The save rate for the Palm Valley Animal Society has never been higher, representatives there say.
Last month, the nonprofit, which has animal shelters across the Rio Grande Valley, retained 94% of its animals. PVAS Development Coordinator Julian Whitacre said part of that can be attributed to how much people have been fostering animals.
Last week, there were more animals being cared for in foster homes than in their shelters.
So, to continue bolstering their foster program, the nonprofit applied and received a grant of $20,000 from Maddie’s Fund, an organization that works to support shelters across the nation.
PVAS applied to Maddie’s COVID-19 stimulus grant, and will use it toward building more foster kits, which include a crate, bowls, food, a leash, a collar, and some puppy pads if needed. The grant will fund about 300 foster kits.
“We just want to make it as easy for the community to foster as possible,” Whitacre said. “It’s so crucial for the animals to be fostered and just get out of the shelter environment whenever they can.”
He added that the goal of the organization is to ultimately get animals adopted, but their fostering program is a help for the shelter, and the animals.
“We of course want all of our animals to be adopted and find their forever homes, but until then, a foster home provides a great place for them to be,” Whitacre said.
He said being cared for in a home, even if it is a temporary stay, is important for the animals.
“They learn what it is like to be with a family,” Whitacre said. “A lot of our fosters will start working with them on basic things like potty training and commands, and what life is like in a home, because a lot of the animals we get are strays, and they have not had that before.”
To register to become a foster parent to a dog or cat, visit https://pvastx.org/foster. Orientation is an online process, and once registered and confirmed, you will be able to visit the shelter and choose a four-legged companion.
As of last Wednesday, there were more than 200 animals available to be fostered or adopted.
“We have really been able to push our foster program and we just want to make sure that with this grant, that our fosters are supported and that we can give them the tools that they need for a successful foster, for a good experience,” he said.
Whitacre added that it is important for their younger animals to be fostered, since they need more care.
“Kittens and puppies require more and constant care,” he said. “Since they are so young and little, and more susceptible to diseases, we want them out of the shelter so they can get that constant care from a foster, and learn from an early age that they are in a home, not a shelter.”
Fostering animals is beneficial on both ends though, Whitacre said. Especially in stressful times, animals provide comfort.
“They’re great companions, they are fun to be around, they make you laugh,” he said. “There are a lot of people who do want to have a ept, but they might have a busy schedule, or they might have to travel a lot. For whatever reason they may not be able to commit to adopting a pet full time, fostering is a great option for them because they can get that companionship and still help an animal out, even if it is just temporary. They are still making a difference.”