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.
When Kentucky Humane Society applied to participate in the Foster Express Challenge, they were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to commit fully to the challenge. With kitten season coming to an end and an increase in puppy intakes, they just weren’t sure how they’d juggle it all. But they did so with gusto! In the end, they adopted out 86% of their challenge animals and won the award for most adoptions at a large shelter!
The challenge proved to awaken some inactive foster homes. Intrigued by the shorter time commitment, many foster families jumped at the chance to welcome a dog or cat into their home for the weekend, field trips or overnights, shared Kayla Saylor, Foster Manager at Kentucky Humane. Since their usual time commitment was between two and three weeks, these fosters loved the idea of a shorter stay.
Saylor shared that they learned their foster program can do so much more for the animals that come through their doors. “I’ve always placed these limitations on what I thought our program could and could not handle or participate in. It was a really eye opening experience participating in Maddie’s Fund Foster Express Challenge,” she said. “I learned that many of the things I thought our team couldn’t do were only barriers we had created for ourselves. Our foster volunteers were eager to help short term, they still are, and they’re eager to help in so many more ways as well.”
And, thanks to the challenge, they were well-equipped to take on the challenges of Covid-19. If they hadn’t changed their on-boarding process during the challenge, Saylor said they would have had a much harder time getting animals into foster homes. They learned how to make changes very quickly during the challenge, which no doubt served them well. “We removed a lot of barriers for the community to join our foster team and in turn recruited a lot of new foster families,” Saylor explained. “Removing these barriers also played a large part in our recent task of sending all shelter animals to foster.”