Prior to COVID-19, Kent County Animal Shelter in Grand Rapids, MI, didn’t have a foster program in place, so when they received the pet foster stimulus grant, they went from 0 fosters to 100 (literally). They implemented their foster program in no time, including behavior dogs with specific needs.
Namiko Ota-Noveskey, Program Supervisor, shared that they received an outpour of support from the community who wanted to foster. “We received a lot of foster support from the community, but we didn’t have the funds to provide them with supplies until we received the grant. Now, we can support our foster families with what they need,” said Ota-Noveskey.
Not only did they implement a foster program, but Ota-Noveskey shared that they have been working toward more open adoptions. Due to the positive response of fosters, they found themselves skipping many of their more traditional application questions. Instead they asked lifestyle questions to best match them to dogs that are suitable to the foster family.
“This approach to foster helped our staff change their perspective to a more open adoption process,” said Ota-Noveskey. “It helped staff think, if they are good enough to foster, why wouldn’t they be good enough to adopt?”
#ThanksToMaddie, the Pet Foster Stimulus Grant catapulted Kent County Animal Shelter to implement a foster program, and move toward more open adoptions.