Blogger Sarah Oren received an email recently from a woman who wanted to foster a dog. The woman had seen Oren’s blog, Foster Dogs NYC, and had scrolled through the dozens of photographs that Oren updates daily of dogs available for adoption. The woman wanted to know which dog was most in need.
Oren responded that one of the dogs was scheduled for euthanasia the very next day. Labeled “aggressive,” potential adopters had passed the dog up, and now his time had run out. The woman called the shelter, but “the shelter urged her not to take him,” Oren says.
A similar situation led Oren to create the Foster Dogs blog this past August. Working a 9 to 5 job, Oren decided she needed more dog time in her life and went to New York City’s Animal Care & Control. There, she chose to foster a dog scheduled for euthanasia. “I realized that [people] wouldn’t be able to find out about these dogs if they couldn’t see them online. I wanted to do something so that people are constantly reminded that there are dogs out there in shelters who are perfectly fine,” Oren says.
Among those dogs are Lovebug, “a very sweet and affectionate puppy who just happens to be deaf,” and Cassius, a 3-year-old Boxer mix who “has improved greatly on the leash in controlling his excitement for the world.” Local shelters send Oren the photos and descriptions, which she then posts on her advertisement-free blog with each shelter’s contact information.
With 200 hits a day, the blog is doing exactly what Oren hoped—connecting people with animals in need. And although she prefers that people adopt, fostering fills a necessary need. “If you give a dog a foster home, you literally are pulling [the dog] out of line from being put to sleep.” Shelters such as Animal Care & Control have limited funds from which to operate and are unable to care for dogs indefinitely. “It’s just the way the system works.”
Fostering also helps dogs adjust to living with people and eases the transition into a permanent home.
Oren says the number of dogs available in and around New York City “grows every day,” and that dog guardians often relinquish their dogs because the animals have a difficult time adjusting to the limitations of apartment living common in New York.
As for the woman who emailed Oren, she ended up fostering the “aggressive” dog against the shelter’s recommendation. The dog has lived with her for two months now, and Oren says, “She and her boyfriend are really happy with this dog. He would’ve never gotten that opportunity.”
Still, Oren’s work is challenging. “I have to remember I can’t save every dog. Right now I have to concentrate on helping people find their perfect dogs.”
Visit Oren’s blog at FosterDogsNYC.Blogspot.com.