Maddie’s® Foster Express Challenge called on participating shelters to focus on short-term fostering to help get more dogs and cats out of the shelter during the hectic holiday season, get them more exposure and attract new foster caregivers. We’ll be sharing exclusive interviews on Maddie’s Pet Forum as well as on the blog with several of the winning shelters in hopes to inspire your own foster program.
“After six long weeks at the animal shelter, nine year old Alec was starting to shut down,” says Lori Rhoades, Dog Foster and Rescue Coordinator for The Front Street Shelter in Sacramento, CA. “Our short-term foster program Doggie Day Out was just what he needed, a chance to get out of the shelter, into the world, and in front of potential adopters.”
Front Street’s Doggie Day Out program had been in operating for several years when they participated in the Foster Express Challenge. They sent a record number of pets—475 in total—on field trips during the 6-week challenge. 228 dogs and 58 cats went on field trips, and by the end of the challenge, 73% of them had been adopted!
Sending a massive number of pets on field trips required buy-in and involvement from multiple staff. Rhoades tells us, “It is a lot of work managing that much inventory. This challenge was eye opening to see how many we could get out, and with it came challenges.” Still, she says, “It is amazing what happens when you stop putting road blocks up and try new things.”.
The Foster Express Challenge was definitely amazing for Alec. After his Doggie Day Out, says Rhoades, “Not only was he seen by hundreds of people in the community, but many people online. One of those people was Angelique, who kept seeing him on Facebook when people who were taking him out were posting about their good experiences. She said most dogs at the shelter didn’t have much information, but with Alec, she saw picture after picture of him being good in the car and happy on walks, so it was like she already knew him. Sure enough, when she came to the shelter to give him a shot, he was the same bubbly dog in person. Without this short-term foster program, Angelique would never have seen him, and even if she had, wouldn’t have known enough about him to take that next step. Now this big, happy boy is in the loving home he’s been waiting so long for, and Angelique has a new best buddy to spend her days with.”
Head on over to Maddie’s Pet Forum to view examples of marketing, resources used and to ask Front Street Animal Shelter any questions you may have!