By Janet McAfee

A visit to our public shelters in Riverside and San Bernardino counties quickly confirms most animals there are large dogs.  Apartment dwellers and seniors usually prefer to adopt small dogs.  Most people who volunteer to foster request a small size dog, therefore more homes for large dogs are needed.  Large dogs need the extra boost to get adopted that foster homes can provide, helping to socialize them, and showcasing them in social media and in the community.

While there have always been lots of pit bull dogs in shelters, now you see many homeless majestic German Shepherds and Huskies.  In 2022, more large dogs end up in public shelters for a variety of reasons.  As folks return to work, those big dogs they adopted during the quarantine may create a nuisance with their loud barking.  Landlords aware of the uptake in property values are selling their rental homes, and people with large size pets are at the bottom of the list in a decreasing rental market.

What can you do to help?  Fostering is the key to the Coachella Valley and other communities becoming a “No Kill” community.  Fostering “expands the walls” of our often-crowded public shelters.  Most large breed dogs do not do well in a kennel for very long.  They become stressed and develop behavior issues they never had in their previous homes.  Sadly, this can result in their being euthanized.


Animals that are stressed or frightened in a shelter kennel begin to relax and transform in a foster home where they have a warm bed and loving attention.  Fostering may not only save a dog’s life, but it provides the socialization and training for a successful adoption.  People fostering or adopting these large active animals should have a large walled secure yard, with some exceptions for senior dogs. Homes should also provide indoor access for dogs to do what they love most, hanging with humans.

If you can open your heart and home to a foster dog, consider taking one of the medium or larger size pups.  Most large breed dogs are incredibly smart and easy to train.  They thrive in an environment where they learn new things.  Consider how amazing large breed dogs perform complex lifesaving tasks in law enforcement, search and rescue teams, and the military.

There are more advantages to having a big dog.  They require more exercise, and they would love to accompany you on a Spring hiking excursion.  Most large dogs are relatively calm during their time inside the house, content to relax by your feet.  These magnificent creatures usually have an even temperament, and they are protective of their families.  They tend to reserve their energy for romping in the back yard and trips to the dog park.  Another plus is that they almost never have an “accident” inside the house.

Pictured here is Fred, a fabulous Husky mix boy who is getting rave reviews at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus.  Come and meet Fred, dog ID#A1656983, at 72-050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms between the hours of 10am and 4pm Monday through Saturday.  This 6-yr-old boy is 84 lbs. of doggie love and enjoys mingling with other big pups in the shelters Big Dog Play Group.

Shane Roberts, director of Luna Siberian Husky Rescue, attributes the television show Game of Thrones as one reason for the increase in “Thronies” purchasing Huskies on impulse.  Shane is concerned that most of these adopters are unaware of their needs and tendency to escape.  Their high pitch bark can be an issue if your home shares an adjoining wall.  Breeders, motivated by profit, proliferated even more Huskies when there are not enough homes.  Adopt, foster, or donate to this wonderful local organization that saves Huskies from Southern California public shelters, www.LunaSiberianRescue.Dog.

DOG, the current movie hit about a man’s journey with a Belgium Malinois dog will probably generate a similar proliferation of this working breed.  This breed needs lots of stimulation and tasks to perform.  Not everyone has the physical energy and time to keep up with these dogs like the actor in the movie.

Coachella Valley residents can call Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 for more information about fostering.  Palm Springs residents can contact the Palm Springs Animal Shelter at (760) 416-5718  You can visit the county Coachella Valley Animal Campus shelter and select a dog of any size to foster or take on a day outing.

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