Max, a loving six-year-old pit bull terrier mix, was down on his luck. The sweet dog came back to Best Friends-Utah in July after his family encountered a life-altering situation and couldn’t keep him. Life can take many unexpected turns for a companion animal, but thankfully there’s a dedicated group of foster homes waiting in the wings to help homeless dogs and cats at a moment’s notice. For dozens of pets each year like Max, foster homes pave the way for their second, and sometimes, third chance at finding true love.
Katherine Yawn has been fostering dogs for Best Friends-Utah for more than two years. She had been thinking about adopting a dog, but wasn’t sure she could commit to the financial and time responsibility of a permanent furry family member. Fostering was the perfect solution. She could help an animal in need while getting all the benefits of bonding with a pet without having to make a 15-year commitment.
“I have now fostered 10 different dogs and love it,” says Katherine. “Since I don't have a dog of my own, I am able to take a lot of the dogs that need to be the only dog, keeping them out of boarding, which also keeps me fostering.”
When Katherine heard about Max’s need for a foster home, she jumped at the chance to help him again.
“Max was actually one of my two-time fosters, says Katherine. “When I heard Max's adoption didn't work out, I immediately said ‘yes’ I would take him back, knowing what a good dog he was.”
Lifesaving “elite” team
Jenny Wright, foster coordinator at Best Friends, says, “Foster homes are a huge part of our ability to save more animals.” The dogs who need foster care are urgent cases — dogs that quickly become displaced, like Max. They usually just need a loving place to crash until a forever family comes along. The cats in the foster program are animals from NKUT shelter partners and need foster homes if they become sick and need a cozy place outside the shelter to get better. No-Kill Utah (NKUT) is an initiative led by Best Friends Animal Society that brings together passionate individuals, city shelters and a coalition of animal welfare organizations to end the killing of pets in shelters throughout Utah.
“These foster parents are referred to as ‘elite’ because they are on call, and asked to foster at a moment’s notice,” says Jenny. “Ideally these fosters are willing to take in animals with treatable behavioral and medical issues.”
Because the elite fosters take in some animals who do need extra care, Best Friends supports them in a variety of ways, including providing all supplies, food and veterinary care. If a foster home ever needs immediate assistance or coaching, help is just a phone call away.
In mid-January, Max’s life took another turn when he was adopted. Jacie, his new mom, is thrilled she found him and Max (renamed Remy) is a wonderful fit for her family. She was attracted to the sweet dog because he was calm, but also because he was playful. She thinks his foster home got him ready to be a trusted companion. “He’s potty trained, knows some tricks and is very social with people,” says Jacie.
Katherine is equally happy with Max’s new home and having had the opportunity to help him. “Fostering for Best Friends is wonderful,” says Katherine. “I hope that other people who have even a little spare time and extra space in their home will look into fostering, even just once, because it changes your life knowing that you helped save that animal.”
Learn more about fostering for Best Friends-Utah.