Help foster a furry friend

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The Los Alamos County Animal Shelter, run by the police department, receives Los Alamos animals through owner surrender, abandonment and by picking up roaming animals in this county.  
The currently low rate of euthanasia has been achieved through the efforts of employees and volunteers to have animals adopted and fostered. The volunteer program would like to expand the network of foster homes for Los Alamos animals in order to continue this success.
A major cause of illness in shelters is overcrowding. When the shelter becomes overcrowded, short-term foster homes can save health and lives by temporarily absorbing the overflow. When staff advises that adoptions have reduced the population, these fosters may return to the shelter.
Animals are fostered either long-term or short-term, for a variety of reasons. Some new arrivals are infant animals too young to thrive in a busy shelter environment. A short-term foster home can provide more frequent feeding, better temperature control and the socialization necessary for successful adoption. Also, the baby animals must attain a minimum weight before a veterinarian can spay or neuter them as required prior to adoption.  
Foster homes care for the babies until they are sterilized and then usually provide a few days of post-operative recovery prior to return to the shelter. Those who have not had a puppy or kitten in their homes for a while might find it fun to foster young creatures.
Animals past their infancy also benefit from socialization and evaluation in a home. The family environment has made many animals adoptable who might otherwise have been euthanized as unadoptable.
Some animals have short-term medical needs best handled in a home. The animals are then returned to the shelter, healthy and adoptable.
During a short-term foster, the animal remains the property of Los Alamos County, and the county pays for approved veterinary costs, such as sterilization. If shelter staff approve, a foster home has the option of adopting directly out of the home. Adopter screening forms can be provided.
Long-term fostering is needed for animals with chronic illnesses or behavioral issues that cannot be managed at the shelter. Diabetic animals require monitoring and twice-daily insulin shots. Cats with FIV are not treatable, nor can they live communally with the healthy cats. They are fostered in homes with no cats or with only other FIV-positive cats.
A long-term foster animal becomes the property and responsibility of the foster home. Some long-term foster expenses can be approved and assisted by Friends of the Shelter.
For more information about offering a foster home for Los Alamos County Animal Shelter needs, call Wendee at 660-1648 or Sally at 412-3451. For cat and kitten fosters only, call Mary at 470-6970, Lara at 412-9747 or Liz at 377-5389.