Hearts & Tails of Hope Animal Rescue Fosters Needed
Putting loving hearts together is something Hearts & Tails of Hope has been doing since January of 2019.
The mission of the nonprofit animal rescue based in Midlothian is simple. There are plenty of cats and dogs out there wanting to be loved and wanting someone to give their love to.
Ditto for humans, many who, like the animals, are lonely and wanting a warm companion.
Hearts & Tails is run by a small team of volunteers. They are all dedicated to rescuing animals in need, providing a safe environment for these animals, and matching the rescue animals to good families who will provide a lifetime of loving care for them.
“We pull animals from shelters that are on the urgent lists or animals that are abandoned and place them in loving, safe homes. These foster families supply love and safety to these babies,” explained Hearts & Tails Director Stacia Ellis.
Foster Homes Are Critical To Hearts & Tails Rescue Efforts
Animals rescued are taken to the vet and vaccinated, then treated for any ailments that they may have before they are spayed or neutered.
“We also ensure that they are microchipped. This is a critical way to ensure we can keep track of them in the event that they are surrendered or lost in the future,” Ellis said.
Hearts & Tails does not have a shelter to house rescued animals. All of the animals are placed in foster homes.
“The dogs and cats we have for adoption have all been rescued from various unacceptable living conditions, whether they came from animal control facilities, or were abandoned by their owners and dumped off on streets, bridges, or gravel pits,” Ellis said. “We rescue these unfortunate dogs and cats, and provide them with housing, food, medical care, rehabilitation opportunities, and love and attention, while we work to find a loving, permanent home for them.
“Unfortunately, we are not able to pull or rescue animals unless we have a confirmed foster family waiting. This often puts us in a position where we can’t save them.”
Which is why they need volunteers for foster families. If you love animals, this is a great opportunity to show it, Ellis said. Also, there is no charge to be a foster family and Hearts & Tails will provide everything needed, including food, kennels, etc.
“Our foster families will be asked to assist with transportation to the veterinary appointments and to the adoption events. In addition, we ask for the families to provide a safe space and a ton of love to help our babies acclimate to their new surroundings and get ready for their new homes,” Ellis said.
Application Process For Foster Families
There is an application process to become a foster family. Hearts & Tails will ask for specifics about their experience with animals, their current housing situation, and veterinary information on their current animals.
“We require all of their animals to be up to date on vaccinations and on preventative treatment for heartworms, flea and tick. We perform landlord and veterinary checks on all potential fosters and adopters,” Ellis said.
And while the intent is not for foster homes to be permanent, Ellis said families often fall in love with their fosters and end up adopting them.
“We consider these lovingly as ‘foster failures.’ This is in no way negative, but is a joyful situation for all of us,” she said. “Most of our fosters have their animals for a short time. However, more and more the stays are getting longer.”
Though only around for a few years, Hearts & Tails already has had over 100 different fosters, with currently around 50 active. While that sounds like a lot, they need more, Ellis stressed.
Unprecedented Times For Shelters & Rescues
Ironically, fostering and adopting went up during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ellis said.
“During COVID, more individuals were working from home and they had more time to commit to fostering and adopting. Now, with everything returning to normal, folks are busier than ever and time is scarce,” she said. “We struggle with finding families to open their homes and spend the time needed with our animals.
“In addition, many of the dogs and cats adopted during COVID are now being returned. These are unprecedented times for shelters and rescues. More animals are being abandoned and discarded due to lack of time to spend on them and due to financial constraints. The shelters and rescues are overburdened with many in need and no available foster homes.”
While Hearts & Tails often works with local shelters, they have rescued animals a variety of situations, including from businesses, under highways, in rural locations that are considered “dumping grounds” for animals, hoarding situations and more.
“More often than we like, we are seeing elderly individuals having to relinquish their beloved pets due to hospitalization or entering nursing/rehab facilities,” Ellis said.
Hearts & Tails relies 100% on donations from the community. They also have several fundraising events each year, and folks can donate supplies and funds on their website https://heartsandtailsofhope.org/. Volunteers can also sign up on there.
Ellis said there are many more ways folks can help even if they can’t be a foster family.
“Absolutely! If they wish to help but cannot foster, we encourage them to volunteer at our adoption events or to consider a monetary contribution,” she said. “We also accept food, toys, cat litter, leashes, harness etc.”