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Jan 21, 2018







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Leah is up for adoption. Courtesy photo.




Offering a Safe Haven
Foster parents wanted for pet program

03/12/15



The Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire is in need of foster parents, particularly for dogs, for its Safe Haven program, which was created to provide short-term pet care for victims of domestic violence and has since expanded to include pets needing short-term care while their owners deal with things like natural disasters or hospital visits.

Danielle Snyder, director of behavioral health at the shelter, said ARLNH has more foster families in the warmer months than the colder months, especially for dogs. In the summer there are about 30 foster families; in the winter that number drops to about 10.
Shelters can be a stressful place for pets, Snyder said. In a shelter setting animals are housed in small cages or kennels, which raises their anxiety levels, and different people take care of them each day, Snyder said. Noises from other animals housed in nearby cages can also add to the anxiety.
“It’s actually pretty scary,” Snyder said.
While some animals can get used to a shelter in a day or two, others do not handle it so well.
“There are definitely animals that are very adaptable. On the flip side of that, animals will shut down,” Snyder said. 
They may stop eating or stop going outside. Cats will sometimes huddle into themselves in a corner and shut down behaviorally. If animals stop eating their whole system can shut down. “Those are the ones who aren’t exhibiting species specific behaviors,” she said. “Those are the ones we want to get into foster care. Ideally everybody, but those are the priorities.”
Snyder said cats are typically easier to foster, and usually ARLNH has more of them. She fosters cats herself and has a room dedicated to foster animals where a pet can be alone if it doesn’t get along with other pets. This doesn’t work so well with dogs because they need more room, she said, which means ARLNH needs more families that don’t have pets.
“We have a lot of families that enjoy fostering because they can have a short-term pet without having to worry about medical bills,” Snyder said
Dana Hedrick of Amherst has been volunteering as a foster parent for almost two years. She doesn’t have any pets of her own, so she can take dogs or cats. 
“One of my favorite things about it is I get to see so many animals and experience many different breeds and personalities. It’s always something different,” Hedrick said.
The length of time a pet stays with her varies from one or two weeks to two or three months. She currently houses a cat that gave birth to kittens last week, and they will be with her for eight weeks.
“I think the question people ask me most often, is, isn’t it hard to give them up? My answer is, There [are] always more animals that need help,” she said.
 
As seen in the March 12, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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