It is one thing to know that rescues in the area depend on having foster homes to be able to save animals, it is another to see the many animals that wind up being euthanized because there are not enough foster homes to enable rescues to tag an animal to save it from the kill room.
In Part 1 of this series, the hard realities of strays picked up by animal control and not claimed by their owner is that they are far more likely to be euthanized than transferred to the Kansas Humane Society for adoption or tagged by a rescue. Only a small fraction of the dogs and cats in the Wichita Animal Shelter are saved, regardless of age or breed.
Since the combining of the campuses for the Kansas Humane Society and Wichita Animal Control (the shelter is also where Sedgwick County Animal Control takes animals), there are no more adoptions from the shelter. A few animals are transferred to the Kansas Humane Society for adoption, but those remaining must be tagged and removed by a rescue on the Animal Services list or claimed by their owner.
For a rescue to accept an owner surrender or be able to save more animals from Animal Services, they need foster homes. I look at Buddy, our first foster and know that dozens of animals were not as lucky as he to have someone step up to foster so that he did not wind up in the kill room.
Most rescues pay for medical costs for a foster and many also provide or reimburse for food. You may have a foster a few days or several months. At Caring Hands Humane Society in Newton, the average time in foster is three to four weeks, though a dog that is also going through behavior training is scheduled with its foster home for three months. Big Dogs Huge Paws says puppies are usually a few weeks, though they have an adult dog in foster now that is dog aggressive and he has been with his foster home for seven months. Animals with medical conditions and rehabilitation needs also usually are in foster care longer.
As a foster home, you may be working on basic training, manners and socialization with your foster dog or cat. The work you do helps each animal be more adoptable, ensuring that they find the right forever home. For the shelters, a foster home can mean saving two lives as it opens up a spot at the shelter for another animal to be placed. You will take your foster to vet appointments for spay or neuter, shots and heartworm testing, and sometimes for follow up depending on test results or to get stitches out. Most of the rescues will also provide a crate for crate training your foster animal and for safety when you’re not at home.
In every testimonial, the foster homes are enthusiastic about their foster experiences, knowing they have made it possible for an animal to be saved. Many fail their first foster because they adopt it, and all will tell you the first one is the hardest to let go. I know I have to let our Buddy go or I won’t be allowed to foster again, yet I’m the one he shadows from one room to the next. It will not be easy to say good-bye, but I hope fervently that he finds a forever home at the Atwoods adoption event April 2 mostly because I know there are more dogs in need, like the one year old Mastiff for which Dog N’ Bone Rescue needs a foster home.
Puppy and kitten season is almost here and many rescues and shelters need foster homes to care for very young animals until they are old enough to adopt. Whether you think you’d rather have an adult animal or a very young one or something in between, stepping up to foster means lives will be saved.
The following are llinks to the rescues on the Wichita Animal Control pull list. Take a moment to visit their sites and fill out a foster application for the one you think you’d most like to work with. The need for foster homes is huge in the area and yes, you can live outside of Wichita and foster. Most have the same requirements of a foster home as an adoptive home and a home visit is normally required before an application is approved.
Dog N’ Bone Rescue (dogs and cats)
K-9 Karma Rescue
Kansas K9 ResQ
Big Dogs Huge Paws
Southern Winds Equine Rescue, Mulvane
Hope In the Valley Equine Rescue, Valley Center
Rainbow Meadows Equine Rescue, Sedan
Shelters that need foster homes:
Caring Hands Humane Society, Newton
Kansas Humane Society, Wichita
Lifeline Animal Protection & Placement, Wichita
Cowley County Humane Society, Winfield