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. The following is the last in this series.
How do you recruit new fosters? By enticing them with a promise of a dog or cat, for a limited amount of time. It’s much easier to commit to having a pet in your home for a couple of days or weeks, rather than an unknown amount of time, which in some cases can be several months.
These seven organizations, who so awesomely adopted out 100% of their participating Foster Express Challenge pets, learned this and more while competing in the challenge this past fall/winter.
While animal sheltering looks a little different now than it did at the end of the challenge, what they learned then can certainly be applied to your organization now!
Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) in Colorado Springs, CO shared that they “had many fosters who aren’t regulars step up to take on these short-term animals, and it was a great way to get them re-engaged with the program.” Posh Pets Rescue echoes this sentiment. They realized that the long-term fostering deters a lot of people from fostering. The idea of an overnight to two week commitment resonates with many, and just a one-day foster fits into many people’s lifestyles. The New York-based organization said, “These options were welcomed by many, who always wanted to help but just knew they didn’t have the time.”
Panhandle Animal Welfare Society in Fort Walton Beach, FL likens the experience to the big decision of buying a car. “It’s like seeing a car in a showroom for a brief period of time. You can touch it and walk around it, but you don’t really commit until taking it out for a test drive,” the organization commented.
And of course, the information you get from these short visits is invaluable. Friends of Strays shared it’s much easier to market their dogs to adopters when they have information about their behavior outside the shelter. “People are much more receptive to taking a dog home when we can give them concrete information about their temperament, and not just guess based on kennel presence,” the St. Petersburg, FL shelter said.
On top of all the benefits of short-term fostering, it’s a lifeline to those dogs and cats that have been overlooked in the shelter. HSPPR shared this heartwarming story with us:
Colby was a dog who had been on the adoption floor for over 3 weeks with no interest; this is a long time for us as our average length of stay is around 6 days. His behavior was beginning to decline, and we were running out of options. We decided to send Colby to foster to see what would happen, and his behavior did a total 180 the second he left the building. His foster described him as a perfect gentleman and a doll of a dog, so we put Colby up for adoption from the foster home. It took him 3 days of being available from foster before he got snatched up! It was great to see a dog who sat here for so long and did so poor turn around and find his forever home in a matter of days; all because he went to foster!
That wraps up our Foster Express Challenge blog series. Special shout out to these organizations for adopting out 100% of their participants!
- A Path 4 Paws Dog Rescue, Amargosa Valley, NV
- Dallas Animal Services, Dallas, TX
- Friends of Strays, Saint Petersburg, FL
- Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, Colorado Springs, CO
- Humane Society of Washington County, Hagerstown, MD
- Posh Pets Rescue, New York, NY
- Panhandle Animal Welfare Society, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Head on over to Maddie’s Pet Forum to chat with the organizations that adopted 100% of their participants!