According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, every year 6.5 million animals enter shelters nationwide and 1.5 million of these animals are euthanized. Through the work of fosters, volunteers and adoptive families, these numbers are dropping for the first time from 7.2 million in 2011.
The goal of shelters and rescues alike is to reunite animals with their owners or successfully place them for adoption. Adoption success depends on many factors, including animal temperament, training and health issues, as well as the potential adopter’s ability to meet the animal’s needs.
“One big reason that dogs are in the shelter is because people didn’t plan ahead for the responsibility of having them,” said Jason Robbins, owner of Cornerstone Dog Training, who works frequently with adopted dogs.
Robbins said his biggest piece of advice when bringing a new animal into your home is to simply wait because when dogs are brought into a shelter or adopted, their behavior may change, and it’s good to observe them over a period of time.
“I would suggest never buying on a whim. Ask to come back another day, at another time, to gather more information about the dog,” Robbins said. “Ask if there is a foster program. Dogs often take a week or so before they start behaving more normally. For better or for worse.”
Stacey Nixon, an Animal Control Officer at South Ogden Animal Services, also stresses the importance of the matching the right animal and family in order to have a successful placement.
“Our fosters give us the ability to have the animals in a home environment,” Nixon said, “which helps us better determine what kind of family they need to be successful and have a forever home.”
A small, locally run shelter, South Ogden Animal Services had 856 successful adoptions in 2017.
Nixon attributes the shelter’s successes to the heavy load its volunteers carry. “We are a very small facility so we rely heavily on fosters. We could not do what we do without the help of fosters and volunteers,” Nixon said.
Volunteers help with anything from cleaning kennels to running adoption events while fosters take on the role of a surrogate family for the animal being considered for adoption.
Adoptive families, fosters and volunteers all play a part in trying improve these animals’ lives. However, behind the scenes, people who adopt say the positive impact is mutual.
“The best thing about rescuing is that it gave me purpose,” said Ally Marker who adopted her dog through the Weber County Animal Shelter. “I went in for a dog and got a best friend.”
Those interested in adoption, fostering, or volunteering with South Ogden Animal Services can reach out to Stacey Nixon at (801) 622-2949. In order to adopt, applicants must complete an interview, paperwork and a pay a fee at the weekly adoption events held at Petsmart on Riverdale Rd. every Friday at 5:30 p.m.