According to aspca.org there are approximately 3.3 million dogs in shelters in the U.S. and each year 670,000 of those dogs are euthanized. Shelters are overflowing with homeless dogs just waiting for a family.
A way to combat shelter overflow is fostering, a temporary adoption system that alleviates crowding by sending animals to families for short term care. Foster puppies are an often occurrence in the Groff family house. The Groff are an on-call foster family with the no kill shelter Saving Grace.
The Groff family has lots of experience from fostering dogs over the past three years. This makes them reliable to take in animals whenever needed. The Groff’s never turn down an animal in need. “My whole family are animal lovers, and we have a lot of our own pets, but we don’t like that so many dogs don’t have homes, and we know that fostering them helps them get adopted,” said Katie Groff, senior.
While having a pen full of puppies is adorable, it takes a lot of work to foster animals. Foster families can sometimes be responsible for getting the animals vaccinations and heartworm medicine, especially if they are fostering puppies who often need a series of vaccinations. Shelters like Saving Grace cover the cost of these prerequisite procedures, however foster families are responsible for the trips to the vet.
One of the main costs that comes with fostering is the price of food. Sometimes a foster mom comes with the foster puppies and she provides them with milk, but other times when puppies are a few months old, they require several pounds of food.
Fostering puppies not only requires money, it is also a huge time commitment. “It also takes a lot of time because if there are four, or five, or six of them we have to make sure they all go out and come back in because we have to get them potty trained,” said Groff.
Typically the Groffs foster puppies for a few days to a week at a time. When the puppies are ready for either adoption or a new foster family, the Groff’s return them. It is hard not to establish a bond with the puppies but having them for only a couple days makes it easier. However, sometimes when Saving Grace is in desperate need, the puppies can stay with the Groffs for a while. “The longest we have had them for is five weeks, which is hard because we get attached, and it’s hard to let them go,” said Groff.
The dedication required for fostering animals might scare some from the process. However, when talking to someone deeply involved in fostering it is easy to say the reward of giving animals a safe and loving home is worth sacrificing your time and energy for.