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Short-term fostering benefits shelter dogs

Posted at 9:44 AM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 11:45:19-05

HELENA — The Lewis and Clark Humane Society (LCHS) is offering a new program aimed at getting animals out of the shelter, if only for a slumber party.

People can now foster a dog overnight for “Paw-Jama Party” at a hotel thanks to a partnership with Home 2 Suites by Hilton.

LCHS short-term program gives people the ability to take care of dogs anywhere from two hours to two weeks.

“The cool thing about partnering with Home 2 Suites is that people who can’t have animals in their home but would like to help out can take a dog to a pet friendly hotel and spend the night with them,” said Cassidy Cook, director of development and communications.

Cooke says the short-term fostering is great for the animals, and can be very helpful to the adoption staff.

“We only know what we can see in the shelter and that’s what we can convey to future adopters,” explained Cook. “But when we have foster parents take these animals out of the shelter and come back to us and say ‘they were all about meeting new people,’ that’s surprising to us and then we know okay, so in the shelter they’re pretty timid but outside of the shelter they’re a people person.”

The kennel environment can be stressful for many animals, which can lead to behaviors they wouldn’t show in a home environment.

“You can imagine being a person in a small room with other loud people around you, that’d be stressful,” said Cook. “That’s called barrier frustration and it’s a very common phenomenon in shelters.”

Research from Virginia Tech states social isolation is one of the greatest stressors for dogs living in animal shelters. Even a couple hours outside the shelter has a significant impact on the wellbeing of those animals.

There is no cost for participating in a “Paw-Jama party,” but people need to register through the shelter for the foster program.

“This program is important for the dogs, and for people too,” added Cook. “People enjoy the companionship of a dog, especially if they can’t have dogs in the space they live.”