San Diego's New Foster Program Could Help 1100 Dogs Find Homes

If you've been thinking about adopting a dog and you live in the San Diego area, now could be the perfect time. Six local animal shelters are working together to get more than 1,000 dogs adopted. They're calling their partnership, Project Dog Foster.

It won't be just dogs that the rescues are offering. The rescues are hoping to get many of their animals adopted or placed in foster homes.

Speaking with CBS 8, Nina Thompson of the San Diego Humane Society, shed some light on the project.

"Dogs are social, they want to be with their families, they want to be a part of something," said Thompson explained. "For a dog to sit in a kennel for 23 hours a day, for more than a year that's devastating."

Related: Foster Dog Mom Shares the Reality of Adopting Seniors in Emotional Video

"We're asking the community now in April, before the summer months, where we know it's going to get busier, to make sure these dogs get a break," she added.

The six rescues participating are City of Chula Vista Animal Services, Frosted Faces Foundation, PAWS of Coronado, Rancho Coastal Humane Society, San Diego County Department of Animal Services and San Diego Humane Society. A representative for the group said they have many animals who need to forever homes. But there is a staggering number of dogs who need permanent placements. Over 1,100 to be exact.

The dogs that are most in need are medium to large dogs, many of whom are experiencing extreme kennel stress after being in a kennel for longer than six months. Even fostering an animal can help relieve the stress being placed on these rescues.

"The lifesaving benefits of fostering cannot be overstated," Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society, told NBC San Diego. "Temporarily opening your heart and home to a pet offers the personal attention and vital security that our shelter animals need. We also learn characteristics about that animal that will help find a better match when speaking to potential adopters."

"Unfortunately, more than 40 percent of our dogs have been available for adoption for 30 days or longer, and we currently have five dogs who have been in care for more than a year," Carl Smith, interim director at the county's Department of Animal Services, added. "Fortunately, when you foster with any of our organizations, we provide all the supplies, so there is no cost to you while fostering."

The organizations have vowed to provide the costs of food, supplies and medical care to any foster parents. All they really need is a break.

"Fostering a senior dog might be easier than you think," Andrew Smísek, co-founder of Frosted Faces Foundation, told the news outlet. "They often have lower energy levels and require less exercise. If you'd rather take a nap with your dog than take it on a run, consider fostering a senior dog."

And there's a good chance that you might just your forever pet.

"Many pets don't show their true personalities in a kennel setting," Mikalla McFadden, director of Foster Programs, Rancho Coastal Humane Society, explained. "In a foster home, pets can decompress and blossom into a loving companion that potential adopters are looking for."

Here's hoping that all of these pets will find a foster home very soon.

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