OCHS in need of summer foster homes

Staff Writer

The Oktibbeha County Humane Society is in need of foster homes for cats and dogs during the summer.

"Our foster homes drastically decrease when the students leave," OCHS General Manager Christy Wells said. "Most of those fosters bring their animals back to the shelter, and the shelter ends up full all at one time."

Wells said there are numerous benefits to animals staying in a foster home instead of in a shelter.

"It is a much less stressful environment," she said. "That is one of the key things. It also allows the animal to relax, almost like going on vacation."

Wells said dogs and cats can also benefit from foster homes for medical reasons, such as recovering from an injury or illness like heart worms. It can also help baby animals and mothers.

"If we have juvenile puppies or kittens and they're too young to be in the shelter because it is a high-risk environment," she said. "It is also a lot more stressful if a mom is about to have babies soon, it is a lot easier for them to give birth in a foster home and wean their babies there."

Wells said fostering can last anywhere from two weeks to over a month, depending on the situation and the needs of the animal.

If anyone is interested in fostering an animal, they can sign up online at ochsms.org under the "How You Can Help" tab or by calling the shelter at (662) 338-9093.

Wells said foster parents are only responsible for taking the animal in and caring for it, and also alerting OCHS of any needs the animal may have. The foster parent must also return the animal to OCHS when requested.

"We do also allow foster homes the first option to adopt if they are interested in adopting the animal they are fostering," Wells said.

OCHS will supply all supplies, including food, kennels and toys, and will also provide medical care if needed.

Foster parents must live in Oktibbeha County and their pets must be up-to-date on vaccinations and preventatives. After signing up, foster parents will be matched with an animal based on needs and preferences.

OCHS has also begun "slumber parties" for all animals, where foster parents can take an animal home for a few nights up to a week.

"We used to only do it for potential adopters to see if that animal is a good fit for their home, but then we thought, 'Why limit it?'' Wells said. "If someone wants to take a dog home and the shelter is full, we think it will be very beneficial to everyone. When the dog comes back and is happy and wagging its tail, then it's more likely to get adopted then being stressed out in its kennel."