Pass It On: Pet Friendly

A woman fosters dogs so that their homeless families don't have to give them up.

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- Posted on Jan 26, 2015

An artist's rendering of a dog house with a Welcome sign

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.

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