INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a packed house at the Upchurch residence.
Carrie Upchurch has five dogs of her own. And even with all the commotion, she still opened her home to foster Forrest, a little schnauzer.
“I tend to like the big dogs,” Upchurch said. “If I have the space or the money, or I have extra, or I have the time, whatever it is — why wouldn’t I help?”
Indianapolis Animal Care Services is urging you to ask the same question.
“New foster homes are desperately needed," said Coordinator Ashley Temple.
IACS, the state’s largest animal shelter, cares for more than 14,000 animals every year.
“We're at capacity. That might not necessarily mean that every cage is full, but due to staffing shortages, we are really struggling," Temple said.
Every day, Temple receives requests from folks who can’t take care of their pet but don’t want to surrender.
“Anything from housing instability, loss of a job, need for medical care, some people won’t even go to the hospital because they don’t know what to do with their animal while they’re there," she said.
That’s why the shelter launched the Safety Net Foster program.
The initiative is a part of Indy CARES — a shelter diversion program that offers support from free supplies, food and leashes to free behavioral consultations, medical exams, and medication.
“This idea of a safety net foster program offers another solution, where the animal is given a soft place to land, the pet owner has some time to get back on their feet and the two are reunited, without ever having to stay in the city’s shelter,” she said.
So what goes into fostering a pet?
- The time commitment ranges from 30-60 days.
- There’s no cost to you or the pet’s family.
- IACS will cover supplies, as well as medical care.
IACS has only received a few applications for foster homes so far, and they’re urging the community to lend a hand.
If you’re not able to foster, IACS is accepting donations. All the money will go towards helping these animals. You can find a link here.