Paula Jennings was volunteering at an animal shelter in Everett, Washington, when she heard a litter of kittens would be euthanized. To save them, Jennings, 52, became a "foster parent," taking a short class on kitten care.
Since the recession, more pets than ever have needed temporary or permanent homes. "Shelters in areas hardest hit by the economic downturn are reporting an increase in the number of calls they receive for animals abandoned or left behind in foreclosed homes," says Betsy McFarland of the Humane Society. "Tragically, about half of the 6 million to 8 million animals that go into shelters every year nd up euthanized."
Older foster owners are ideal, since some shelters won't place pets in homes with small children. "Saying good-bye is the hard part," Jennings says now, after caring for 27 animals. "But it's worth the tears because they all got good homes."
To learn more, or to offer help, call your local shelter.