Pet ‘Net: The Joys of Fostering Animals in Need

I think it’s clear if you’ve been fans of I Love Rescue Animals for even just a short time, that we’re pretty big supporters of fostering animals, which is why we’ve chosen this topic for this year’s Pet Net event put on by Petside. We have had experience both fostering through a shelter as well as just on our own, and each time we have had the pleasure of connecting a dog or cat with their own forever family. It’s an incredible feeling to know that you are not only helping an animal in need, but also a family in need.

For the Love of Fostering

I’m not going to lie. Fostering isn’t always easy. Yes, it’s more mouths to feed. Yes, you have to work to get the animal out there so they can find their forever home. Yes, you will fall in love with them and then have to let them go. Yes, it will take some time and commitment. But all of that pales in comparison to the rewards. If you’ve never fostered then it’s hard to truly describe the feeling of seeing your foster kid find their forever home. If you have, then you know it’s a feeling like no other. It’s bittersweet. You’re going to miss them, of course. We’re animal people, how can we not give our hearts to every animal that crosses our path? But you have just given that animal you love the chance to spend the rest of their life surrounded by people who will cherish them and give them the life that all animals deserve. You did that! There’s no more potent a natural high!

Former Foster Mel takes over his forever family’s shower!

Former foster Maggie Mae has full reign of her new family’s place!

Want to Foster? Here’s How!

So how do you get started? Well, if you’re like us, you kind of stumble into it. We always joke that we’re the people that have animals just come up and knock on our door. And that’s actually not far from the truth. They just find us. They scratch on our door at all hours of the night. They run down the street outside our house in the middle of a downpour. We find them hit by a car and left to die on the side of the road. We don’t have to go looking for an animal in need because they just come to us. But even if you’re not a stray animal magnet, it’s very easy to find animals to foster. Just check out any local shelter or rescue that you’re interested in helping. They will be more than happy to help you become a foster for them!

Most rescues can only help a number of animals directly proportionate to the number of fosters they have so it’s extremely important for them to continue growing their foster base. The benefit of fostering for a shelter or rescue is enormous. Most times they will pay for all of their vetting, offer support when you’re feeling lost, and set up adoption events or TV spots so you can get your foster animal seen. It can be a struggle to do that on your own, as we have discovered time and again. We are lucky to have an animal community that has donated to many chip-ins to help us care for our fosters but having a formal support system is much easier and ultimately less stressful. You can usually find plenty of information about fostering on a rescue’s website and you can often find photos of animals in need on their Facebook page or on twitter. Some rescues have forums you can sign up for where they post lists of current animals needing a foster. Or you can just go down to the shelter in person and ask about becoming a foster and look around to find your foster animal.

O’Malley is a handsome FIV+ kitty looking for his forever home in Austin, TX.

Who Should I Foster?

Not exactly sure which animals you’d like to foster? The foster coordinators will help you find animals that would be a good fit for your home! You don’t have to wake up every hour on the hour at night to bottle feed a litter of orphaned kittens to make a difference. (Hats off to those that do!) There are foster animals for every situation.

Do you have great dog training skills? Foster a dog with behavioral issues to make them more adoptable. Love cats and want to teach your children about life? Foster a pregnant momma kitty and let her have her kittens in your loving home rather than a stressful shelter. Can you only foster for a few weeks? Consider a litter of puppies who are already eating on their own but need just a few more weeks to reach the appropriate age for adoption. Are you open to a longer-term foster and can attend adoption events? Grab a “less adoptable” animal, such as one that’s older or black or special needs or a bully breed and put your full resources behind finding it the perfect home that it probably couldn’t find without you. Not really into cats or dogs? Foster a ferret, a guinea pig, a rat, a rabbit! They are out there and they need you! Every single one you help matters!

Toni is a happy-go-lucky 8 year old pit bull looking for her forever home in the Austin area.

Be Their Voice, Be Their Angel

So yes, there are plenty of excuses why you can’t foster. But none of them will matter anymore if you just try it ONCE. Yes, it will be hard to let go. You’ll miss them. Each and every one. You might say you can’t do it again. That it was too much work. Too time consuming. Too hard on your emotions. And then you’ll see that face. An older dog at the shelter whose time is running out. A bunny who has just come from a home where it never received any attention. A litter of bottle baby kittens whose only hope is a committed foster. And you’ll notice suddenly that all those thoughts fly out the window. Because you’ll realize that you are the one that is going to save that animal. You will be their guardian angel. You will be their foster parent. And both of your lives will be changed forever. For the better.

