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April 9, 2008 > Ohlone Humane Society: Almost Home

Ohlone Humane Society: Almost Home

By Nancy Lyon

Many of the animals that are not adopted or reclaimed at animal shelters look to rescue organizations and individuals for their salvation. The hard fact is there are more animals than there are good homes available. This often places great pressure on rescuers who are asked to save and home them.

The concept of 'home' with its promise of companionship, warmth and love may seem only a dream beyond the reach of the many animals that wait and hope in animal shelters and elsewhere. Without enough volunteers to help with their care, it often remains just that - a dream. What's the solution? Is there a solution?

The problem of too many animals is complex but part of the immediate answer is to find those in jeopardy temporary sanctuary in foster care while seeking quality forever homes. Foster caregivers provide temporary sanctuary and guidance to an animal in danger of losing his or her life. The homes are the bridge between possible euthanasia in a shelter or abandonment, and that dreamed of home and loving family.

Taking the first step to becoming a foster parent for a needy critter can be daunting but the rewards are many. One of the qualities a foster caregiver needs is the gift of being able to look past surface appearances... past the results of human indifference and ignorance. While it is not always the case, rescue animals may have matted coats that are clogged with dirt and the smells that often go with neglect that mask their true qualities and nature, things that may turn away many people with lesser vision. Caregivers need to be willing to see beyond what is... to what could be... beyond the outer appearance to the special creature that lives within the rough exterior just waiting to be recognized and valued.

One of the most rewarding aspects of fostering is to see them bloom with renewed trust and hope. With it comes a renewal of spirit that is a joy to watch and the knowledge that without your help a special and beautiful life would have been lost to the world.

Ideally, fosters have seasoned mentors with a support system that assists in evaluating and selecting just the 'right one' that will fit into their home environment and thrive. It's not always easy for the novice to evaluate animals that are in shelters, animals who are often stressed and difficult to assess. Responsible animal welfare organizations who do rescue are experienced in working with shelter animals and are always available to help their fosterers to facilitate the 'pet's' transition from shelter rescue to successful rehoming.

Extensive experience in working with animals isn't necessary but a basic understanding of the cat, dog or other species behavior is very desirable. With OHS there is always an experienced and knowledgeable team leader available to mentor new fosterers, and support is always right at hand. No request for help ever goes unanswered

If you consider becoming a foster parent to a cat or dog, give OHS a call. This time of year, the need is greater than ever with young animals being born.

Your help is needed and now. Whether it is fostering for OHS or your local animal shelter...don't wait. Help us to bring these deserving animals all the way home.

For additional information on fostering, contact OHS Companion Animal Rescue Director Judy Canright at (510) 494-1033 or the Tri-City Animal Shelter at (510) 790-6643.

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