By Janet McAfee
A picture says a thousand words. This photo of a homeless pup named Benny shows his love and joy upon learning Diane Chenowith, his foster mom, wants to adopt him. Diane has fostered many dogs for Loving All Animals during the past 4 years, but Benny is the first pup she decided to keep forever.
Diane reports, “Benny is so sweet and mellow, he puts his little paw on me very gently when he wants my attention. I absolutely love this little guy!”. Working at home during the quarantine, Diane enjoys having a little buddy to go for walks outdoors and to cuddle with in the evening.
The companionship of pets has been shown to reduce stress and lower anxiety, helping people to feel calmer and more secure during a time when the world news is so distressing. Families with children who can’t visit with their friends can enjoy happy kisses and hugs from a rescue dog. Seniors who feel alone and isolated can benefit from a purring cat cuddling happily on their lap.
Amid new concerns that some pet owners might relinquish their animals during the economic downturn, shelters and rescues are hoping that more people will open their hearts to a rescue pet. Are you thinking about fostering or adopting a homeless pet? What are some of the myths about fostering an animal from a shelter or rescue? Here are some of those myths, and some information that can help you decide.
MYTH #1 – ANIMALS IN SHELTERS ARE “DAMAGED GOODS” WITH PROBLEMS
FACT: The vast majority of pets in shelters are healthy, happy creatures whose only crime is not having a home. They end up in shelters when their humans become incapacitated or pass away. Others are unclaimed strays who may be a bit frightened when brought to a shelter, but happily thrive given a second chance home. Diane Chenowith enthusiastically challenges this myth, “I’ve never had a foster dog that caused any damage or created any problems in my home. When they arrive, they are so happy to be here. I show them around and tell them the house rules, and they always agree!
Getting a rescue dog is so much easier than you can imagine. And It’s so rewarding.”
MYTH #2 – I CAN’T FOSTER BECAUSE I ALREADY HAVE PETS
FACT: While there are a few dogs and cats that don’t care for other animals, most animals do well if provided the proper introduction. You pet can help socialize and train the newcomer. Most animals needing fostering have already passed a quarantine period. There is good information online about effective methods to introduce a new animal to your other pets.
MYTH #3 – MY HOME OR APARTMENT IS TOO SMALL
It really depends. Some large active dogs may require more space, including a fenced in yard. Many small dogs, and all cats, do fine in apartments. No matter where you live, there is a waiting animal that will fit into your home and lifestyle.
MYTH #4 – FOSTERING A PET WILL COST ME MONEY
FACT: During the foster period, the shelter or rescue group pays for all veterinary care, including vaccinations and spaying or neutering. Most organizations provide you with pet food and needed supplies.
MYTH #5 – I WILL BE TOO SAD WHEN THEY LEAVE TO BE ADOPTED
FACT: You might shed a tear when you say goodbye, but think about how sad that animal feels sitting in a shelter kennel after losing its family. Many foster parents receive happy updates from the adopters, and some even offer to pet sit.
MYTH #6 – FOSTERING OR ADOPTING A PET WILL TIE ME DOWN
FACT: While we are all under “stay at home” orders, this one does not apply. This is a good time to take in a new pet because you have time to train it and help it assimilate into your family.
MYTH #7 – I WILL WANT TO ADOPT THEM ALL!
FACT: The vast majority of animal foster parents understand they are part of the animal’s journey to become prepared for their forever home. However, it’s happily called a “foster failure” when the foster parent decides to adopt. Dogs instinctively know our intent, and Benny is overjoyed about his happy ending.
Below is a partial list of shelters and rescues in the Inland Empire that have animals for adoption. Some of them also offer foster programs. The information is current as we go to print, but please call them for updates as things can change. If you cannot adopt or foster right now, consider making a donation to one of these private rescues as they rely on public donations.
COACHELLA VALLEY ANIMAL CAMPUS – This large county shelter is now closed for adoptions. You can view the animals at all 4 county shelters at www.rcdas.org, and get the ID number of the animal(s) you want to meet. Email them with the animal’s ID number at firstname.lastname@example.org and call (760) 343-3644. Located at 72050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms. (Public)
PALM SPRINGS ANIMAL SHELTER – Shelter closed, but you can call for an appointment to adopt. They schedule appointments Wednesday through Monday, closed on Tuesday. View their animals online at www.psanimalsshelter.org, 4575 E. Mesquite Ave, Palm Springs, (760) 416-5718. (Public)
ANIMAL SAMARITANS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. View their animals at www.animalsamaritans.org . Email email@example.com to foster. Located at 72307 Ramon Rd, Thousand Palms, (760) 601-3918. (Private)
CALIFORNIA PAWS RESCUE – Open for adoptions. Located at the Barkingham Pet Hotel, 73650 Dinah Shore, Palm Desert. View their animals at www.californiapawsrescue.com, (760) 656-3833. (Private)
HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE COACHELLA VALLEY – Shelter closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. View their animals at http://www.orphanpet.com. Located at 17825 N. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs, (760) 329-0203. (Private)
KITTYLAND – Open for adoptions, but only admit one adopter at a time. Open 12noon-2pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Located at 67600 18th Avenue, Desert Hot Springs. http://www.kittylandrescue.org, (760) 251-2700. Cats are also at PetSmart Palm Springs. (Private)
LOVING ALL ANIMALS – Shelter currently closed, dogs in foster homes. Located at 83496 Avenue 51, Coachella, http://www.lovingallanimals.org, (760) 834-7000. (Private)
CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ANIMAL SHELTER – Shelter closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Hours for adoption 10am – 4pm Tuesday through Saturday, closed Sun/Mon. Google “City of San Bernardino Animal Shelter” to obtain website to view animals and get ID number of the animal you want to meet. Located at 333 Chandler Place, San Bernardino, (909) 384-1304 or (909) 384-7272. (Public)
DREAM TEAM ANGELS RESCUE – Foster based rescue located in Grand Terrace/SanBernardino area. Contact them through website www.DreamTeamangelsrescue.com, (360)688-8884. (Private)
There is a great website www.Petfinder.com where you can enter your zip code and the specifications for your desired pet, and you will receive a list of nearby rescue animals. Hugs & Wags!