen, all I was told was that she had “bad manners” and was “aggressive with small dogs.”

Living in a community with a ton of small dogs, I was really nervous that Ellen would try to eat one for breakfast each morning.  Luckily, it turned out she preferred chasing squirrels over small dogs.

Ezra Klein, day 1, checking out his new temporary home.

2. Teaching foster pups that it’s OK to “go” on NYC sidewalks can be stressful.

Training a dog to be housebroken is tough, especially in NYC where grass is sparse.  It’s a learning process for everyone involved.

But that moment when they pee outside for the first time is pretty exhilarating.  After three long days of trying to get Ellen Page to pee outside, I basically threw a party for her the first time she got it right.

Pee party for Ellen!

3. Being a doggy foster parent to a nervous puppy can be a round-the-clock job.

Pee on the carpet?  Diarrhea at 4 a.m.?  Constant barking and separation anxiety?  Fear of being outside?  These are all issues that require constant love, patience, and understanding to help resolve.

My first foster puppy, Ezra, was so fearful on walks that he would drag me down the sidewalk back to my apartment building.  (He only weighed 12 pounds, but those little front legs have power — let me tell you.)  I didn’t know his history, but I suspected he spent most of his pre-foster life stuck in a crate and had probably had never been outside before.  So I worked with Jason Cohen, a dog trainer, to help Ezra become less anxious outside … which meant sitting outside with him for extended periods of time.
Ezra and I watched the sunset (as he tried to drag me back to my apartment).
Ezra and I went on long walks (as he tried to drag me back to my apartment).
Ezra and I sat and people-watched (as he tried to drag me back to my apartment).

And, eventually, Ezra realized being outside wasn’t so bad.

Classic Ezra butt-wiggle

It was a relief to know that all that patience had paid off.  By training Ezra to be calm outside, it was less likely that he’d be sent back to a shelter for misbehaving.

4. Walks are required frequently, even when you feel like being lazy.

You know how I mentioned it took a nervous Ellen Page three days to learn to pee outside?  Well, until that joyous moment, I was walking her multiple times a day, and even occasionally in the middle of the night, just in case she suddenly figured out where she was supposed to go to the bathroom.

At one point, I found myself scraping explosive doggy diarrhea off the sidewalk in the middle of the night (which is as fun as it sounds) when I would’ve much rather been sleeping.  But getting up to take Ellen on a 4 a.m. walk was worth it for that mess to end up outside rather than in my apartment — and to reinforce for Ellen that going to the bathroom should always happen outside.

5. The goodbye is by far the hardest part.

After I handed over Ellen’s leash to her amazing new adopters, I cried.  In the corner.  While my boyfriend patiently patted my head.

After spending countless hours training, petting, picking up poop, loving, feeding, and playing with your foster pup, there is nothing harder than seeing that pup walk away with its new family.  Leaving you.  Forever.

Or you can do what I did with Ellen’s adopters, and offer to dog-sit, should they ever go on vacation.  I am Ellen’s self-appointed cool aunt.  No promises that I won’t spoil her if her adopters take me up on the dog-sitting offer.

Ellen Page walking off into the sunset with her amazing adopters.

Of course, I always try to play it cool, as if I’m not crying and completely crushed, when my foster dogs walk away.  But after saying a tearful goodbye to Ellen Page, another Badass Brooklyn Dog Rescue puppy, Vin Diesel, tackled me with a big doggy hug.

Vin Diesel is so intuitive. It’s like he knew I needed a hug.
<Photo by Nikki Tappa>

Which brings me to the most rewarding part of fostering:

There, in Vin Diesel’s paws, I realized that there will ALWAYS be another dog in need of a foster.  Yes, I wanted to adopt Ellen Page and keep her as my own, but being a foster parent isn’t about me, or about Ellen.

It’s about the next dog on the kill list in a shelter down south, who needs a foster home in order to find a forever home.

As a doggy foster parent, you’re saving dogs lives.

According to the ASPCA, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized each year.  And every dog that gets fostered and adopted is one fewer dog on the kill list.  My boyfriend and I decided that for every dog we foster, we are going to make a “paw print” (with nontoxic finger paint).

We plan on framing each paw print, so that one day, we can have a wall full of paws — all shapes and sizes.  Whenever we have post-fostering blues, we’ll have this wall of paw prints to remind us of the big picture.

Fostering is about saving as many dogs as possible.  And that makes it all worth it.

Watch my journey with Ellen Page below:

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Woman works to help 40-pound dachshund foster lose weight

Rescue group helps overweight Dachshund – VIDEO Link

HOUSTON – A dachshund at an area shelter should weigh around 15 pounds, but the dog is coming in at nearly 40 pounds.

Melissa Anderson volunteers with K-9 Angels Rescue.  She said the owner of 7-year-old Vincent died a few weeks ago and the man’s family did not want the dog anymore, so they turned him over to a local shelter.

“Someone contacted me and said can you foster this big Dachshund?” Anderson said.  “I have three dachshunds of my own, so it kind of pulled at my heartstrings.”

Since then, Anderson and a friend have been working with the dog day in and day out.  Vincent swims in the pool for 20 minutes a day and has daily walks.

