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PAWS program welcomes foster pet parents

Aug 26, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer

Riverton residents have the opportunity to be greeted by wagging tails and purrs because Paws is now allowing pet foster care.

Mandy Apodaca, community outreach coordinator for the Riverton animal adoption center, said the shelter houses 50 dogs and 87 cats.

"We only have so much space at our shelter," Apodaca said. "We can't offer some of our more needy, injured, sick, or animals that are too young, the kind of love, attention and care that comes from being in someone's home, which is why we came up with the foster care program."

Foster pet parents are allowed to care for the animals as long as care is needed.

Once the pets are old enough, healthy and recovered, the shelter will take them back to find permanent homes for adoption.

Apodaca said she has found that sick pets recover at a much faster rate from interacting with a family.

"The program is a huge success for the animals and people involved," Apodaca said. "Foster care gives people another way to help the furry critters in the community."

Those interested in becoming foster parents will be contacted by Paws when an animal is in need of care.

"People always ask what they can do," Apodaca said. "Opening up your home to help one animal at a time is a perfect way to help."

Apodaca said the animals that are hardest to adopt are older, have black fur or haven't had much training.

"We hope foster parents will get hooked and want to foster for life," Apodaca said. "Our goal is to get animals quality care so they can get adopted for us to help out the next pet in need."

Anyone interested in becoming a foster pet parent can contact Apodaca at 851-7105 or 857-6002.

Foster pet parents

Steve and Brenda Barlow signed up to become foster parents after hearing about the program from Apodaca.

The couple already had two dogs and a cat when they signed up to become foster parents.

"We requested a puppy to take in," Brenda Barlow said. "We fostered a 9-week-old puppy that was a cattle dog-boxer mix named Smoke."

Brenda Barlow said having a puppy was a great short-term opportunity.

The puppy lived with the Barlow family for two weeks before Paws found a permanent home for him.

"Although it was sad seeing the puppy leave, we knew that he was finding a good home," she said. "It was such a pleasant experience we hope to be able to do it again in the future."

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