It’s time for another installment of our Innovation Bank, a series of short, pre-recorded webinars featuring replicable programs and processes. Today, we highlight Kelly Duer, a Foster Care Specialist for Maddie’s Fund, who discusses the efficacy and lifesaving nature of “Dog Day Foster and Field Trip Programs.”
What Are Day Foster and Field Trip Programs?
Volunteers from the community bond with long-stay dogs from shelters, taking them on fun outings like hikes and ice cream excursions while monitoring their behavior. The field trip and foster program at Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) is a fantastic model for other shelters interested in starting one. Immensely successful, LMAS tripled its total number of fosters within a year.
1. They offer stress relief for the dogs
A study of the field trip foster program at LMAS showed that dogs’ positive behaviors increased and negative behaviors significantly decreased while on their outings. In a relaxed, out-of-shelter environment, the real personalities of the dogs shined.
2. They build community
High volunteer turnout is common––members of communities are eager to get training as day fosters and offer their time with enthusiasm.
3. They build up your base of long-term fosters
Field trip fostering lets people dip a toe into providing care for shelter animals, which can inspire them to foster again and with more frequency.
4. They are an engine for social media content
Cute afternoon field trip photos with adoptable dogs? What’s not to love! These programs produce awesome social media content, helping bring attention to the dogs who need adopting. You can also use photos and videos as a way to promote your program and recruit more volunteers.
5. They increase adoptions
At LMAS, in a single year 77 dogs were adopted as a direct result of the program. Wearing “Adopt Me” bandanas, occasionally dogs met their future adopters during these outings. Kelly explains that those who took them on field trips, met them on outings, or saw social media postings often became adopters.
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