One of the reasons Valerie and Robert Clark raise animals for the Monroe County Humane Society is to prepare them for their permanent homes.
The couple started fostering six years ago when they adopted a dog mother and 10 puppies into the Monroe home. It was one of over 200 animals that were
“It was good practice to raise a mother with ten puppies,” Valerie Clark said. There wasn’t enough room for a litter of puppies that size…we ended up adopting a litter runt.He was sick and should have died.”
The Clarks took care of their smallest puppy, weighing less than three pounds, and named him Slugger. He weighs 98 pounds and turned 6 last month.
Providing care and compassion is nothing new for Valerie, who has worked as a nurse for 42 years. For 20 of those years, she volunteered to help with events for the Monroe County Humanitarian Society and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors.
After Valerie retired, the Clarks began raising pets and have taken care of more than 130 animals. Most were puppies with a few cats on the way.
“When Lenawee’s animals were rescued, there were 26 animals in the shelter and we adopted 14 animals,” she said. “Four litters were born and some of them turned out to be pregnant when Human Her Society gave birth. Eventually a Cavalier King (Charles Spaniel) and his puppies, and a Shih Tzu. and got her puppy…”
The Clark family cares for the animals until they are ready to be adopted. All animals must be spayed or neutered before being placed in a permanent home. With care periods ranging from her four weeks to her three months, Valerie keeps her diary to document the pets she brings into her home.
“Anyone interested in fostering can fill out an application at the shelter. It’s like adoption,” she said. “If you have current animals in your home, they should be vaccinated and kept up to date. You have to be responsible and have a place for them. It worked.
According to the association’s president, Jackie Montia, fostering animals helps get them out of institutions and into a home environment. It helps make room for other animals.
“We need volunteers and foster care all year round in shelters,” said Montia. “Even short-term foster care is helpful. If someone wants to raise an animal for a week, that short amount of time is very helpful. The majority of these animals have homes and do not understand why they are in shelters.They are depressed.They become anxious. Putting them in foster care can make all the difference.”
There are several reasons why you should put an animal in foster care. You may be sick or injured. Some are too young to be adopted.
Clark said raising animals requires not only dedication but also effort on the part of foster parents, especially for young pets that require house training. Going outside helps establish potty habits, which is important during the puppy stage.
She recommends relaxing when interacting with puppies, and said it’s normal for puppies to chew as they explore their surroundings.
Taking foster parents into good homes and seeing them with loved ones is one of the best aspects of being a Clark pet foster parent.
“It’s amazing to see them get adopted,” she said. “Some animals bond so quickly.”
More information about fostering and adopting pets is available at the Humane Society of Monroe County, 833 N. Telegraph Road.