Marin Humane’s Pet Safety Net program provides free pet food, supplies, medication, financial support for veterinary care and even “pet deposits” for rental properties to struggling pet parents. There are many great programs we’re proud of at Marin Humane, but over the past couple of years, the Pet Safety Net has emerged as one that touches more lives — human and animal — than any other.
Now, that program is expanding to include emergency foster care for the pets of those facing critical circumstances such as long-term hospitalizations, housing insecurity and more. Long-term, temporary animal housing is something we haven’t been able to offer for those situations before, due to our limited shelter capacity.
While we’ve housed animals in emergencies like hospitalization of their guardian or for those fleeing domestic violence, this service has been restricted in scope, had a two-week time limit and the animals were housed exclusively at our shelter. We’ll now be better able to help both people and their animals by offering longer-term temporary animal housing in a loving foster home for up to 90 days.
Foster homes have been critical in helping with our pandemic response, and we’re now in a position to use that model for animals that need a temporary emergency home. No matter how nice our animal shelter is, it’s still a shelter — not a home. Animals that live in foster homes are much more relaxed, stay healthy and don’t tend to pick up bad behaviors. They also receive more one-on-one attention than we’re able to offer at the shelter.
Che, a 15-year-old poodle mix, has been staying with foster pet parent Kim Oga for two and a half months while his guardian is in the hospital.
“When I received Che’s photo, I immediately said ‘yes’ because I know that being in a shelter for a long time can be hard on an animal,” Oga says. “And I know that if it were me and I couldn’t take care of my pet for a while, I’d want them to go to a safe, cozy home.”
Our Pet Safety Net foster parents will typically be asked to foster pets for longer periods of time compared to fostering shelter animals, and there are a handful of other considerations, given that these are privately owned animals. But all food, supplies and care are covered by Marin Humane. And most importantly, it’s a truly unique opportunity to make an immediate difference in the lives of people who are facing a crisis by helping their beloved pets.
Guardians requesting this service must have exhausted all other leads for care for their pet, be Marin residents and work with third-party social services, where needed, to receive this service.
“I wanted to foster Che because I really feel for both him and for his guardian,” Oga says. “If Che can go back to his guardian happy and healthy, then I know I’ve really made a difference.”
These special fosters will be in a unique position to be able to help not only an animal in need, but also a person in need, too.
If you’re interested in becoming a Pet Safety Net Foster parent, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.