January 4, 2024
Categories: Foster Programs

The  New Year is here and so are new Maddie’s® Insights! Join us on Thursday, January 11th at 12:00PM PT/3:00PM ET for Foster Care and the Human Animal Bond with Laura A. Reese, PhD, Professor, Departments of Urban and Regional Planning, Global Urban Studies, and Political Science, Michigan State University.

It is commonplace among those who provide foster care for animals to have a recurring conversation with those who do not.  Upon hearing that one is an animal foster parent a frequent response is, “Oh, I could never do that.  I would not be able to give the animal up.” But this is precisely what those caring for animal fosters are called to do.  The ability of animal shelters and rescues to provide critical care through foster homes depends on volunteers who willingly and temporarily take animals into their homes and lives.  Studies of foster volunteers has indicated that they find taking care of animals with medical, and particularly behavioral, issue to be stressful.  And, volunteers that do not feel that their shelter is providing them sufficient emotional support are more likely to think about quitting.  Given these two realities it becomes important for shelter staff to understand the emotional aspects of providing foster care and to identify ways to better support volunteers so that they are satisfied and more likely to continue to provide this service.

The presentation addresses these issues with the following learning objectives:

  • What is the nature of attachment (human-animal bond) between volunteers and their foster animals?
  • What emotions do volunteers experience when their fosters leave their care?
  • What coping and resilience strategies appear to reduce the stress of providing foster care?
  • How can animal shelters help foster volunteers cope with the stress inherent to fostering?

This webcast has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association. It has also been submitted for approval for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize the Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) approval. Register today!    

About the presenter:

Dr. Laura Reese is a professor in the School of Planning, Design, and Construction at Michigan State University.  Her research focuses on issues of animal welfare policy and shelter management.  She wrote the book, Strategies for Successful Animal Shelters, and has published numerous articles on local animal ordinances, dog bite risks, animal cruelty, compassion fatigue, animal foster programs, and animal shelter volunteer satisfaction.  She is the president of Professional Animal Welfare Services which provides consulting services to animal shelters and rescues and founded The Un-Shelter a foster-based rescue in Michigan.  Dr. Reese also volunteers in and provides foster care for local animal shelters in the Charleston, SC area.