Angel is a gorgeous 6 year old pit bull looking for her forever home in Austin, TX.

The ILRA Fosters!

Did one of our fosters in this picture grab your attention? Interested in adopting one of them? Angel, O’Malley, and Toni are all looking forever homes! If you’re interested, just comment or email us with information about yourself and let us know! You could give one of these gorgeous faces a forever family all their own.

Write a Post, Help a Dog! Again! In 3D!

That’s right! It’s that time of the year again. I Love Rescue Animals, along with several other bloggers, have come together with the Pedigree Foundation to promote the Write a Post, Help a Dog! campaign. No, it’s not really in 3D, but it could be! Do you have a dog at your feet? Give him a big hug – there’s your happy, tail-wagging 3D element. If only all 3D came with fur.

Write a Post, Help a Dog!

In the past two years through the “Write a Post, Help a Dog” initiative at BlogPaws, Pedigree and
bloggers have united to generate nearly 650 blog posts to raise awareness about commitment to
adoption and encourage everyone to help feed shelter dogs in their local communities. It’s been quite the inspiration for all involved.

What does it mean to support this campaign? It means that more dogs living in shelters in need will receive more food. More food for the shelters means that they can take more funding that would have gone to feeding and use that to help build more kennels, supply better vet care, and put more effort into marketing their animals. So I hear you ask, “Well what can I do?”

How You Can Help

That’s easy. Write a post! Share your shelter story, tell the world “Adopt! Don’t shop!” and urge your readers to help you raise awareness. It’s that easy. For each post written for the “Write a Post, Help a Dog” campaign, the Pedigree Foundation will donate 20 pounds of their new dry Pedigree food for dogs to shelters. Last year, each participating blog generated one 20 pound food donation to shelters affected by Hurricane Irene for a total of 2,980 pounds of Pedigree Dry Dog Food. How awesome is that?

Just a Few Steps

01. Read this post. Good job.
02. Write your own post about “Write a Post, Help a Dog” and what the Pedigree Foundation is doing to help. This needs to be done by MIDNIGHT EST, SATURDAY JUNE 30TH!
03. Link it to the BlogHop Linky at the bottom of this post.

You can also post this little badge on your blog to let everyone know all the good you’re doing!

Other Ways to Help

If you want to help in other ways, Pedigree is encouraging consumers to donate online at The Pedigree Foundation or you can purchase some cool Dogs Rule Gear here, where the proceeds go to the Foundation. Likewise, shelters can apply for grants from the Pedigree Foundation by completing a form at The Pedigree Foundation website.

When you’ve written your post, don’t forget to link it to the linky below. The puppies thank you!

Day 02 of the SXSW Coyote Adventures!

Welcome to Day 02!

Day 02 has come and gone and it went by so fast. If you were following the hashtag #SXyote on twitter, you got a lot of information on some geeky things. Today’s sessions ended up being more on the tech and geek side, rather than social media and social good, so I kept the tweets on my own @designcoyote twitter instead of @Rescueanimals. Tomorrow you’ll see more tweets there because tomorrow will be my main Social Media for Social good day – lots of sessions surrounding that topic.

For today, here are some highlights.

Tech Superwomen: Mentors & Mentees FTW




Games for Change: Great Power, Great Responsibility



More Fun Stuff!

Other than those two sessions, I also got to see one of my favorite movie makers Joss Whedon talk about his work and upcoming projects (The Avengers!) I spent much of the afternoon over at Screenburn checking out the latest video games (I got to beta test FireFall, a new online shooter game with some BEAUTIFUL graphics) and watching adorable kids learn how to be game developers. I loved it! It was a nice, calm day before I head into some deep learning tomorrow.

See you all bright and early tomorrow! Happy SXSW! Remember, follow #SXyote on Twitter to get all the latest tweets from my journey to SXSW. And if you have any questions or comments and want me to find out something for you, let me know! I’d love to help you in any way I can. Be Well!

Day 01 of the SXSWi Coyote Adventures!

