As the Holiday Season continues, many might consider gifting their loved ones with a small pet. However, many other animals are left in shelters still waiting for their forever homes.
Wet met with Rhonda Walker (RW) to talk about her Day of Giving experience volunteering at the Humane Society of Statesboro where she became the foster parent of a gorgeous dog called Heather until she found her forever home.
AC: For your Day of Giving, what organization did you volunteer for?
RW: I volunteered at Humane Society of Statesboro, GA.
AC: Can you tell us a bit about the Humane Society of Statesboro?
RW: The Humane Society of Statesboro is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that has been saving animals in the community since the 1980’s. They do not receive any funding from local government agencies for its activities. They rely on foster homes until the animals can be adopted. Their mission is to end the pet overpopulation in the community through adoption, spay and neuter, and education. They save “last chance” pets by removing adoptable pets from the local Animal Shelter before their time runs out and place them in foster care so they can be adopted. They rehome community pets whose owners can no longer care for them. They assist with the transport of healthy kittens and puppies to other no-kill facilities for a greater chance for adoption. They help with affordable spaying and neutering community pets and assist with free-roaming community cats. They stand against dog fighting and abuse, puppy mills.
AC: Have you ever been a foster parent?
RW: This is the first time that I have fostered. I have always wanted to, and this opportunity gave me the push that I needed to get started.
AC: How was your experience as a foster parent? Would you recommend it?
RW: I loved it! I love big dogs and they often get passed by because they are big. I have the perfect yard to run and play and allow them to be a big dog. Heather was so happy after having that freedom which made a big difference when meeting her new family. Even the volunteers commented on how much calmer and happier she was. That is why I will definitely continue to foster when needed. I would recommend fostering an animal to anyone! It gives you so much joy and happiness knowing that you helped better the life of not only the animal but the family they are going to.
AC: How can one become a foster parent?
RW: I reached out to my local Humane Society. Facebook is a good place to find your local Humane Society and get updates when fostering is needed. That is how I found Heather! I did have to get a home check and fill out paperwork. Also, they do have policies and specific requirements depending upon the animal you are fostering. For example, some animals will need medications, some dogs do better with fenced yards, or cat may need “only one cat” situation. The coordinators will help coordinate the best fit for your situation. They provide foster parents with food, crates, leashes, collars, bowls, veterinary care, and medication.
AC: Was this your first-time volunteering at the Humane Society of Statesboro?
RW: Yes, it was my first-time volunteering.
AC: What motivated you to volunteer at the Humane Society of Statesboro?
RW: I have had a big dog to protect me my whole adult life and I rescued them all from either abusive owners or off the street. The love and loyalty they gave and continue to give me is like nothing else. I want to continue to rescue and connect pets with people that deserve their love and loyalty.
AC: How was your experience while volunteering at the Humane Society of Statesboro’s adoption event? What did you do?
RW: During the foster time, I was able to teach Heather to socialize and prepare for her forever home. When we got to the event, my dog’s family was waiting for us when we arrived. So as soon as I got her out of the car, we started the visit and proceeded with the meet, greet, and adoption. I assisted with the whole processes, telling the family all about our days together. Also, I was able to tell the family all about her likes, dislikes, what needed to be worked on, and her sleeping and eating habits. I stayed after my dog left and walked other dogs, assisted with other adoptions, and socialized with ALL the animals; it was very busy. I was all ready to bring home another big dog to foster that day, but he did not get along with cats and I have three.
AC: Are the foster parents the same people that volunteer at the adoption event? Or can anyone participate on the event? If its anyone, how can one sign up to participate?
RW: Yes, the foster parent must bring the animal to adoption events each month, but volunteers are also needed at events to help setup, walk pets, and take down events. If you have experience, you may even want to assist with adoption applications and pet placement. You can sign up by calling your local Humane Society or by going to the website and finding your local contact information.
AC: What would you say to encourage others to participate?
RW: Fostering is giving an animal a second chance at life. Many find their way into shelters or on the streets for various reasons, but they all deserve a second chance. A foster home can provide an animal with socialization, love, and training to prepare them for their forever homes.
AC: Lastly, is there anything you’d like to tell our readers before we go?
RW: Adopt, don’t shop. If you are thinking of giving a puppy as a Christmas gift, just remember, they all grow up.