|The Sharp-Misenheimers with past fosters and new families.|
In the midst of a crowd of dogs and people on a sunny Sunday at Las Palmas Park, the Sharp-Misenheimer family stands out. It’s not the bright red hair the whole family has, it’s how popular they are. Person after person stops to greet them, their dogs erupting in spasms of joy at the sight of the family. A fox-like chihuahua puppy almost drags it’s adult human off it’s feet to get to the Sharp-Misenheimers. Shy with others, the pup bounds into the air to land kisses on the kids. The humans hug them, the dogs lick them but no one seems able to stay away from them.
|Mom Lori gets a grateful kiss.|
The Sharp-Misenheimer family is a foster family. When animals come in that are too young to be adopted (like Farrah, the bouncing chi pup) or too shy to be in a shelter (Benny, the adorably stubby white dog), our Rescue and Foster Team (RAFT) places them with foster families like the Sharp-Misenheimers. Families that teach them valuable skills, help them gain confidence and shower them with love.
At our recent foster family reunion, several of their past charges and their adopters came to visit, show off, and thank the foster folks for helping their dogs. As the rest of the party progressed, the Sharp-Misenheimers sat under a large tree and talked and laughed with these strangers whose lives they’ve touched.
|Debbie Algieri with three of the pups she fostered & their adopters.|
On the other side of the picnic, Debbie Algieri holds the leashes of two little brown terrier mixes. “It’s my babies from last year!” she says. The dogs, littermates who haven’t seen each other in over a year, wrestle at her feet. Debbie fostered this litter of five, three of which have come today. Later the three dogs play while Debbie talks with their families like old friends.
“People always think fostering is going to be sad” Bridget Keenan, our Director of Development and a dedicated foster mom says. “But it’s not, really. Saying goodbye to the first one is hard but after that it’s a happy thing. You get to meet their new family and see them go to a good home. You have some input on where they go. It’s great”.
Fostering offers a life saving option for many dogs. Without access to foster homes, there are few options for dogs that are too scared in a shelter environment, very young or needing some treatment prior to becoming adoptable. Being able to utilize the extra space of foster homes also means we can help more homeless animals from the community.
|Puppy family reunion.|
“We can’t increase the size of our building, but we can keep increasing our number of foster families. Every family that volunteers to foster a dog, literally saves a life,” says Jeri Seiden, Manager of Rescue and Foster Care Programs.
For more information about becoming a foster family, please contact Casaundra Cruz at (408) 262.2133 ext 183.