So a quick history. A little over a month ago I began a fundraiser to raise money so that I could attend SXSW. A slew of amazing individuals, who believe in the power of learning and community effort to create change, came together and raised enough money to buy me a badge to SXSW Interactive. I am so incredibly thankful to these folks, especially to my wonderful sponsor Protect America Cares who, only a few days before the festival began, stepped up and paid for more than half the badge. How incredible is that? Thank you PACares and all the rest of my amazing donors!

Welcome to Day 01!

Unfortunately, I didn’t do much this afternoon. I was at SXSW last year and was in the badge line for about 30 minutes. This year? WOW! I stood in the registration line for 2 hours. TWO HOURS. It was intense, but at the same time, it was pretty awesome because I met some pretty great folks and made quite a few new friends. I did get to go to one session though and it was fantastic! Here’s a summary of that session.

Sparking Real World Action with Social Media

I LOVED this session. Not only was there a lot of great information, but it was also interactive! We made small groups and attempted to make real life action using social media and not leaving the room. There were a few options we had to try and do this, and my group focused on spreading some love. Some of you saw, either on Facebook or Twitter and you responded! In fact, the large number of responses was so inspiring to me! Not only were you playing along with me through social media, but you spreading love and positive energy like you were doing was just the most wonderful thing. So thank you!

Here are a few tweets from the session that I did.







So far, I am already above and beyond blown away by SXSW Interactive. Are you here? @ me on Twitter and use the hashtag #SXyote to get my attention. I’d love to meet up! Not here, but have a question or want me to find out something specific for you? Let me know!

Day 02, I’m ready for you!

Oh, by the way, the Design Coyote SXSW Resource Guide is up, though there’s no content yet. I’ll be building it out in the next few days and adding everything in the few days after the conference. So keep checking back!

Guest Post: Homeless Pets And How You Can Help Them

Homeless Pets And How You Can Help Them

Approximately 3.5 million people in the United States are homeless. This includes both those who are chronically homeless, and those who are temporarily homeless due to events like losing a job or a home foreclosure. Somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of those 3.5 million people aren’t on the streets alone, but with their pets.

How does this happen? Someone may already own a pet when they’re evicted from their home, and they don’t want to give the animal up, so they keep it, even as they sleep in tents or doorways. Or, someone who is homeless may come upon a stray animal, and decide to take care of it. That a person without a home or money to buy food would take on the care of a pet is a testament to the bond people have with their pets, and to how having a pet can have a positive effect on a person’s emotional and mental state. But homeless pets are still in danger.

From MNN

Why This is a Problem

In some ways, this can be seen as a good thing. Better for someone—even someone without a home—to be looking after an animal than that animal running free where it can possibly be run over, or starve to death. The thing is, because a homeless person lacks the financial ability to properly care for a pet, there is still a danger of disease. Someone living on the street can’t afford pet meds, even common ones like flea and tick treatments or heartworm preventatives.

All it takes for a dog to get heartworm is being bitten by a mosquito carrying them. Without the proper medication, any dog living outside is vulnerable. In addition, a homeless person cannot pay to have an animal spayed or neutered, so there’s an additional risk of the homeless pet contributing to the already staggering dog and cat overpopulation problem.

How You Can Help

Because pets are seen as property, it’s not possible to simply seize an animal from a homeless person if there’s no indication of actual abuse. The truth is, most homeless people try very hard to care for their pets, sometimes using their last bit of money not to buy food for themselves, but for their pets.

Instead, you can help by donating food and supplies to help these people care for their pets until they are in a position to do so on their own. Organizations like Pets of the Homeless have set up collection points across the country to accept donations of food, treats, flea and tick treatments, leashes, and collars. Some homeless shelters and soup kitchens will sometimes also accept donations of pet food, but be sure to call and ask before simply dropping something off that may not be distributed.

By donating through a recognized and participating organization, you can be sure that your contribution will go to help the animals—and their owners—who so desperately need it. And you’ll have improved not just one life, but two.

Note from the Editor: If you’re in Austin, Texas and looking for help for either you or someone you know, Animal Trustees of Austin offers free services to homeless people and their pets. They are located on IH35 and 51st Street. Check their website or grab a card from their office!

About the Author: Caroline Ruddy is a freelance writer finally pursuing her dream of being published. She loves books and movies, especially when they include a furry friend napping on her lap. Want to write for ILRA? We’d love to here from you – find out what you can do to help!