When I used to think of animal shelters I imagined dark and dreary places with rows of sad animals who were left alone all the time. A year and a half ago- just a week or two after having our fourth child- I got it in my head we needed another dog. Maybe it was the crazy postpartum hormones, but I spent hours searching listings online and fell in love with a little black and white dog named Allie who was in foster care through our local shelter, Companion Animal Alliance. Little did I know that meeting this sweet baby with a burn scar on her back would be the beginning of a love affair with fostering dogs in Baton Rouge and learning more about the importance of spay/neuter and animal welfare.
Fostering Dogs in Baton Rouge to Make a Difference
As it turns out, shelters are not sad, scary places. They are just little pit stops for special animals in-between a hard situation and finding their forever families. Some come in as strays, others are surrendered by their owners, and occasionally they come in as cruelty cases, but once at CAA the animals receive the highest quality care and tons of attention before meeting their new loved ones. And no worries, mamas, they’re all behavior and aggression tested before they’re put out on the rows to be fostered or adopted, and once they pass each of them also gets daily doggie play groups to romp around with their four-legged friends, as well.
The summer season is always extremely busy at Companion Animal Alliance and we joke that it’s literally raining cats and dogs because they can receive between 30-50 homeless animals every single day! Just from May 1 until today, over 1400 animals have come through intake at our Baton Rouge shelter but the average for the entire year is about 8000. To free up kennels on the rows, CAA depends on fosters and rescue organizations to pull the animals and open up space.
The staff is always happy to work with foster families to find the perfect fit for their home. Have a small child? They will make sure to send you home with an animal that will be gentle. Have a rambunctious dog that needs to be exercised? They can match you with another pup with lots of energy for them to wrestle and run with. Live in an apartment? No problem! There are plenty of animals that will do great in that environment.
Rio is our current foster dog available for adoption.
Volunteers are needed daily to give the dogs more play time, socialization and walks outside and to give the kitties some good lovin’, but once someone volunteers they fall in love with the animals and often also become advocates. In turn, friends, family and co-workers end up hearing about CAA and the amazing work they are doing and decide to volunteer or adopt as well.
All volunteers and foster parents attend a short training which are conveniently held 2-3x a month. Once you go through that you are free to come and go as you please to take out dogs to walk, play with, or train to make them more adoptable, or spend time with the cats on the newly renovated Catio! You can also go pull a foster just for a quick weekend together or a foster-to-forever that you keep in your home until the perfect family comes along. Watching animals who came in scared or reserved or just in need of some extra attention blossom into the perfect pet and find a home and people to love them forever is an indescribably beautiful feeling. Our family has found this experience to be so rewarding and it has taught our children so many lessons on responsibility, compassion and the welfare of animals.
The beautiful McCurry family who adopted our former foster dog, Rosie.
Be sure to check the Companion Animal Alliance website for tons of great info on fostering dogs in Baton Rouge, to learn more about what they do, the importance of spay/neuter, their Fostering Hope program for cancer survivors, their capital campaign to raise funds for a new facility, and other important topics. You can also sign up for an orientation so you and your babies can love on some fur babies, you won’t regret it. We hope to see you soon!