Day Foster Program helps dogs thrive

Jun. 08, 2014 @ 06:04 PM

Everyone wants a place in the sun, including dogs.

That’s why the Durham County Animal Shelter hopes more people will take advantage of its Day Foster Program.
The program lets shelter volunteers sign a dog out for a day and expose them to life outside a kennel.
For a dog that’s been cooped up for weeks, a touch of freedom works wonders.
“A kennel environment for a month or more just doesn’t provide the stimulation that they need,” said Stephanie Kirby, APS volunteer coordinator. “Getting outside to see and smell new things and to play can help a dog keep it together mentally.”
Kirby saw that recently when she took a shelter dog home one night. The transformation was astonishing.
“Dawn, a hound mix, is a very nervous, shy dog,” she said. “She is a very sweet girl, and it was hard to get her to come out of her kennel. But I brought her to my office for a couple of days and then took her home one night. That made all the difference in the world.”
She said Dawn’s confidence skyrocketed.
“It turned her around tremendously,” Kirby said. “She’s just more comfortable now.”
Favorite places for volunteers to take dogs include Duke University’s East Campus and Ninth Street, where they wear special vests to remind people the shelter has many high-quality animals for adoption.
“The program is becoming more popular,” Kirby said. “Any of our trained APS dog volunteers who have undergone orientation and training and have volunteered at the shelter at least three months are able to sign a dog out.”
Kirby said the shelter also needs volunteers to take in dogs for long periods.
“Day foster is great,” she said, “but getting them out of the shelter permanently though full-time fostering or adoption is our ultimate goal.”

Learn more about the Day Foster Program at\volunteer or call Stephanie Kirby at 919-560-0640, ext. 221.