By YVETTE C. HAMMETT
More than 90 dogs at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center are considered ready to go, and with the shelter at 125% of capacity, they are in dire need of foster families.
It doesn’t have to be a forever commitment, said Program Coordinator Lauryn Postiglione. It can be a 60-day commitment, during which time the foster family can document what the dog likes, who it interacts with best and so on.
The shelter is also hosting a Clear the Shelter event this weekend, Aug. 17 and 18, where ready-to-go dogs will have adoption fees waived and pre-adoptions will be half off.
“We currently do not have any dogs in foster care,” she said. But the 90 dogs at the shelter, some of whom have been there more than 100 days, have had all their shots, are spayed and neutered and health concerns have been addressed.
Foster parents offer food, love and discipline. If they can find the dogs a forever home with a friend or family member, all the better. But if they can’t, Postiglione said, at least the shelter will have that much more information on the dog to share with potential adopters.
“This gives us the opportunity if they come back to us, we know if they like long walks, if they are house broken or [if they have] learned sit, stay, down. We also look for foster parents to try to find them a good home in that time they are out with them,” Postiglione said.
“I think right now people forget that we do our foster program, or they think it is a long-term commitment, and they have to adopt.” They don’t, but if they do adopt, the shelter waives the adoption fee.
“A lot of our dogs are really good dogs,” Postiglione said. “Some need to be in an only dog household. Sometimes, people think they might want a dog but aren’t sure. Fostering will show them what it takes. They can experience the love a dog gives.”
The shelter is waiving the adoption fees because if someone makes a commitment to foster a dog, it is the county’s way of thanking them, Postiglione said.
“We want you to be able to get a benefit for helping us. We just want to help make it easier to find them all a loving home.
“People can take them for 60 days. If there is anything they need medically, we handle that,” Postiglione said. Foster families provide food, play time, toys and learn more about these dogs that they can share with potential adopters.
“Getting all these details is a huge asset,” she said. “A lot of people want to know these things before they decide whether to adopt. And since most dogs are strays, we just don’t have the info.”
Some dogs are high energy dogs that are better off with a family that has another high energy dog, she said. “We have dogs that are not good with other dogs, but we still want them to have the opportunity to go into foster.”
To learn more, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/residents/animals-and-pets/pet-adoption/adopt-a-dog-or-cat.