As a lifelong resident of Connecticut and an animal lover, it was with a heavy heart that I posted back in May about the budget cuts in our capital city of Hartford, specifically those made to Animal Control. Two dedicated Animal Control Officers, one a twelve year veteran and another a seventeen year veteran lost their jobs and the system was thrown into chaos.
The remaining Animal Control staff was overwhelmed, unable to return calls or schedule appointments with potential adopters. Dogs lingered in cages with no attention, no love and no behavior evaluations.
When volunteers from a local advocacy group were finally able to work out a schedule to come in and photograph the dogs, the pictures were taken through the cage bars, some so dark that the dogs could hardly be seen. Pleas to the city from local residents, businesses and animal lovers fell on deaf ears.
It seems the city has finally come to the realization that it cannot handle the stray animal population with the current staffing levels and. to its credit has taken some steps to prevent healthy, adoptable dogs from being unnecessarily killed.
The city has recently begun to reach out to local rescues and animal welfare groups for help and, of course these organizations have been more than happy to work with the city to save the shelter dogs.
That is the good news. The bad news is that every day there are more dogs coming into the shelter and it is becoming more and more difficult to find placements. The rescues want to assist but, unless they have a place to put the dogs, there is only so much they can do.
For this reason, I felt it was a good time to remind people that foster homes are urgently needed at all times.
If you have a home and love to give, this is where you can truly make a difference in the life of a homeless animal.
Fostering is free and it is temporary.
Perhaps you have recently lost a pet and are not sure you are ready to adopt again. Fostering is a perfect way to honor your beloved pet’s memory by giving another animal a chance to experience a home, a family and what it means to be loved.
Another scenario - we all know that adopting a pet is a long-term commitment and perhaps this is something you are not sure about. In that case, foster. It may be several months or only several weeks until your foster pet finds a permanent home and during that time you can provide a safe haven for a deserving pet who otherwise would not have that chance.
I have found rescues to be ready and willing to support their foster families by offering free training and other resources, should foster families need assistance.
Speaking from experience, do you get attached? Yes. Is it hard to let them go? Yes. But is it the best feeling in the world knowing you have played a part in saving a life and giving an animal the happy ending every pet deserves? A resounding YES!
Don’t wait. Contact rescues in your area and open your home to a lonely shelter pet. It is one of the greatest kindnesses you can offer. It costs you nothing except time, patience and love but you will be rewarded many times over.
The dogs pictured here have all been fostered in my home and I am happy to report that they now all have amazing families. It was truly a joy and a privilege to have played a part.