OCHS in need of sum­mer fos­ter homes

Starkville Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

The Ok­tibbeha County Hu­mane So­ci­ety is in need of fos­ter homes for cats and dogs dur­ing the sum­mer.

"Our fos­ter homes dras­ti­cally de­crease when the stu­dents leave," OCHS Gen­eral Man­ager Christy Wells said. "Most of those fos­ters bring their an­i­mals back to the shel­ter, and the shel­ter ends up full all at one time."

Wells said there are nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits to an­i­mals stay­ing in a fos­ter home in­stead of in a shel­ter.

"It is a much less stress­ful en­vi­ron­ment," she said. "That is one of the key things. It also al­lows the an­i­mal to re­lax, al­most like go­ing on va­ca­tion."

Wells said dogs and cats can also ben­e­fit from fos­ter homes for med­i­cal rea­sons, such as re­cov­er­ing from an in­jury or ill­ness like heart worms. It can also help baby an­i­mals and moth­ers.

"If we have ju­ve­nile pup­pies or kit­tens and they're too young to be in the shel­ter be­cause it is a high risk en­vi­ron­ment," she said. "It is also a lot more stress­ful if a mom is about to have ba­bies soon, it is a lot eas­ier for them to give birth in a fos­ter home and wean their ba­bies there."

Wells said fos­ter­ing can last any­where from two weeks to over a month, de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion and the needs of the an­i­mal.

If any­one is in­ter­ested in fos­ter­ing an an­i­mal, they can sign up on­line at ochsms.org un­der the "How You Can Help" tab or by call­ing the

Wells said fos­ter par­ents are only re­spon­si­ble for tak­ing the an­i­mal in and car­ing for it, and also alert­ing OCHS of any needs the an­i­mal may have. The fos­ter par­ent must also re­turn the an­i­mal to OCHS when re­quested.

"We do also al­low fos­ter homes the first op­tion to adopt if they are in­ter­ested in adopt­ing the an­i­mal they are fos­ter­ing," Wells said.

OCHS will sup­ply all sup­plies, in­clud­ing food, ken­nels and toys, and will also pro­vide med­i­cal care if needed.

Fos­ter par­ents must live in Ok­tibbeha County and their pets must be up-to-date on vac­ci­na­tions and pre­ven­ta­tives. Af­ter sign­ing up, fos­ter par­ents will be matched with an an­i­mal based on needs and pref­er­ences.

OCHS has also be­gun "slum­ber par­ties" for all an­i­mals, where fos­ter par­ents can take an an­i­mal home for a few nights up to a week.

"We used to only do it for po­ten­tial adopters to see if that an­i­mal is a good fit for their home, but then we thought, ‘Why limit it?'' Wells said. "If some­one wants to take a dog home and the shel­ter is full, we think it will be very ben­e­fi­cial to ev­ery­one. When the dog comes back and is happy and wag­ging its tail, then it's more likely to get adopted than be­ing stressed out in its ken­nel."

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