For most of us, dogs truly are our best friends. They are unconditional companions that bring joy and love to our lives. Unfortunately, there are many dogs that are abandoned or born on the streets. Texas and many other areas have become overrun with stray dogs, which is why organizations like Shayne’s Fosters in Thurston County are working hard to make adopting these pets possible locally. Shayne’s Fosters helps connect people with pets from all over so that these lovable animals can find their forever home.

Olympia Pet Emergency logo 2018Ellen Dorfman founded Shayne’s Fosters because she is passionate about protecting the lives of animals and believes every dog should have a chance at a happy, healthy home. She originally began fostering dogs for local rescues and discovered that there was a sickening number of shelters and pounds that were putting unwanted animals down. In regions like Texas and California, stray dogs are running rampant and the kill rate at shelters is extremely high.  “Shelters kill between 20,000-40,000 animals a year,” Ellen shares. “The reality is that a lot of people don’t realize how many kill shelters there still are and that they are killing so many dogs.”

Ellen knew that she had to get involved to help reduce the number of animals being put down in shelters. She began searching for rescuers that needed help in fostering and managing adoptions for their available dogs. The first one she worked with was a rescuer in Texas called God’s Dogs, who care for animals through foster families. They also established a transport division called Your Texas Rescue Connection, so they can actually transport the dogs all along the west coast to their forever homes. This idea spoke volumes to Ellen because of how critical it was to help get these dogs out of kill shelters in overpopulated areas

Dogs without a home have a second chance at life through amazing rescues and fosters. Pictured is Max, who is one of many that found a forever home through Shayne’s Fosters. Photo courtesy: Shayne’s Fosters

From there, her work expanded to include other rescuers that would send dogs to her to be fostered and adopted in the local area. She works with rescues like God’s Dogs, Helotes Humane Society, Pet Central SATX Rsecue, L & S Dog Diggity Rescue, and Katie’s Roadside Rescue for dog adoptions, and also helps support rescues like Windmill of Dreams and Hay Dude, who rescue dogs and other animals such as horses, alpacas, and more. By working with so many wonderful rescues, Shayne’s Fosters is helping give these animals a second chance at life and happiness. Their mission is to protect the homeless dogs and animals we have and find a way to give them a good life.

These rescues are an integral part of our communities when it comes to animal rights, and they invest a great deal of money, time and energy into protecting what matters. “They spend tens of thousands of their own funds to save lives and donate 70+ hours a week,” Ellen says. A huge part of that expense for rescues is the medical care and attention they give to every single animal they save. “All of our dogs and puppies come to the Pacific Northwest spayed or neutered, microchipped, and dewormed with all of their age-appropriate shots plus flea and tick prevention,” Ellen explains. All of this costs a huge amount of money, which is why having foster families and volunteers is so critical to the operation. By having reliable, loving individuals to care for the pets, the rescues can continue to focus on finding, treating, healing, and transporting the dogs and other animals so that they can have a better chance at adoption.

Many of the dogs left behind are older dogs, but this doesn’t mean they deserve any less love. Shayne’s Fosters adopts older dogs as well, like Stewart, who was rescued in his later years. Photo courtesy: Shayne’s Fosters

When considering how much energy, love, and care goes into these rescue dogs, it makes sense to adopt instead of shop. These rescues and fosters are working tirelessly to save animal lives, and you can play a big part in supporting them by adopting one of their puppies or dogs. The average cost of adoption is between $500-$600, which includes all of the necessary medical care, fostering and transportation fees. “It isn’t very expensive when you consider all that is included and everything that happens behind the scenes,” Ellen shares. There are many wonderful dogs available now that are waiting to be adopted, so check out Adopt-a-Pet first for your next pet. About half of what they have available are puppies between three and six months of age, so if you are looking for a puppy, check out their Adopt-A-Pet page!

Ellen is hugely grateful to her fellow foster families in Shayne’s Fosters and for all the volunteers that work hard to help this great cause. “They are so important and we are so thankful for all of our volunteers,” she says. “It really does take a village to save these precious lives.”

If you are interested in getting involved either as a volunteer or a foster family, please go to their website to learn more. She is always looking for kind, generous people to help.

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