Volunteer foster dog parents team up to raise money and awareness


Walk/Run for the Animals sees first ever foster dog team

VANCOUVER — Most of the fundraising teams for the Humane Society for Southwest Washington’s (HSSW) Walk/Run for the Animals are dog and cat lovers. Many adopted their four-legged family members from HSSW. 

Volunteer Janet Luck took in her first foster dog, Zoe, last fall and she started the Foster Dogs team to raise awareness, as well as funds, for all of HSSW’s up-and-coming adoptive pets. Photo courtesy of HSSW
Volunteer Janet Luck took in her first foster dog, Zoe, last fall and she started the Foster Dogs team to raise awareness, as well as funds, for all of HSSW’s up-and-coming adoptive pets. Photo courtesy of HSSW

This year, however, dedicated volunteer foster dog parents came together to create the Walk/Run for the Animals’ first ever Foster Dog fundraising team. Some dogs who come to the shelter need special attention or are frightened by the bustling environment. When this happens, trained HSSW volunteers take the dogs into their homes. 

Volunteer Janet Luck took in her first foster dog, Zoe, last fall and she started the Foster Dogs team to raise awareness, as well as funds, for all of HSSW’s up-and-coming adoptive pets. After Zoe arrived at HSSW from a Texas shelter, she was frightened by the noises. 

“She mostly stayed curled up in a ball, and my heart went out to her,” Luck said. “I feel like I’m a voice for Zoe, and the Foster Dogs team is a way to support the shelter’s efforts to offset expenses for all the animals. They help these animals in ways no one sees.”

HSSW gives Zoe medical exams, vaccinations, periodontal treatments and weekly Zoom meetings with an animal behaviorist who offers Luck advice on how to deal with extremely anxious and scared dogs. Photo courtesy of HSSW
HSSW gives Zoe medical exams, vaccinations, periodontal treatments and weekly Zoom meetings with an animal behaviorist who offers Luck advice on how to deal with extremely anxious and scared dogs. Photo courtesy of HSSW

Although this is Luck’s first foster dog experience, she has volunteered at HSSW for three years. She said she’s been impressed by the support HSSW gives Zoe through medical exams, vaccinations, periodontal treatments and weekly Zoom meetings with an animal behaviorist who offers Luck advice on how to deal with extremely anxious and scared dogs.

“HSSW had 206 dogs go through foster care last year and we’ve been working hard to expand the program through our new Population Management department,” said Megan Dennis, Vice President and Director of Shelter Operations. “Some dogs and many puppies need more focused attention. We’re so grateful our volunteer foster dog parents provide loving temporary homes to help train these animals and build trusting relationships.”

Currently, HSSW has 29 active puppy foster homes and 67 adult dog foster homes. 

Luck already has horses, three cats and three dogs (one she adopted from HSSW shortly before she brought Zoe home) on her country property. She’s committed to seeing Zoe find her permanent home. 

“These animals have just as much to give as anyone else but sometimes it’s hard for people to see that when the dogs are scared,” Luck said. “So many people at HSSW work to lift up the foster dogs and get them ready for the right placement. It would warm my heart to see the community support HSSW and this effort.”

Walk/Run for the Animals celebrates its 30th anniversary with a special socially distanced walking route through downtown Vancouver. The dog- and kid-friendly route will have fun stops with available food, giveaways and entertainment. Masks are required for all participants. Runners can run a 5K wherever they choose the week leading up to May 1 and submit their time online.

Walk/Run for the Animals Event Details:

Date: Saturday, May 1, 2021

Location: Downtown Vancouver, Washington

Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Cost: Registration fees are $45 through April 25, $50 between April 26 – April 30, or $55 on May 1 (event day). Kids 12 and under are free with an adult registration. 

You can become an individual fundraiser or join a team at southwesthumane.org

HSSW like to call themselves the matchmakers in the business of completing families. Each year they shelter more than 8,000 animals offering adoption services, Safe Haven temporary housing, low-cost spay and neuter surgeries, and medical care. 

HSSW facilitated 2,954 adoptions in 2020 alone with 25 percent of all adoptions coming from the Portland area. In addition, HSSW distributes 80,000 pounds of pet food each year in collaboration with Animeals (Meals on Wheels People) and Clark County Food Bank.

HSSW is a proud member of the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP) along with nine other animal sheltering organizations. More than 500+ volunteers work with HSSW animals, and provide laundry services, assistance in the clinic, ReTails Thrift Store support, event assistance and outreach activities.

Information provided by the Humane Society for Southwest Washington

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