By Janet McAfee
In a nation that treats dogs like family and delights in the joy of lively puppies and kittens, there are still countless litters of these little creatures rendered homeless by a variety of circumstances. Groups of abandoned and neglected animals suffer in our desert heat, laying huddled together for comfort. They are subject to heat stroke, parasites, and a variety of deadly diseases. Some will perish. Others, litters of young animals and older ones end up in large overcrowded public shelters. Sometimes these facilities cannot accommodate their frequent feedings, including possible bottle feeding, as they do not have overnight staff.
For a variety of reasons, including the economy and the number of renters with pets facing eviction, summer 2022 brings an increase in the number of stray dogs and cats roaming the streets and coming into public shelters. At the same time, there is a shortage of foster homes. The snowbird fosters are gone until late Fall. And after two years of restricted travel during the pandemic, many Coachella Valley residents are taking long vacations.
One local woman making a difference is Marie Marcinko, Loving All Animals extraordinary foster mom, who specializes in fostering precious homeless puppies. This amazing woman has fostered a total of 136 dogs and puppies for Loving All Animals. Sometimes Marie fosters a mother dog with nursing puppies. At other times she fosters just the little orphaned ones or a single older small dog. CAN YOU FOSTER JUST ONE ANIMAL?
Marie enthusiastically exclaims, “I love fostering! I love knowing that my efforts often save a dog’s life. Fostering is such an important part of my life that I can’t imagine not doing it. Yes, sometimes I cry a little after they leave for a home, but the sadness quickly leaves when I anticipate the next one. And I think about how sad that dog was when it was in a shelter. Fostering gives me purpose, and it fulfills a need within me that is hard to explain in words. I participate in the adoptions and get photos and updates from the adopters.”
Dedicated foster parents like Marie Marcinko expand the walls of our valley’s shelters. They are the vital link to creating a “No Kill Coachella Valley” where the number of dogs and cats euthanized in public shelters is dramatically reduced. A rescue dog or cat is more likely to be successfully adopted after the loving handling and attention they receive in a foster home. Foster parents provide valuable information about the pet’s temperament.
Loving All Animals provides foster parents with food, supplies, and the support they need every step of the way. Loving All Animals pays for the vet care the animals require, including their vaccinations, microchipping, and spaying/neutering. They have extensive social media contacts to find wonderful adopters.
Your phone call today enables Loving All Animals to go out tomorrow and save a homeless animal in need. Call Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 or visit www.lovingallanimals.org and complete the online volunteer application to become part of their life saving foster team. The greatest need is for fosters for big dogs and fosters for kittens.
You can also foster a dog or cat directly from our Riverside County Shelter, the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, 72-050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms. They can be contacted at www.rcdas.org and (760) 343-3644. Because of staff shortages in answering calls, you can go there in person during visiting hours 10am to 4pm Monday through Saturday and sign up. That animal will be overjoyed when it leaves with you!
They call it a “foster failure” if you decide to adopt your foster animal, but that’s also a happy ending!