A pal for the weekend, or longer: Shelter looking for canine foster homes

If you love dogs but can’t own one, and still want to spend time with humanity’s best friend, here’s an idea: become a foster owner.

If you love dogs but can’t own one, and still want to spend time with humanity’s best friend, here’s an idea: become a foster owner.

Humane Society Yukon’s Mae Bachur Animal Shelter is looking for foster homes for its dogs.

“It’s always so hard (to find foster homes),” said Rachel Shipperbottom, the shelter’s assistant manager.

“(People) end up falling in love with the dogs they have.”

The shelter takes care of about 500 animals per year, mostly dogs and cats, says executive director Dan Moore.

There is no shortage of volunteers for walking dogs, he said, but foster homes are harder to come by.

The shelter has three full-time and five part-time employees but relies heavily on volunteers. As of today the shelter had 11 cats and nine dogs up for adoption.

One year is usually the maximum time dogs will stay at the shelter, Shipperbottom said.

“We try to get them into homes, or try other shelters,” she said. “It’s just a long time.”

There are times when dogs who’ve spent a lot of time at the shelter will run away to get back to the shelter.

“There was a dog that lived here for five months and went to a foster home,” Shipperbottom said. “He came back all the way from Crestview three times.”

But most times, it’s a good experience for the doggo and the foster parent.

And fostering allows for a lot of flexibility.

“You can do a weekend thing if you’re looking for a pal for the weekend and getting them out,” Shipperbottom said. “We have a guy, he comes in whenever he wants — he is an approved foster — and he takes the dogs for camping.”

Other people will foster the dogs until somebody actually adopts them.

Unsurprisingly, entire litters of puppies have proved the most difficult to find homes for.

The shelter can’t keep mothers with their puppies if they’re younger than six weeks, because of the diseases the puppies could catch but also the stress on the mother that could cause her to harm her puppies.

“We struggle every single time we get a pregnant mom in or a litter of puppies,” Shipperbottom said.

Shelter employees also keep an eye on foster dogs and check in with foster parents.

Shipperbottom herself is currently checking on a litter of four puppies.

Fostering is also a good way for would-be dog owners to see what’s in store for them.

Owning a dog is a commitment, Shipperbottom said, and she always recommends when people seek to adopt adult dogs they take them as foster pets first.

“We don’t want our animals coming back,” she said.

There’s increasing evidence that four-legged companions are good for our health.

A 2012 study from Virginia Commonwealth University suggested a link between employees bringing their dogs to work and lower stress levels.

From therapy dogs used in court to help witnesses, to stress-defusing ones in schools or epilepsy-warning dogs, service dogs are also more common.

The atmosphere at the News itself is much more enjoyable when newspaper mascot Gizmo, a border terrier, is making the rounds, partly to check on people’s work and partly sniffing around for food.

And for people who already own a dog or a cat, or who don’t necessarily want to foster animals, there are still ways they can help the shelter, Moore said.

The shelter gets about $79,000 in funding from the Yukon government, but that’s only about a fifth of its annual budget, meaning it relies heavily on fundraising and donations.

For more information on how to foster dogs or cats or to help with fundraising, visit humanesocietyyukon.ca, or drop by the shelter Tuesday to Friday, noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you love dogs but can’t own one, and still want to spend time with humanity’s best friend, here’s an idea: become a foster owner.

Humane Society Yukon’s Mae Bachur Animal Shelter is looking for foster homes for its dogs.

“It’s always so hard (to find foster homes),” said Rachel Shipperbottom, the shelter’s assistant manager.

“(People) end up falling in love with the dogs they have.”

The shelter takes care of about 500 animals per year, mostly dogs and cats, says executive director Dan Moore.

There is no shortage of volunteers for walking dogs, he said, but foster homes are harder to come by.

The shelter has three full-time and five part-time employees but relies heavily on volunteers. As of today the shelter had 11 cats and nine dogs up for adoption.

One year is usually the maximum time dogs will stay at the shelter, Shipperbottom said.

“We try to get them into homes, or try other shelters,” she said. “It’s just a long time.”

There are times when dogs who’ve spent a lot of time at the shelter will run away to get back to the shelter.

“There was a dog that lived here for five months and went to a foster home,” Shipperbottom said. “He came back all the way from Crestview three times.”

But most times, it’s a good experience for the doggo and the foster parent.

And fostering allows for a lot of flexibility.

“You can do a weekend thing if you’re looking for a pal for the weekend and getting them out,” Shipperbottom said. “We have a guy, he comes in whenever he wants — he is an approved foster — and he takes the dogs for camping.”

Other people will foster the dogs until somebody actually adopts them.

Unsurprisingly, entire litters of puppies have proved the most difficult to find homes for.

The shelter can’t keep mothers with their puppies if they’re younger than six weeks, because of the diseases the puppies could catch but also the stress on the mother that could cause her to harm her puppies.

“We struggle every single time we get a pregnant mom in or a litter of puppies,” Shipperbottom said.

Shelter employees also keep an eye on foster dogs and check in with foster parents.

Shipperbottom herself is currently checking on a litter of four puppies.

Fostering is also a good way for would-be dog owners to see what’s in store for them.

Owning a dog is a commitment, Shipperbottom said, and she always recommends when people seek to adopt adult dogs they take them as foster pets first.

“We don’t want our animals coming back,” she said.

There’s increasing evidence that four-legged companions are good for our health.

A 2012 study from Virginia Commonwealth University suggested a link between employees bringing their dogs to work and lower stress levels.

From therapy dogs used in court to help witnesses, to stress-defusing ones in schools or epilepsy-warning dogs, service dogs are also more common.

The atmosphere at the News itself is much more enjoyable when newspaper mascot Gizmo, a border terrier, is making the rounds, partly to check on people’s work and partly sniffing around for food.

And for people who already own a dog or a cat, or who don’t necessarily want to foster animals, there are still ways they can help the shelter, Moore said.

The shelter gets about $79,000 in funding from the Yukon government, but that’s only about a fifth of its annual budget, meaning it relies heavily on fundraising and donations.

For more information on how to foster dogs or cats or to help with fundraising, visit humanesocietyyukon.ca, or drop by the shelter Tuesday to Friday, noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read