Full shelters looking for funds, fosters

The San Diego Humane Society is starting its Walk For Animal campaigns. Walk For Animals – North County’s registration is now open (https://bit.ly/488CdUu) and will be held March 16 at Kit Carson Park in Escondido. This will be quickly followed by Walk For Animals – San Diego on May 4 at NTC Park at Liberty Station. Both walks benefit all five locations, and its Project Wildlife Services in San Diego and Ramona, and all the work the SDHS does throughout the county.

SDHS Director of Public Relations Nina Thompson said that there is immediate need for the organization, with all its shel¬ters at capacity.

“The animals that are being cared for by us at the shelters right now are benefiting, but also our life saving programs,” she said. “Right now, during the storm, our emergency response team is out at the evacuation shelter that is being set up at Balboa Park,” she said. “It funds programs like that so that we can be there for people and animals when they need us. Both walks, both in North County and San Diego raise money for the SDHS as a whole. We take in about 40,000 animals every year, and 2023 and the beginning of 2024 has been like no other because we have been at capacity with dogs the entire time.”

Thompson said now it is critical that the organization raises money and has people to support the SDHS because it is in “a really tough spot with all the animals.”

“For me personally, when I see people show up for our events, they show up for animals that need us in San Diego County and beyond,” she said. “The support is extremely heartwarming. It is incredible to know that San Diegans love the animals so much and that they care for their wellbeing. An event like this, the Walk For Animals in North County and San Diego, last year, the San Diego walk (https://bit.ly/4bvMjC6) had more than 4,000 walkers, plus their dogs. And they helped us raise nearly $300,000. Unfortunately, last year, our North County walk was cancelled due to rain. Both of these walks are critical so that we can get the money we need to care for the animals who come through our doors.”

Thompson said people do not have to show up for the walks. She said for those that are unable to attend they can fundraise virtually or make direct donations online.

Thompson said there are other ways people can help the animals.

“Fostering is huge for us right now,” she said. “The Spring season gets especially busy because the babies are coming. So, the kittens will be added to the need that is already there. We need people to foster dogs that we have in our care. We especially have large dogs that are in desperate need of temporary homes. We could not do this work if it were not for the com¬munity helping us by fostering. With the rain event now, we have a great need for safety net fostering. That is for people who just need to place their pets in a temporary foster situation while they get back on their feet. For example, they may have lost their home in the flooding and have nowhere to live, so they need to place their pet in that temporary foster situation, and as soon as they are back on their feet, they are going to take their pet back. So, it is not like this pet is available for adoption. If you are interested in the temporary safety net fostering, there is a huge need right now.”

Thompson said the need is great, and its staff is also stretched over capacity.

Thompson said there are many benefits to fostering. People may not have the ability to make the commitment to adopt or own a pet.

“But if you can make a tempo¬rary commitment to an animal and give that pet a break and some relief from that shelter, that is a great way to help animals. We provide all the resources. The food, medical, training if needed. Everything that is needed to take care of the pet, we provide. You just provide the space, the love, and the home,” she said.

Thompson said another benefit of fostering is that if you are not sure about adopting, fostering animals is the perfect way to find out which animal fits your needs, schedule, and family.

To learn more about fostering, www.sdhumane.org/support-us/volunteer/foster/

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