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Foster care: The home before the forever home

Bonded pairs come along every so often and must be adopted together. PHOTO/ALLISON WHITEHEAD

BY ALLISON WHITEHEAD
OU News Bureau

Rescue animals can have a happy ending with the right kind of foster parent.

There are about 78 million dogs in the United States. Pet owners get a quarter of these dogs from animal shelters and humane societies, according to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Fostering gives animals that are not ready for adoption a chance to live in a home and be loved like any other pet, according to the ASPCA. A pet might not be ready for adoption because of surgical recovery or the right family hasn’t yet been found.

Janice Keeler

“You never know what you’re going to get,” said Janice Keeler from Livonia, who has fostered about 50 dogs during the past seven years.

From timid dogs turning to loved ones and realizing dogs need love just like humans, she has had her fair share of experiences.

“Every time I get a new dog, I learn, ” Keeler said.

One bonded pair came into Keeler’s rescue. She brought them home after they didn’t work out another foster home. She said they were the best foster dogs she’s ever had.

On the other hand, she had a dog names Basil who would run around outside for hours and just pace around the house. She knew he wasn’t working out at her home and had to find a new one. The new foster was successful.

Up for adoption, Sunny found a home. PHOTO/ALLISON WHITEHEAD

Experiencing different preferences through dogs and how they react to their environmental changes is important. A successful fostering experience takes the right type of person who can handle the responsibility. The entire family must approve.

Some shelters do not enough room and some dogs need more socialization, according to Petfinder.

“I foster to give a dog a second chance at life,” Laura Jalynski of Livonia said.

Jalynski started working with the Make A Difference Rescue three years ago. She volunteers for adoption events and organizes fundraisers.

Keeler and Jalynski said patience is one of the most important qualities. Just like babies, dogs are taught right from wrong.

“You have to be able to recognize how they’re feeling,” Keeler said.

They have emotional needs just like humans do, and they show it in distinct ways, Keeler explained. If they are cowering or their tail is wagging, it means something.

Foster care can improve the chances of a dog getting adopted. PHOTO/ALLISON WHITEHEAD

The fostering process — typically three weeks to two months — ends when the dogs are adopted. Senior dogs or ones with special needs take longer.

Finding a forever home is the point of fostering, but letting go may not be as easy as it seems.

“It is impossible not to form a connection,” Jalynski said. “It’s the best feeling in the world to save them from hurting and show them for the first time what it feels like to be loved.”

Sometimes the process ends in what’s known as a foster failure. This is when the connection with the dog becomes so strong that the foster family adopts it.

“I have cried many times from letting them go,” Keeler said.

Added Jalynski: “I am what you call a foster failure times three. I truly admire those fosters who are able to give them up when the time comes for them to go to their forever home.”

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on Oct 19 2017. Filed under Featured article, Oakland County. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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