Critical Need for Adoptive Volunteers at the San Diego Humane Society

The San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) said it was desperately short of space in its shelters. It is asking the community to open their homes and become volunteer foster families.

“We have so many animals on our campuses. We have over 1,500 animals in our care. We have over 600 available for adoption and we’re running out of space,” said Nina Thompson, director of public relations for SDHS.

SDHS is looking for at least 50 adoptive volunteers to make room for incoming animals.

The foster program offers support to animals awaiting adoption, but also to pets whose owners are facing temporary difficulties, such as eviction, domestic violence and other difficult situations.

It is abnormal to have so many stray animals infiltrating the shelter at this time of year.

“Some of the reasons have to do with the economy. People are moving, maybe not being able to afford to take care of their pets,” Thompson said.

Thompson said there aren’t many requirements to favor with SDHS. The organization provides food, medical care and advice on caring for a foster animal.

Foster volunteers can provide vital information to help an animal be adopted.

“They get to know the animal on a whole new level. A pet in a shelter is not the same as a pet at home. They act completely differently and we learn so much about the pet in a house,” Thompson said. “We learn if they’re barking at the postman, or if they’re very active, or if they’re meek. There’s just no way of knowing their personality in the shelter.

Chris Queen has been a foster family volunteer for almost five years. She specializes in raising mother cats and their kittens.

“You make a difference. You help animals. You help the shelter and you help yourself too because it fills your heart with so much joy and love when you adopt into foster care,” Queen said. “It really is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Foster care is also for people who cannot have a long-term pet, but still want to help an animal.

“Foster care is the best possible option because it’s temporary, but you make a huge difference,” Queen said.

There is no specific time frame required to be a host volunteer. It can be a month, a few weeks or the weekend.

There are a wide variety of pets that need foster homes, including animals that get along with other resident pets.

“We have a lot of pets that get along well with other pets. We have cats that are good with dogs, dogs that are good with cats, maybe rabbits,” he said. Thompson said “So you don’t have to be a petless family to help us right now.”

Thompson said it’s also a great option for people who are considering getting a pet.

“You learn a lot about what it’s like to have a pet in your home and then you can make that decision more forever if you want to adopt,” she said.

Applications and photos of animals available for adoption are online.

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