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More 'foster fails,' pet adoptions happening during pandemic

The stay-at-home orders have been good for at least one thing: More shelter pets are finding forever homes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Maybe you’ve heard of the term “foster fails.” It’s when someone fosters an animal, ends up falling in love with it, and adopting it. 

It happens all the time, but the Kentucky Humane Society is learning that it happens more often during a global pandemic.

“I never wanted a dog of our own so I thought it would be a nice compromise to foster animals through the Kentucky Humane Society,” said Lauren Deitering. “We started fostering a year and a half ago and since then we’ve fostered 19 animals.”

According to the Kentucky Humane Society, about 500 animals found new homes during the coronavirus pandemic, whether it was a permanent home or a temporary one. Many animals living in shelters have been abused or neglected, so fostering an animal gives it a chance to build trust with people and feel what’s it’s like to be loved.

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“Fostering is just an incredible way to give back to animals in need,” said Andrea Blair, a spokesperson with the Kentucky Humane Society.

The purpose of the foster program is to give animals a loving home for a few days or weeks to help an animal get accustomed to a loving home. However, many foster families “fail” in the best way. 

About 25% of Kentucky Humane Society animals who went into foster homes have been adopted by their foster families. Normally that happens about 5% of the time.

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“We had more applications for fostering than we had animals to foster and that’s just saying a lot,” Blair said.

At the start of the pandemic, Lauren Deitering was fostering two dogs. One was recently adopted and the other, Stevie, just entered “fospice care,” so the focus now is making sure he’s comfortable during his final days.

“I’ve never met a more special group that’s just full of love and support and kindness and there’s hundreds of us,” Deitering said.

Right now, the Kentucky Humane Society doesn't need any more foster families, but you can still fill out an application in case an animal needs a temporary home.

If you’re interested in rescuing an animal, the Kentucky Humane Society has reopened adoptions. Adoptions are conducted are by appointment using virtual counseling and an online application. You can learn more on the KHS website.

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