He’s lost a few pounds in the past couple of weeks, but he still has a long way to go.

Anderson said she thinks the original owner was actually feeding the dog fast food regularly and that’s how the weight was put on.

“When I went through Starbucks, when the intercom came on and said, ‘Can I take your order,’ he <Vincent> immediately perked up and he was down on the floorboard of the passenger seat.  He jumped up in the seat, which he didn’t do at the time, and came over to the window and his little nose was going crazy,” Anderson said.

As the four-legged guy continues on the road to better health, Anderson said she knows it’s going to be a long one.

At the current rate, she said it may take five to six months to get to the ideal weight.

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Overweight pup gets second chance at life

(CNN)

Obese, unhealthy and mourning the loss of his owner, Vincent was surrendered to a county animal shelter in Houston two weeks ago.  His prospects didn’t look good.

He weighed in at 38 pounds, double the healthy weight for a 7-year-old dachshund.  He had high cholesterol and his back dipped from the extra weight, putting him at risk of nerve damage.  Mary Tipton, the intake coordinator for K-9 Angels Rescue, and a member of the board of directors for Harris County Animal Shelter, happened to be at the shelter for a meeting when she spotted him.

“Vincent was just enormous,” Tipton said.  She took a picture and posted it on Facebook to find him a foster parent.  Within 15 minutes, dachshund rescuer Melissa Anderson volunteered to take Vincent in.

Vincent’s case is extreme, but obesity affects a lot of pets.  In 2014, an estimated 52.7% of U.S. dogs were overweight or obese, according to the National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey.

Vincent was 38-pounds at the shelter, but two weeks later weighs in at 35.2.

Now Anderson is slowly bringing Vincent back to health.

The first week wasn’t easy for either Vincent or his foster parent.  When leaving the vet with such a large dog, Anderson said she felt fat-shamed by someone walking on the sidewalk.

“They told me, ‘Now that’s just abuse,’ and acted like they had to go out of their way to walk around Vincent,” said Anderson.  “Some people just don’t know other people’s story.  They just make assumptions by their appearances.”

When she took him home, Vincent got sick, both vomiting and upset bowels, when he ate the healthy dog foods she gave him.  Anderson could tell he was despondent.

“I am not sure what the previous owner fed him, but I think it was all fast food.  He was literally detoxing the first week,” she said.

Anderson said when she went to a Starbucks drive-thru one day, Vincent got really excited by the sound of the intercom.  “He jumped on my lap and stuck his nose outside the window, just sniffing away.”

But after just two weeks, Anderson said Vincent is well on his way to a healthier lifestyle.

Vincent eats a special dog food; Anderson offers him green beans or carrots as “treats” but he hasn’t really gone for those yet.

He’s on a pretty rigorous exercise regime, participating in water aerobics five times a week and playing with her others dogs in the yard.  The water aerobics help take pressure off Vincent’s strained joints.  Plus, with the 100-degree weather in Texas, it offers a nice cool-down for both Vincent and Anderson.

At first Vincent just floated at his water aerobics class, but he's started swimming.

At first, Vincent would just float in his life jacket.  But his endurance is growing.  Vincent can now paddle in the pool for about 15-20 minutes, five days a week.  Before, he could only waddle around the yard with the other dogs.  Now he is able to jog.

“He is really happier now then he was,” said Anderson.  She said he keeps a positive attitude and seems to know they are trying to help him.

Vincent has gained energy as he's begun to lose weight.

K-9 Angels Rescue is hoping to get him to a healthy weight so he can be ready for adoption, but they aren’t opposed to him being adopted in his current condition.

“We take adoptions case by case.  If there was a perfect home that wanted to take over his weight loss journey we may take that into consideration,” said Tipton.  “We are in no hurry to get rid of him but there are other dogs at the shelter that are ready to be saved.”

Now, Fat Vincent is on his way to become Skinny Vinnie.  He was 38-pounds and two weeks later weighs in at 35.2.  His weight loss will be a slow process but with the help of K-9 Angels Rescue he is on his way to his new life.

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K-9 Angels Rescue Working to Regain Fat Dog’s Health

Group working to regain fat dog's health
A dog dropped off at the pound following his owner’s death is getting lots of attention for his size.
But now, a local group and vets are slowly bringing Vincent back to health.
Friday, August 28, 2015 07:07PM

Every step and every run was a struggle for Vincent a couple of weeks ago.  At 38 pounds, double the size vets say he should be, Vincent’s size takes a toll on him.  His back even dips from the weight.  VIDEO LINK

Foster parent Melissa Anderson with K-9 Angels Rescue says, “People can be kind of mean.  They’ll say things like that’s abuse and they’re thinking it’s my dog and I’m like I’m trying to help this dog.  It just made me think people can be kind of harsh.”

Vincent was dropped off at the pound in Harris County after his owner died.  Fearing he would not get adopted Anderson stepped in because she did not want Vincent to be overlooked or worse, be put down because of space.

Vincent’s vet has him on a diet and Melissa and her friend Lauren are getting Vincent healthy again through swimming.  Vincent enjoys it and is pushing himself.  After weight loss, will come walks.

Already, Vincent has lost two pounds.

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