A loving home doesn’t have to be a permanent one.
Every summer, Cheryl Strike’s country home becomes a home for litters of puppies without a home. Her favorite part of being a puppy foster mom?
“Puppies piles,” she said. “They often sleep on top of each other in a big old pile. I have tons of pictures.”
Strike is a foster home for SAFE Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization that focuses on foster-based rescue of animals. The goal is to Save Animals From Euthanasia, so SAFE takes in animals from a variety of places: the Humane Society, out-of-state shelters that run out of room, or simply homes that can no longer keep a dog or animal.
“We’re a foster-based dog rescue, which means all the dogs we take in live in our homes with us, we don’t necessarily have a shelter,” said Toni Johnson, a volunteer with SAFE. “We have about a dozen or so foster homes throughout the Faribaout, Owatonna, Northfield area.”
The dogs rescued by SAFE go into foster homes like Strike’s. In the foster homes, the dogs get attention until they’ve been adopted.
“We spend a lot of time socializing with them,” Strike said. “We make sure they’re familiar with all kinds of people, men women children, guys with hats, as well as getting used to other dogs. We take care of them, take care of their needs. We spend lots of time with them and I talk to them on walks a lot.”
The foster homes of SAFE can be specialized, said Johnson. Strike usually spends the summer months fostering only puppies that come in through SAFE.
“Everybody fosters what they can,” Johnson said. “Some people do large dogs, some people do small dogs. Some people do one, some do four.”
Johnson said what SAFE needs most now are people who can act as foster homes and take in the different animals that SAFE rescues.
“Our biggest need is just more foster homes,” she said. “This last weekend, we just exploded with needs. It’s hard to say no, so everybody just squeezes more in.”
Strike got into fostering animals through SAFE because her sister was already doing it. When Strike’s family moved from the city of Northfield to their current home just south of town, she started fostering puppies.
“It’s not a lot of work to have the puppies,” she said. “The biggest part of the job, the most work, is when you’re dealing with the potential adoptive families.”
Strike said the adoptive process can take some time, with potential families coming out to see the puppies and choosing one. Strike and her family also have to make sure the potential family is a good fit for the puppy they’re considering adopting.
“We just make sure they understand what they’re getting into and that puppies are messy,” Strike said. “It’s just really a matter of time and education. We try to educate them a bit about animal rescue and spaying and neutering.”
SAFE Sanctuary pets are available for adoption on Adoption Days, the second and last Saturdays of the month at Faribo West Mall or Paddington’s Seed and Feed. All of the dogs are also listed at the SAFE website, safesanctuary.org, and www.petfinders.com.
To get involved as a foster home, contact SAFE Sanctuary at 507-334-7901, or visit the website at safesanctuary.org and fill out the adoption application with the option “foster” under the breed menu.
Allison Roorda covers education in Rice County. She may be reached at 645-1115. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonRoorda
Allison Roorda covers education in Rice County. She may be reached at 645-1115.
Follow her on Twitter @AllisonRoorda