More foster families needed for Austin shelter animals

Dogs available for adoption at Austin Animal Center in August 2017. (KXAN Photo)
Dogs available for adoption at Austin Animal Center in August 2017. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s all paws on deck at the Austin Animal Center which is running out of space to house any more animals. The shelter is in desperate need of foster parents for the animals so they are putting out a call for help.

Roughly 1,000 animals call the center “home.” But right now there are not enough kennels so some dogs and cats are in pop-up crates and some are housed in the shelter’s multipurpose room as well.

“Summer is the hardest time for animals, we are flooded with animals, it’s hot outside, people are going on vacation. We end up with a lot of stray animals at that time, it gets really full,” said Miranda Hitchcock with the Austin Animal Center.

Cat available at Austin Animal Center

The Center relies on a network of foster homes to take in animals up for adoption — Giving a nervous, anxious sheltered dog or cat a “summer break”.

“I fostered a large German Shepard last year and he was very shy, very wary, very scared. And in the first week and a half he was with me, he relaxed, he was fine, he wasn’t showing any sort of wariness or scared,” said Belinda Hare, executive assistant at Austin Animal Center.

Through foster families, it gives the shelter staff a better understanding of how the animals react in a home setting.

“What we’ve found is an angry, stressed, nervous dog isn’t going to exhibit its normal behavior so what fostering allows us to do is see what the dog is going to be like in a real family home like situation,” Hare said.

One animal taken into a home means another can be saved at the shelter and the foster families can become ambassadors.

“People say, ‘Oh, I’m walking the dog down South Congress and going to get Amy’s Ice Cream and people are talking about this cute dog I have,'” Hitchcock said.

Types of Animals Needing Foster Care

  • Adult dogs and cats needing a break from the shelter. This can be anywhere from a couple of days to several months, depending on the type of pet and its particular needs.
  • Dogs and cats with special behavioral needs. Some of our animals lack socialization and training, and time spent in a foster home (one week to one month, or longer) working on obedience and basic skills can be lifesaving!
  • Neonatal kittens! They need bottle feeding every two to six hours, depending on their age.
  • Animals who are recovering from an illness, injury or surgery. If you don’t have any other pets, or, have a large, quiet area of your home, separate from other pets, we need you most of all for these types of animals! Having a quiet place to rest and recover makes a huge difference.

To qualify to foster, you need to fill out an application and get approved.

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