Thursday, Mar 30, 2017
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Canine family's plight tugs at volunteer

'Pit bull'-mix mom, 11 puppies in foster home

Canine-family-s-plight-tugs-at-volunteer

Kaitlyn Kwiatkowski, 4, pets mama 'pit bull'-mix Sarah. Sarah was transferred from the Lucas County Dog Warden to the Toledo Area Humane Society, where foster Michelle Miller spied the family.

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Michelle Miller is a hero, at least to one "pit bull"-mix mama dog and her 11 puppies now living comfortably at her home.

Ms. Miller of Toledo has been fostering cats and kittens for the Toledo Area Humane Society for more than year. She was at the shelter two weeks ago for a routine check-up on her current litter of kittens when she spied Sarah, the mother dog, in a cage with her 11 puppies.

Though she'd never fostered puppies, she couldn't bear to see them crowded in the cage and told Jodi Harding, the shelter's foster volunteer coordinator, that if her kittens were ready to go up for adoption, she would spring the little family and take them back home with her.

Her kittens were not big enough, but Ms. Harding told Ms. Miller she could find someone to take them for another few weeks. She was not having such an easy time with the mama dog and her gang of pups, so they went with Ms. Miller.

PHOTO GALLERY: Michelle Miller and her foster dogs

For more information on becoming a foster volunteer contact:

Toledo Area Humane Society
http://www.toledoareahumanesociety.org/images/PDF_files/fosterparentapplication.pdf
Foster Care Coordinator, Jodi Harding at 419-891-0705 ext. 305

foster@toledoareahumanesociety.org

Planned Pethood
http://www.plannedpethood.org/how_you_can_help/foster_application.html
419-826-3499
pets@plannedpethood.org

Lucas County Pit Crew
http://www.lucascountypitcrew.com/Foster_Sponsor.html
Michelle Lawrence, Michelle@LucasCountyPitCrew.com
419-290-6365

Paws and Whiskers (cats and kittens only)
http://www.pawsandwhiskers.org/volunteer-form/
419-536-1914
pawsandwhiskers1@aol.com

"It really hasn't been a problem, she's such a good mama," Ms. Murray says. "The humane society makes it so easy to foster. They are just a phone call away if I have an issue or a question."

Like most foster programs, the humane society supplies all necessary equipment and food for fostering. In Ms. Murray's case, they sent her home with a puppy pen for the brood as well as food, blankets, newspaper, and shredded paper.

Most shelters depend on foster volunteers to take animals too young to go up for adoption or not healthy enough to go to a permanent home.

"We couldn't save nearly the number of animals we do without the help of our fosters," said John Dinon, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society. "Foster parents greatly increase our capacity, especially for kittens or puppies that are too young to go up for adoption and for animals that have to be housed for a long time while recovering from serious illnesses or injuries."

Sarah, who was transferred from the Lucas County Dog Warden, is about 4 years old and has a gentle nature.

Like her 11 puppies, she will be looking for a home in about two weeks.

Although the humane society is not taking volunteer applications for other areas of the shelter, they are always in need of foster volunteers and take applications year round.

Paws and Whiskers, a cats-only shelter, also has a great need for fosters right now because the summer months are the busiest for cats having kittens.

Several other area groups do not have a shelter building and rely completely on fosters for housing their adoptable animals.

They include Planned Pethood and the Lucas County Pit Crew.

Nikki Morey, executive director of Planned Pethood, said the group has about 100 foster volunteers but is always looking for more.

From a volunteer standpoint, there is a lot to be gained by fostering, Ms. Morey said, including being able to experience the fun of kittens and puppies but not having to keep the pet forever.

Fostering also can give a volunteer a "trial run" to help people decide if they're ready to take on the responsibilities of having a pet.

"The more foster volunteers we have the more animals we can save," Ms. Morey said. "Our foster parents are the key to the success of our adoption program."

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.

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