With #socialdistancing trending across the planet right now, most of us are giving a lot of thought to what we’ll be doing with our time over the next few weeks as activities like going out to eat, catching a flick or meeting friends for drinks at the local bar are all off the table for now.
I’ve got a great idea for something fun to do that is also incredibly helpful and altruistic: foster a shelter pet!
You all know me well enough by now to know that I will figure out a way to work into any conversation a shameless plug about our amazing foster programs. I can’t help it. It’s how I’m wired, and you secretly think it’s adorable.
But this time, it isn’t just a shameless plug. This time, I’m talking about our fabulous foster programs because in this moment, more than ever before, we need support from our community to help care for all the homeless animals in our care.
Last week, like many organizations across the country, we made the decision to temporarily close the shelter to the public and suspend all of our community outreach activities and events to help limit potential exposure of the new coronavirus for our staff, volunteers and visitors.
So for the time being, people aren’t able to come visit the kennels and meet a fabulous pet to adopt. But these animals still need care, attention, and love while the country hunkers down to weather this crisis. That’s where you come in.
If you have space in your heart and in your home, now is the time to step up and help. It isn’t just us who need it. Our friends at LA Animal Services, LA Animal Care & Control, SPCA LA, and others are all dealing with an influx of homeless pets. If we all have to shut down our adoptions services for days or weeks, those animals will need care and attention that very limited staff will not be able to handle.
I hate to be dramatic, but the truth is, stepping up to foster a homeless pet right now will quite literally save lives.
Think about it. If you’re someone who loves animals but can’t have them because you’re a workaholic or travel too much, what better time than now to get your furry fix? Seriously, it’s a win-win y’all!
The reality for most of us is that in the next days or weeks, we’ll probably have a lot more time at home in isolation. Speaking from experience, there is nothing greater than being stuck at home binge watching TV with a dog, cat or critter.
There are a host of other fun activities you can do while fostering a pet besides chilling with Netflix. And because I can always be counted on for a fun list of suggestions, here are a few to get the foster fiesta ball rolling:
Search and sniff: Hide treats around your home to set your foster dog off on a tail wagging adventure. He’ll put his nose to work to find the hidden treasures. You can determine how easy or difficult you want the game to be depending on where you decide to hide them.
This is one of Oliver’s favorite activities. Keeps him busy for hours!
Play with Kongs: Kong balls are great for hiding treats and keeping dogs busy. The toy’s opening is small enough to provide dogs with a challenge but also big enough for a treat to fall out before your dog becomes frustrated.
Tug of war: All you need for this old school game is a tough rope and a pawesome foster dog who’s ready to play.
Interactive dog feeder: Even though your dog may figure it out in a few minutes, interactive dog feeders and puzzles are a great way to keep your canine occupied.
Hall ball: A long straight hallway is ideal for this game. Similar to fetch, take a ball (or for cats a small ball made of shiny tinfoil) and roll it down a long hallway. Your foster dog or cat will go racing after it without unpredictably tearing through your home.
Teach an old (or a young) dog new tricks: With lots more time on your hands, now is a great time to work on teaching your dog or cat fun new tricks.
Dental chewers: Dental chew treats like Whimzees are ideal for keeping dogs busy while also cleaning their teeth. If your foster is a toothless wonder like my dog Oliver, you can still use these types of treats by spreading peanut butter in the grooves. They love to gnaw on it to get all the peanut butter out!
As I said, shelters all over the region are going to need your help now. If you’re interested in becoming a temporary foster, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If it takes us a minute to get back to you, please be patient. Our team is working super hard right now to place as many pets in fosters as we can. With your help, we’ll be able to save them all!