HELENA — The Lewis and Clark Humane Society is currently caring for almost 200 cats and dogs. They’re able to do that thanks to some very special families.
“Foster families are extremely important in what we do everyday,” LCHS animal services manager Katie Axline-Pittman said. “We can’t help as many animals without them.”
There are 110 active foster families in the Helena area. While 110 families may sound like a lot, the Humane Society is always looking for more people to volunteer.
“We always need more,” Axline-Pittman said. “Kitten season, in particular, is really hard for us this year, in fact, we just took in a bottle baby today.”
Bottle-fed kittens need foster homes—some of them have to be fed as often as every two to three hours.
There are other reasons animals may need to be in foster care, for example, Bob the cat. Bob’s personality made it hard for him to thrive in a shelter environment.
“He’s a very large cat, very big, but he’s terrified,” Audrey Riley said. “He spent, I want to say, the first two weeks hiding in our bathroom behind the toilet.”
Riley is one of the Humane Society’s foster families, she started fostering in the beginning of the summer and Bob is part of her second set of foster cats.
In addition to Bob, Riley is also fostering a kitten named Reggie.
“The benefit of a foster home is it allows cats and dogs, and other animals, to get out of a stressful environment into a more suitable environment for them,” Axline-Pittman said.
Bob has found that suitable environment with Riley, and his personality has blossomed.
“He will wait for me outside my door, he will roll over and how me his belly,” Riley said. “It’s incredible—his personality has really just shown through.”
Riley described fostering as “really easy.” There is no cost to foster families—they provide love and a comfortable home, the Humane Society provides supplies, food and medical care.
Foster families can decide how long they would like to foster—they can keep an animal short-term, or foster until their placement is adopted.
“I’m really attached, but I do hope that they find really good homes,” Riley said. “I mean, Bob deserves everything—he’s really sweet once you get to know him.”
If a foster family falls in love with their placement, they can keep them.
“We call it foster failing, but it’s really not, it’s just a happy success story,” Axline-Pittman said.
If you’re interested in joining the Lewis and Clark Humane Society’s foster program, click here and fill out the application.