Short term fostering can brighten holidays for shelter pets, families

Sadie, one of the many shelter dogs who might find another home for the holidays.

Whether it’s a feeling out phase toward owning a pet, a desire to offer a dog a break from shelter life or simply looking for a bit of companionship while home for the holidays, the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter might have just the fit for you.

The shelter offers the option to foster any of its animals short term for the holidays as part of its Foster Express program. The shelter provides medical care, food and crate for the pet during its foster tenure, and as a bonus will wrap a present for it to open on Christmas Day.

The idea behind providing the option is that short term fostering helps animals emotionally and is a way to prepare/promote them for an eventual permanent adoption.

Animal shelter supervisor and veterinarian Dr. Jena Troxler noted that the St. Charles shelter has offered the option since 2016. Those offering their homes to the animals for a stay are providing a great help, she said, because shelter life can be quite stressful.

“A home environment provides a good routine and acclimation to basic sights, sounds and expectations of a household environment,” Troxler said. “The shelter staff is wonderful, yet due to the intake of 1300 homeless pets per year in St. Charles Parish, it still lends itself to a stressful setting to live. There are lots of sound and scents that can be stressful and scary to these pets used to living in homes, but who have lost theirs.”

When someone decides to foster on a short-term basis, they bring the dog or cat into the family home and continue to work on the pet’s manners – teaching response to commands like sit, down or stay – and reinforce other housetraining basics.

The holidays, Troxler said, provide a nice opportunity for parents and their children to take on a foster pet as something of a family project, with the children home from school for the holidays. One fostering window is approximately a week long, with the second just a touch longer.

“For the holidays we promote a short foster period that many are comfortable with,” said Troxler. “Many times we can find permanent homes within a two-week period and get them from that home and directly into their next forever family.”

But sometimes a temporary situation can blossom into something lasting.

“Some fall in love and adopt, while others choose to foster a bit longer & both are great deviations,” Troxler said. “We help match the pet to your home, lifestyle, current pet personalities and desired activity levels. Fostering is free and we provide all needed supplies and medical care.”

Anyone over 21 can apply. If one rents, landlord approval is necessary for a pet. The foster family’s current pets must receive basic yearly veterinary care of an exam, vaccines and recommended heartworm/flea prevention.

The next foster window begins with a December 22nd pickup and Jan. 2 return.

Those interested in fostering may apply via stcharlesparish.gov.

 

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