On Tuesday at the annual Chamber Luncheon the

Lee County Humane Society’s Foster Care Program was the proud recipient of the Auburn Chamber of Council’s Eagle Award. This award recognized the success of our foster care program, and the program’s director Bailey Ray. We couldn’t be more proud of the hard work Ray does every day for the animals we serve.

The foster care program is one of the keys to our success at LCHS, and enables our high live release rate and one of the reasons the foster program is so important to us at LCHS is that, we originally started as a foster-based organization before the original building was built off of Highway 280. The modern foster program started only 3-4 years ago with Hannah Jones who was the acting Programs Director at the time. The LCHS foster program has a simple setup. We require that each foster complete a foster application that goes over their home environment, their previous animal experience, and their fostering preferences. This allows us to better place the fosters onto the email list that they are most interested in; whether it may be puppies, kittens, adult dogs, adult cats or all! We simply send out an email to those targeted groups when we have animals that we need to get out of the shelter. Foster families simply respond to the email whenever they see a pet that they can help, and we handle the rest in terms of setting up their pickup time and getting all paperwork ready. Our foster period is, on average, 2 weeks (though some animals, especially new puppies and kittens, expect longer stays with their foster families) and once the foster period is complete then the pet can stay on our adoption floor to be seen by potential adopters!

Our current foster care director, Bailey Ray, works hard to make our foster families feel useful and constantly remind them of the impact they make on these pets’ lives. This interaction has helped to make the program more successful than ever before.

Ray is constantly reminding all those on our foster family rolls that “When they clear a spot for another animal by fostering, they are saving two lives- the one they are fostering and the one that will inevitably need that kennel space,” and it’s true. The impact our foster families make is HUGE.

Since January 1, 2017, LCHS has taken in 3,016 animals and 1,795 pets were adopted out locally. In terms of fostering, 1,465 pets went into foster care since January 1, 2017. Almost 700 of those that went into foster care this year happened between May 1st and August 31st, which we lovingly refer to as “puppy and kitten season.” This is always our busiest time of the year, and the time when fosters are crucial to our success. Fosters are also an essential part of the adoption process because they give us valuable feedback about how the pets they are caring for act in a home environment.