Leaving behind the cages and cold cement of local shelters, cats and dogs find creature comforts in Hopalong Animal Rescue’s warm and loving foster homes.
Hopalong, founded in 1993 and based in Oakland, rescues over a thousand animals a year from Bay Area shelters, moving them swiftly through intake and medical procedures into the waiting arms of eager foster families. And with generously donated supplies, Hopalong foster parents are able to help animals in need without the financial burden of having to provide food, medicine, toys, beds, crates, etc.
For most animal lovers, life is busy. Work, kids, school, pets – it can be hard to make time for an extra being in your household. But all Hopalong foster parents understand that these animals desperately need a place to stay while awaiting permanent adoption. Without a dedicated network of fosters, the animals would remain in the stressful shelter environment and face an uncertain life… or death.
One of the toughest yet most rewarding jobs in animal rescue is what we in the business call going on a rescue run. Not only do we see the sad condition of many animals that are left at shelters or picked up as strays, we also see what they could become if given a second chance. With a warm place to sleep, some good food, a little training, and – most importantly – love, many of these animals could make great family pets. Knowing this, it is truly heart-breaking to have to leave even one cat or dog behind because we don’t have an available foster home. Fortunately, our foster program continues to grow and thrive, and new foster homes mean more rescued animals.
We screen all foster home applicants thoroughly, making sure they are up to speed not only on our procedures, but on the risks and rewards of fostering. One of the happier risks is falling in love with an animal you thought would be in your home only temporarily. Actually, some foster parents let us know from the beginning that they are in it to find that one perfect pet to join the family.
When heading out on a shelter run, we take along a list of open foster homes with specifications about types of animals preferred and any other essential details about the families and current pet situations. Although Hopalong tries to find matches for each foster home based on the inventory at the shelters, it’s difficult to predict who we will find. Our goal to pull all-around great animals that would fit appropriately into many households. After completing health and behavior evaluations on these animals, emails go out to volunteers that include photos and a breed, age, and personality description for each one.
Hopalong provides foster families not only with all necessary supplies, but with plenty of support as well. We make sure fosters are set up with training classes, vet appointments, and grooming, if necessary, so all they have to provide is affection and the comforts of a real home.
The job of fostering is often seen as secondary to the ultimate goal of adoption, but Hopalong wouldn’t exist without our beloved foster families who open their homes and hearts to animals that might otherwise have no life. After all, doesn’t every furry creature deserve a stroll in the sun, plenty of play time, and a warm place to sleep, whether it’s just a layover or a forever home?