Foster a Furry Friend Through the Animal Welfare League

Need a hand? Find a paw. Check out the Animal Welfare League of Arlington's foster program!
Photo Courtesy of Leila Mire

I walk into the Animal Welfare League of Arlington where I’m pleasantly greeted by foster coordinator, Veronica Berard. She gives me a tour of the facility featuring a diverse array of animals from dogs and cats to smaller furry companions.

Suddenly, a kitten gets loose with the speed and playfulness of a toddler to an ice cream truck. Veronica, another employee, and myself spring in action to catch the little escapee. We spend the next five minutes or so scrambling around before putting him safely back into his crate. I look at Veronica exasperated. She laughs and with a sigh says, “Welcome to the shelter.”

Since the shelter’s humble beginnings in 1944, the program has grown immensely. The shelter relies on more than 300 volunteers with hundreds of animals in the facility and education programs offered onsite. Despite the shelter’s expansion however, the shelter is constantly in need of finding new forever homes for their animals.

Often times, certain animals have trouble getting adopted. One way Berard combats this is through the shelter’s foster program. “Fostering a pet can be an awesome way to give pets publicity” Berard explains. “Animals need constant interaction” and a shelter with hundreds of animals make it difficult to do that. Fostering allows the animal to get the socialization they crave with greater individual attention. The League will supply the cost of medical treatment and supplies once approved through the interview process to ensure the program is a right fit for the pet and parent. There is no minimum requirement length as the shelter helps foster parents match animals to their living conditions and needs.

Once fostering, the foster parent is expected to offer publicity to the animal through social media and regular outings. While in public, the animals are given little vests to wear so that people know they are looking for a home. As if that weren’t adorable enough, there is talk about getting the animals business cards  to let people know they mean business.

So if you get the chance, “paws” and think about opening up your home to an animal in need. Fostering a pet is an incredible way to help the shelters. To learn more, be sure to check out their website https://www.awla.org/volunteer/foster-program/ or email foster coordinator, Veronica Berard directly at vberard@awla.org.

Photo Courtesy of Leila Mire