When Burlington Animal Services (BAS) in Burlington, NC, received the Pet Foster Stimulus Grant from Maddie’s Fund, they already had a strong foster base. But, thanks to Maddie, their large foster program grew even bigger! The grant gave them a confidence boost to serve additional fosters that wanted to help, including local university students.
“We have both a wonderful and unique situation in that we work closely with a local university to recruit fosters,” shared Lois Dixon, Foster Program Coordinator. “These students were very conscientious fosters and really helped us when we needed them.” In an era of remote learning, they found that many students in their community were spending more time at home, and fostering was a great way for students to spend their time doing something meaningful.
“We were able to send out dogs to them that were dog reactive because they didn’t have any pets.” Dixon continued, “In addition, we have a trainer that was able to help these fosters meet the behavior needs of these dogs successfully.” The trainer was available through text and phone calls to offer advice/tips to fosters when it was needed. This proved to be successful, as almost all of their foster dogs were adopted into happy and loving homes. When kitten season was at its peak, the student volunteers stepped up, too! They shared that one student took in a whole litter of kittens, and others fostered bottle babies.
BAS’s relationship with their local university proved to be mutually beneficial. Kristi Farrell, BAS Grants and Development Coordinator, shared that a professor reached out and offered for his strategic marketing and communications class to do some marketing for their pets. “I fully believe that was due to the relationship that we had through the foster program,” said Farell. This was great in helping Burlington Animal Services adopt their foster dogs, but also for the students to build their marketing portfolios, and showcase their marketing successes – foster pets finding their forever homes, talk about a win-win!
In addition to growing their relationship with their local university, Burlington Animal Services used the grant to find new ways to meet fosters where they are. One way was through house calls. Their veterinary technician visited foster homes and treated patients on their driveways whether it was vaccines or other treatments needed.
“Our veterinary technicians made weekly house calls in order to better meet the needs of our fosters,” shared Dixon. “They literally became a mobile veterinarian, delivering needed medications and supplies, and doing check-ups for those animals that needed them.”
#ThanksToMaddie, Burlington Animal Services was able to support their growing foster base. “As these fosters are students, they lack supplies so this grant was able to provide them with the tools that they needed to care for the animals,” said Dixon.