By Janet McAfee
Bonded by their love for dogs, Tami Jay and Joan Pendley are part of a foster network dedicated to saving the lives of homeless shelter dogs. They take them into their hearts and home, providing them the training and loving care that prepares them for their adoptive homes. In some cases, they help heal the physical and emotional scars the animals suffered from neglect and abuse. This mother and daughter team have fostered 17 dogs for Loving All Animals, a Palm Desert based animal welfare organization.
Joan first became aware of the plight of homeless animals while working at the Colmac Energy Plant located on Indian tribal land in Mecca. She was involved with the rescue of two stray dogs, Missy and Bowser, and took them to Animal Samaritans for vetting and spaying, and followed up to ensure they were well cared for. Joan wanted to do more to help animals, and she and Tami started getting involved in local rescue groups.
In 2014, they attended Loving All Animals’ Super Pet Adoption Fair and learned how fostering can save animals that otherwise might be euthanized. Joan was now retired, and suggested that her daughter, who has a large home with a back yard, take in one or two foster dogs at a time. They “team foster” to ensure that their foster dogs’ needs are met. Joan lives near Tami, and comes over several times a day to walk the dogs and spend time socializing them. Tami works full time at a local hospital, but as a team they provide excellent care and attention to their foster dogs.
Summer is almost here, and the snowbird fosters have left the Coachella Valley for cooler regions. But the homeless animals keep coming, and the need to care for them doesn’t end with the change in seasons. Some are dumped in the scorching desert, others left behind in empty homes, and some are discarded in shelters by their uncaring humans. More foster homes are needed!
Fostering a homeless dog or cat “expands the walls” of our overcrowded public shelters. Fostering provides a loving home environment for animals who may be frightened in a shelter. Fostering increases the adoptability animals as they are socialized and trained. Foster parents provide vital information about an animal’s temperament in order to ensure a good adoption. Animals that have been neglected start to thrive and become happy for the first time in a loving home. A strong foster care system is one of the key ingredients to reduce euthanasia and help the Coachella Valley become a “No Kill” community.
Will you join Loving All Animals’ team of life saving foster parents? Loving All Animals provides pet food, supplies, training assistance, and pays for all veterinary care including spaying and neutering. They photograph and post the animals on various websites to promote their adoption, and participate in community adoption events. Dog trainers are available to help with training tips and training classes are periodically offered.
You might worry about feeling sad when your foster dog gets adopted. But consider how heartbroken that animal feels being discarded at a shelter, alone, behind bars and afraid. Others need a place to recover from surgery or minor medical conditions. Fostering is the perfect option for folks who travel too much to own their own pet. Foster parents can be a team, a pair of neighbors, a family with children, or a single person. “Foster failures” are allowed if you decide to adopt your foster animal!
Joan encourages others to try fostering. “It’s about saving the animals. When I get to meet the people adopting our foster dog and realize what a great home they are getting, it brings me even more happiness.” Tami explains, “The foster dogs are such great company when I get home after work. They show how grateful they are, and are full of unconditional love.”
Call Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 for more information about fostering a sweet dog. Fosters for cats and kittens are also needed. “Dogless” homes and homes with other pets are welcome. You can view their adoptable animals at www.lovingallanimals.org. As Tami and Joan will tell you, when you open your heart and home to a homeless animal, your kindness will also bring great joy into your own life.