OCHS aims to find foster homes

Sadie and her eight Labrador-mix puppies need a foster home through Oktibbeha County Humane Society. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Oktibbeha County Humane Society's Home for the Holidays program hopes to find foster homes for dogs and cats at the shelter during the holiday season.

"The idea is to get them in a warm, comfortable place that's welcoming either through adoption or fostering," OCHS Outreach Coordinator Sarah Buckleitner said. "We're really stressing fostering this year, because a lot of our regular fosters go away for the holiday and we're left without fosters."

Buckleitner said Home for the Holidays begins at Thanksgiving and lasts until after Christmas, but if anyone wants to foster an animal for longer then they are welcome to "Our ultimate goal is to bring in new fosters that we can rely on," she said.

If someone is interested in adopting an animal, Buckleitner said, OCHS will first ensure the person has a dog or cat-friendly home. Then, that person can fill out a foster form and gets matched with an animal based on time and energy needs.

"We match to the person's time needs, so if they're around all day and have the energy to bottle feed a newborn puppy, then we will match them with that," she said. "Or if they are not home as much we will match them with an animal who only needs to be fed a couple times per day, for example."

All supplies and veterinary costs are covered by OCHS for foster animals.

"It's a little bit like you get to have an animal of your own without the responsibility," Buckleitner said.

OCHS currently has six litters of puppies in foster homes, and it has two mother dogs that need long-term foster. Buckleitner said OCHS's biggest need is foster homes home for the two Labrador mothers and their litters of puppies.

"Our biggest thing right now is pushing for people who can foster those two Lab mama dogs," she said. "They're both really sweet dogs that get along with other dogs and people."

She said while foster parents get first dibs on an animal they foster, typically adopting foster animals is discouraged because once that space is filled in their home is filled, they are usually unable to foster animals again in the future.

"Our most valuable fosters are those who can help us over and over again," she said.

Buckleitner said fostering a dog or cat is easier than most people expect.

"A lot of people say they're worried about falling in love with the animal, but when it's hard work and a lot of responsibility, like bottle feeding a litter of puppies, you are able to keep a little bit of distance from them, and you know they're going to find an awesome home," she said.

Contact OCHS at (662) 338-9093 or visit them at 510 Industrial Park Rd. from 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for more information about fostering during Home for the Holidays.