By Bronwyn Oney-Covert
La Plata County Humane Society
With spring comes new life. La Plata County Humane Society sees a definite influx in the litters of kittens and puppies during this season.
We are lucky to live in a small mountain town surrounded by caring folks who bring in abandoned litters to our shelter, but are they really abandoned? Many times, nursing cats and dogs are often nearby, and the feral queens regularly hunt for food. Kittens and puppies that are able to stay with their mothers for at least four to six weeks have a greater survival rate when placed in our foster care program. A mother’s milk is important in developing a healthy immune system, and to top it off, they do all the work! Mothers also teach babies how to socialize and groom. Kittens and puppies are usually able to wean off the mother by then, but we do believe six to eight weeks is ideal. So, the next time you come across a litter of kittens, please take the time to look to see if their mother is nearby.
Most shelters and rescues would prefer the mother be surrendered with them. This will help to ensure the mother can be spayed and will help reduce overpopulation. Did you know that a nursing dog or cat can get pregnant within a couple of weeks of delivery? An important part of LPCHS’s mission is to help reduce pet overpopulation by spaying and neutering. We spay and neuter each animal that comes through our doors and offer low-cost spay and neuter clinics to the public.
Are you interested in fostering? When a litter is surrendered into our care, usually they are too young to be spayed or neutered and we typically send them out to a foster home for growth and socialization. Fostering is a hugely rewarding experience and can be fun for the whole family.
How do you get started? First, contact LPCHS and complete the foster care application. Once your application has been reviewed, we’ll contact you when needed. No experience is required and there’s no out-of-pocket expense for you. We provide all the necessary supplies, food, medication and veterinary assistance.
Not sure what kind of time you have? LPCHS has many different foster opportunities to fit your busy schedule. You can choose to foster a mother with puppies or kittens, care for bottle babies, house puppies and kittens that are too young to get spayed or neutered, help rehab medical recovery cases and/or provide an adult dog or cat a nurturing environment. Often, an adult dog or cat just needs a little extra TLC to de-stress from the shelter environment. Sometimes, we have an emergency situation and may need a foster family to jump in without much notice.
Foster families are extremely important and vital part of our organization. They play an active role in helping animals become their best selves before adoption, and we are here to support you every step of the way.
Bronwyn Oney-Covert is the foster coordinator for La Plata County Humane Society.