By JORDAN COPELAN
The number of dogs and cats that enter shelters each year has reached eight million, and four million of those are euthanized. It is now more important than ever to begin adopting animals from shelters across the nation instead of from breeders.
For those who can’t adopt, fostering a shelter animal is an option.
Most pet owners take their pets to a shelter because they cannot afford to keep them or care for the animal anymore. Many more animals are rescued as strays and brought to local shelters like the Humane Society. However, shelters cannot keep every animal for an indefinite amount of time. Even no-kill shelters, shelters that specifically do not kill any animals, have to turn animals away because of lack of space.
“It’s all about bettering the welfare for pets, taking them out of bad situations and giving them a chance to live a good life,” said Devon Wochele, a worker at the Athens Area Humane Society. “In order to do that, we need more people to adopt.”
Wochele specifically works at Humane Society’s Spay and Neuter Center but volunteers during large adoption events.
If you are not in a place to adopt an animal at this time but still want to help out, fostering animals is also a good option. Fostering entails taking home a domestic animal, whether it be older or younger, for a short period of time until the shelter has room to bring them back or if someone would like to adopt the animal.
“Fostering an animal really depends on what kind of critter you are getting, what condition they are in, and why it is that they are being fostered,” said Rachael Pietkiewicz, an avid supporter of fostering animals. “It made me feel like I was doing something important and kind by giving them a sort of adoption prep school upbringing.”
Pietkiewicz just finished fostering her first litter of kittens. She happened to stumble upon the idea of fostering after visiting a local adoption event and decided to take a look at all the animals.
“Fast forward 15 minutes and I am openly weeping in front of a dog named Pooh Bear,” said Pietkiewicz. “Somebody who was working at the event came up to me and was like, ‘you know you can still help without adopting?’ So I signed up that day.”
To find out more about adoption or fostering in your area you can find a local shelter at http://www.humanesociety.org/.