A woman fosters dogs so that their homeless families don't have to give them up.
by Elaine May Smith — Posted on Jan 26, 2015
My dogs are my family—I can’t imagine being separated from them. So when I discovered that people checking into the Yakima, Washington, homeless mission had to give up their dogs, I decided to find a way to keep these families together.
There was enough room in my house for two more dogs. Maybe I could foster people’s dogs while they got back on their feet. I ran the idea past the shelter’s director, and he was gung ho.
Normally the dogs stay for just a month or so while their owners are at the mission. Sometimes my fosters stay longer. One mission resident qualified for a nine-month lease, but the place didn’t allow pets. His dog is living with me until he saves up enough for a pet-friendly apartment.
I take my four-footed guests to visit their owners a few times a month. When I pick up the dogs in the evening, their people look heartened and ready to take on whatever challenges the next day might bring.
While I’ve become good friends with a few of the owners, I’m glad that most move out of the mission and on with their lives—with their canine family members in tow.