The Vanderburgh Humane Society said Friday that it has received the "Rachael Ray Save Them All" grant from the national animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society after applying for the grant in Oct. 2020.
“We have had a foster program in place for many years, but it was always managed by assorted staff members with a multitude of other duties,” says Amanda Coburn, VHS Development Coordinator.
“Taking a look at our annual population data, more than 35% of our total intake – including all cats, all dogs, every species & age group we take in – is typically kittens under 6 months of age. 27% are neonatal kittens under 2 months of age!" Coburn continued. "So, more than a third of our animal intake is this one specific, vulnerable population… and yet we have never been able to have a full-time staff position dedicated solely to foster care placement for them. Thanks to Best Friends, that is changing!”
According to VHS, the funding has allowed the organization to promote a current longtime employee, Vanessa Brown, into the new full-time Foster Coordinator role.
Brown will handle all foster family recruitment, onboarding, and training, and oversee the medical and socialization needs for the shelter’s population of animals in foster care.
As a grant recipient, the VHS had to identify a measurable goal for the foster care program expansion.
VHS's new goal is to pull 250 additional cats & kittens from Evansville Animal Care & Control in 2021, utilizing primarily foster care, and officials with the shelter say they are already well on their way to reaching that goal.
VHS also says it's making big plans to recruit foster families for “Kitten Season 2021” starting this spring. Anyone who may be interested in fostering any kind of animal, but litters of kittens in particular, can find information at http://www.vhslifesaver.org/foster.
According to VHS, the foster care program was started in order to give young, injured, abused, undersocialized, and sick animals a chance to grow and heal in a home environment that can’t be duplicated in a shelter, with hopes of finding the greatest number of animals possible a permanent, loving home.