Vets & Pets: Fostering to Make a Lifesaving Difference
We recently announced the Baltimore Vets & Pets Foster Program with the Baltimore Research and Education Foundation (BREF). This new program encourages veterans in the Baltimore area to invite a shelter animal into their home for foster care. Grants secured by BREF provide all the resources veterans will need, such as food, crate, training (as needed), bed, collar, leash and bowls. Veterans only need to open their home and heart.
Our very first big-hearted veteran in the program was Emily. Emily had joined the Air Force right after she graduated from high school. She did Cyber Systems Operations and completed training at Keesler AFB. Emily was discharged shortly after as a service connection disabled veteran. Now, she volunteers and does community outreach.
Emily learned about the program by a coincidence; she came into BARCS to potentially adopt a kitten. When she learned about Vets & Pets, she knew right away that she wanted to participate.
Emily explains, “I have a lot of previous experience with dogs and missed having furry family members in my home. The program helps not only animals but people too. Being able to care for dogs or cats while they wait for their forever home and being able to benefit from their company is a great opportunity.”
Emily was first paired with Toyota, a tiny black kitten. Though she predominantly spent time with dogs, she found that Toyota was sweet, playful and a great cuddler. Her next foster was Moma Moma, a very friendly black and white dog who loves giving kisses. Emily was quick to say that fostering Moma Moma was an “amazing experience.”
Emily says, “I'm excited to see the Vets & Pets program grow because I think it's a great benefit to both vets and animals in need. I'd like to not only continue to participate in the program but also become involved in other ways such as help other fosters navigate the program and assist in general program coordination as well as bring in the other veterans programs and organizations I volunteer with.”
As an open-admission shelter, BARCS cares for 12,000 animals over the year. While we do our best to provide love and care for every animal based on their individual needs, some dogs and cats, especially those from difficult situations, need extra TLC in a foster home, away from the chaos of shelter life. Veterans, in particular, understand the lingering effects of hardship. They can provide a safe and loving home for an animal in need, and the animal offers unconditional love in return.
To participate in the Baltimore Vets & Pets Foster Program, veterans simply need to come to BARCS and mention the program. From there, our adoption counselors will match the foster with the dog that will best fit their needs and lifestyle.
This program was made possible by a generous grant from the TowerCares Foundation.