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'I've finally found a purpose in life.' | Indiana woman fosters nearly 500 dogs

Nine years ago, Elizabeth Starck made it her mission to save dogs from shelters. Today, she's seen hundreds come and go through her home.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — Fostering a dog is a big decision - fostering nearly 500 is next-level. For Elizabeth Starck, it all started nine years ago with just one dog. 

“I got one, then a couple, and it kept snowballing. Then, I got some that never left, which is fine!” laughed Starck. 

Since then, nearly 500 dogs have come through Starck's door, making themselves at home while they wait for a forever home. Starck works with Southern Indiana Animal Rescue, a group that fights to save dogs that otherwise might be put down by pairing them with foster homes. 

For Starck, the work that comes with fostering usually over ten dogs at once is worth it. That work includes daily mopping and vacuuming, walks and sometimes administering between 10 and 30 pills to different dogs twice a day. 

“Skin-issue dogs are my heart. I love seeing them change for the better so, the more medicine...it is what it is - I’ve gotten used to it," she said. 

You might be wondering if all of these dogs actually live in her home. The answer is yes. 

“People have always talked about building a kennel for me and I don’t want that. I want them to be in the home with me," Starck said. "I want them to feel like part of a family until they get adopted out to another family.”

Credit: WHAS

The big question we had for Starck is how she handles the emotional toll of becoming attached to so many dogs she eventually will give away to another family. In this case, her passion for saving the animals comes first. 

“They have probably seem some, not so much abuse, but neglect in their life and knowing every day for them is a good day, I love it," she said. "I help them but they help me more than anything. I’ve finally found a purpose in life. Just giving back in some way. That’s really all we need.”

Starck has no plans to slow down her fostering, but she knows not everyone can take on the lifestyle she chooses. She says if you want to help, you can volunteer, foster, or adopt. If you'd like to help or work with her rescue mission, click here.

Contact reporter Daniel Sechtin at dsechtin@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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