By Janet McAfee

Beautiful big dogs are now languishing in our public shelters, and Loving All Animals needs foster homes to help them get second chance forever homes.  Big dogs are much more likely to end up in shelters and remain there for a longer time than small dogs and puppies. During the pandemic we saw happy photos of empty shelter kennels on the news.  Why has the situation changed?  Here are some of the reasons:

THE ECONOMY IS FORCING MORE PEOPLE TO RELINQUISH ANIMALS – Rising prices and inflation means some families cannot afford veterinary bills and other expenses needed for their pets.

RISING RENTS AND HOME PRICES MEAN FEWER HOMES FOR ANIMALS – Some landlords are selling their rental properties to benefit from the current high home values.  Loving All Animals gets lots of phone calls from distraught owners who have to move, and few landlords will accept pets when they can get renters who don’t have them.  Large dogs are the least preferred pets for apartment rentals.

SPAYING AND NEUTERING WAS NOT CONSIDERED AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE DURING THE PANDEMIC – Due to the lack of this service, more animals were born and there are not enough homes for all of them.

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THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF VETERINARIANS – This is an acute problem in the Coachella Valley.  State law requires shelters and rescue organizations to spay and neuter their pets prior to adoption, and there are waiting lists for this procedure.  Therefore, rescue groups cannot take it as many animals.

Foster parents Diane and Travis Medley are pictured here with one of their previous foster dogs, lovely German Shepherd Zena, rescued from the county shelter by Loving All Animals.  Diane tells us, “Fostering Zena was not much different than fostering a small dog, except that they usually require a back yard.  Big dogs are so smart and house train very quickly, Zena never had an accident inside the house.  At 6 years of age, she was very calm and sweet.  We love helping a homeless animal prepare for a wonderful forever home!”

Travis adds, “We once owned two white German Shepherds and love the big dogs.  Fostering gives us our ‘dog fix’ as we don’t have a dog of our own and like to travel a lot.”

Fostering expands the walls of the shelters.  Big dogs do not do well when confined in shelter kennels, and when they become ‘kennel stressed’ this reduces their chance of getting adopted.

Loving All Animals, the group I work with, has a shelter for small dogs.  We have some foster homes for small dogs and bottle-fed kittens.  However, our few big dog fosters have left the Coachella Valley for the summer season.

Loving All Animals provides all the veterinary care, food, supplies, and training assistance you need. You can meet the adoptive family and be part of the happy adoption process. Think you might be sad when your foster dog gets adopted?  Please think about how sad that dog feels sitting in a kennel when their family never came for them.  You may end up a “foster failure” and adopt your foster pup, but that is welcomed.

Large dogs in foster homes benefit from the extra social media presence and networking by the private rescue.  Being in a foster home helps dogs become happier and more social.  Many adopters prefer to adopt dogs that are in foster homes, because the foster parent is an expert as to that dog’s personality.  Our volunteer dog trainers can help address any issue you may have with your dog.

Can you open your heart and your home to a large dog who deserves a second chance?  Most large dogs are relatively calm inside the house and are content to lay happily at your feet.  These brilliant magnificent creatures usually have an even temperament and are quick to learn commands.

Take a look at beautiful Bella, the German Shepherd girl pictured below waiting at our local county shelter.  Her family never came for her after a microchip identified them.  Bella hasn’t given up hope for a home.  Big dogs of all breeds can be found in these public open admission facilities.

Can you help?  Fostering is the key to the Coachella Valley becoming a “No Kill” community. Fostering may not only save a dog’s life, but it will bring you joy and purpose.

Big dogs have big personalities and big hearts to love you.  They give gigantic hugs and colossal kisses!

Coachella Valley residents can call Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 for more information about fostering. You can email me at janetmcafee8@gmail.com for more information about being part of a life- saving foster team.