Every animal who goes into a foster home brings down the number of shelter pets euthanized each year. Fostering an animal can be one of the most rewarding experiences as each fostered animal is a life saved! At Fimbel ADS we know a lot about this journey. Our participation with fostering has brought 23 pups to their fur-ever home. This passion project, charged by our President, Erin Fimbel, and her family brings our mission of sustainability and compassion for Mother Earth and her creatures to the forefront of our business.
One of the success stories Erin and our company share is mine! Our Sunshine, lovingly known as Sunny (pictured above), joined our family after a two week foster. During this time she was able to meet us and the kids, and we quickly found her personality jived with that of our family. She came to us with a healthy level of trust and basic house manners thus easing the burden of initial training and creating a smooth transition. Her time with a dedicated foster family made that success a possibility.
Did you know?
According to the ASPCA in a 2017 report, "approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year." The report continues with this information:
- "Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.*
- Each year, approximately 1.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters (670,00 dogs and 860,000 cats).
- Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 48% are adopted and 20% are euthanized
- Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 50% are adopted and 27% are euthanized"
It has been through the hard work of local shelters and major organizations like the ASPCA that the issue of pet overpopulation has significantly decreased since the 1970's when, according to research, it is estimated that 12-20 million animals were euthanized annually.
Today we celebrate the improvement in those numbers, but we can always do better! As you can see, the burden on our shelters is extreme. This is where you come in!
Why is fostering important?
It is important to understand how the word foster as it is used here. To foster means to encourage and promote growth as well as to take care of. It is not simply the providing of shelter and food but to provide encouragement and promote the animal through love and devotion.
When an animal is fostered versus remaining for adoption at the shelter, the fostered animal has a much better chance of being selected. They are often more at ease with humans and home settings which allows for more relaxed encounters with potential new families. Fostered animals are typically more socialized and quite often healthier making them more appealing.
Animals that remain at the shelter have a harder time getting adopted. The basic facility conditions, despite any effort of those at the shelters, are often stressful with the noise and lack of human or animal connection. They are often less healthy which will deter prospective families. These animals lack opportunities to develop trust which can make first encounters unpredictable.
Erin shared that "most of the dogs I fostered were scheduled to be euthanized had I not said yes." Once fostered and the life saved, these dogs have a clear advantage over others: the chance to be loved. This alone can truly make the difference in finding the right home that will last their lifetime.
What does it mean to foster an animal?
When you sign up to foster an animal, you agree to welcome this life into your home and family to be treated as one of your own. During a period of time, typically ranging from 2 days to 4 weeks, you will provide food, shelter, and basic supplies while offering a loving, stable environment. In this time, they will learn basic manners, lifestyle, and trust. Most organizations will cover the cost of medical expenses though this should be discussed first.
Many adoption organizations will arrange adoption events where animals and prospective families can meet. These opportunities are very valuable to the shelter, the animal, and to you as they tend to get adopted faster.
You must be able to commit your time and devotion to the animal, and you must have the buy-in of your family. Puppies and dogs are adorable! That is for sure, but they require a great deal of work. Many times they have adopted challenging habits because of their inhumane living conditions. For this, a foster family should educate themselves on the best practices for training and understanding the dog as well as how to integrate them into your family.
If you have kids you may be concerned it is hard for them when the foster leaves after building this trusting, loving relationship, but Erin shares with us that "it's a great life lesson on doing the right things and putting the needs of others before yourself. There are so many dogs we have cried over and didn't want to let them go, but then we wouldn't be able to save more."
How to become a foster:
Don't be intimidated! This experience will be one of the most rewarding of your life, but it starts with some research, some soul-searching, and solid partnerships.
Finding the right shelter is critical. Ask your friends for referrals to a shelter or rescue near you. Building a partnership with the rescue is important as it truly takes a village to love these animals the right way and find the right placement. For Erin who believes strongly in "pairing the right dog with the right home is critical", she chooses to work with a shelter that allows the foster family to participate in the selection of the foster's new home. Using her evaluation of the dog's personality and needs, she facilitates the interviews and makes recommendations on behalf of the dog.
What's this got to do with Fimbel?
"My foster pups often come to work with me", said Erin. "The team loves our four-legged additions to the family. They interact, walk, play, and love our fosters as well as help promote and find them homes."
Our commitment to sustainability is not only prevalent in our products and practices but in our involvement with the earth and her creatures. Our garage doors are made to last and low-maintenance which means there is less to the landfill and less chemicals used over the course of time. Our practices for operations are focused on optimization and reduction of waste, so we recycle what we can and continue to innovate.
If we stopped there and accepted this as good enough, we wouldn't be Fimbel. For 95 years our family has manufactured garage doors, and today we want to give back in more ways than providing to the building industry. Through our partnership with One Tree Planted we plant one tree for every single door we sell in hopes of giving Mother Nature back what she so generously provides to you and I. Our participation in Erin's foster pup mission is just the same. We need to love the earth and her creatures, and this is the most joyful and effective way for our company culture.