Humane Society desperate for pet foster parents; fast-tracking volunteers

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Updated Thursday, May 29 at 12:18 PM

Feline foster parent: 'I've never enjoyed something so much'

PHOENIX -- In dire need of pet foster parents, particularly for cats and kittens, the Arizona Humane Society is turning to the public for help looking after some of the animals in its care. What's more, the organization is making it easier than ever for you lend a hand -- and a home.

Although there are hundreds of animals in foster care right now, there are more than 200 animals, most of them cats and kittens, waiting for temporary caregivers to help them on their way to their forever homes.

3TV's Ryan O'Donnell got the lowdown from Humane Society spokeswoman Bretta Nelson.

"Kitten season is May through November, so we are just getting started, sadly," Nelson explained.

Foster volunteers bridge the gap between sick, injured, abused or underage animals who are not quite ready for adoption until they are ready to head to AHS' adoption floor. They do so by opening their hearts and their homes to animals in need.

There are a variety of reasons felines might need to go into foster care.

  • Weight gain
  • Nursing cats and their kittens
  • Upper respiratory infections (colds)
  • Orthopedic cases

Foster care can range from two weeks for cats with colds to two months in orthopedic cases. It all depends on what the foster family is comfortable with. Some prefer short-term situations. Others like to look after their furry charges for a little longer.

"All you need is a home and a heart," Nelson said. "It's really a lot easier than people might think. ... You're truly saving a life."

While the volunteers and provide temporary homes and much-needed TLC, AHS provides all of the supplies, including food and toys, and any necessary medical care.

Bree Boehlke has fostered dozens of cats, a caring way station on their journeys to their permanent homes.

"You just need a little space in your house and they are more than happy to stay there with you," she said. "The Humane Society makes it just a wonderful experience."

"I thought it was going to benefit the pets," Boehlke continued, a pair of kittens snuggled in her arms. "To me, it's benefiting me. I've never enjoyed something so much. And it's easy. It really is just opening your heart and your home."

The shelter is so full right now that AHS is fast-tracking foster volunteers.

"You can call us right now. We'll do that background check. We'll get a litter into your home, and then you can do the orientation," Nelson explained over a chorus of meows. "That' is how great the need is right now."

To get started, just call 602-997-7585 Ext. 1040 or attend the May 31 foster orientation. You can take home a foster pet or litter that day.

AHS Foster Orientation
Saturday, May 31, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Arizona Humane Society Sunnyslope Campus
9226 N. 13th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85021

Founded in 1957, the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is the state's largest, nonprofit animal-welfare and protection agency. Their mission is to safeguard, rescue, shelter, heal, adopt and advocate for companion animals in need. AHS is a local, private, nonprofit organization funded solely by donor support. AHS receives no government funding and is not affiliated with any local, state or national humane organization.

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