Many have received an email from this beautiful animal advocate and attorney, with a heart ever bit as large as her vast network of people all over our great state.
Years ago, Martha discovered a “need” and started what has now been dubbed, “The Martha-net” because with one touch of her computer’s SEND button, Martha can forward a critical email about an animal in need to thousands of her subscribers. During this last decade, Martha’s personal Internet service has saved animals too numerous to count, and has changed their lives by connecting them with loving owners. All at the touch of a button!
The latest Martha-Mail was a little different from the “normal” Martha announcement. It seemed to fit our holiday season perfectly, as folks look for ways to “give back,” and offer contributions other than writing a check. I inquired as to the source of this informative narrative.
“I wrote it myself,” Martha replied.
What a great column, I thought. Martha readily allowed me to share an excerpt with my own readers, in order to help folks understand “fostering.” She also pointed out how critical it is to save more lives, as the vast number of homeless creatures wait patiently for their “forever” homes. I hope you enjoy Martha’s insightful message. More importantly, I hope you follow Martha’s advice and become a foster parent. It’s a great feeling, knowing that you are giving that creature more time to find his/her new home. Or, like me, you may even decide that your foster is the perfect pet for you and yours IS the perfect home!
Thank you Martha for sharing your insightful message!
Save a Life. Be a Foster.
By Martha Hoffmeister
Animal shelters, of course, are misnamed. While they do offer temporary shelter to animals that have been picked up by Animal Control, or dumped by owners who are moving, or marrying, or having a baby, or doing other things that they think are appropriate excuses for the abandonment of a pet, shelters are often a place where dogs and cats are killed after a certain number of days. This is not to take issue with the folks who work at animal shelters. Many of these workers do everything in their power to place animals with rescue groups or no-kill shelters, or to get them adopted—anything to avoid having to put them down. But the simple fact is that, if an animal is not adopted or rescued from the vast majority of municipal or city shelters around here, it is killed; even if the dog, cat, puppy or kitten is healthy and adoptable. Anyone can Google the statistics, which are truly heartbreaking.
Lots of companion animals are “pulled” from shelters each day by local rescue organizations, most of which are 501 (c) (3) organizations staffed by volunteers whose own homes are full of pets and fosters.
The reason these rescue organizations (to name just a few: Animal Rescue of Texas, Paws in the City, Dog & Kitty City, Feral Friends, Legacy Boxer Rescue) are able to pull from shelters is because they have foster homes available for the dogs or cats. In other words, rescue organizations, in general, do NOT have a facility where they house the animals they save from shelters.
The SPCA of Texas pulls as many as they have some space in their over-crowded facility, but since the SPCA’s mission is to take surrendered pets from people with the excuses listed earlier, they don’t have nearly as much space for the animals in need from the Dallas Shelter or those found on the streets.
Therefore, these rescue organizations, the SPCA and Operation Kindness rely on their own group of volunteers who open their homes and their hearts to foster these adoptable animals.
Martha further explained, “fostering” a dog or cat means giving it a temporary home, while the rescue organization for which you are fostering works to find a permanent home for the pet. This could be a very short-term commitment or a lengthier one, but it is a commitment to saving an animal’s life. Most rescues provide vet care, crates, and the other things that the animal might need while in your home.
As a pet’s foster, you should be prepared to make arrangements to transport the foster dog or cat to regularly held adoption events (like the kind you see outside Petsmart or certain grocery stores on weekends, for example).
Fostering SAVES LIVES. It is the critical component in rescue. There are lots of great rescue organizations who are only limited in the number of animals they save by the number of volunteers they have to foster.
The holidays are coming. I know you have a lot on your plates, but you must realize this is a very hard time of year for rescues to line up foster families.
You have seen me repeatedly send out emails about a medium-sized dog being housed at the Irving Shelter: Jed. Not one inquiry has been made about him, even though there is now a rescue organization willing to pull him (and therefore try to find him a home). Jed can’t be pulled until someone agrees to foster him. There are hundreds of “Jeds” in the Dallas/Fort Worth area; hundreds of dogs and cats that will only find a home if someone gives them a temporary shelter.
If you are willing to foster a dog or cat, please let Martha know: firstname.lastname@example.org or MHOFMEISTER@shacklaw.net. She will put you in touch with a network of local animal rescuers. You’ll have to fill out a questionnaire from the agency and probably have to entertain a home visit as rescue organizations take their mission very seriously.
The gift of love is the best gift of all.
Especially when it involves four paws, a wagging tail and sloppy wet kisses.