Paws Between Homes pushes to find more foster homes for pets heading into 2022Cole Thaler, with his dog Midnight, launched Paws Between Homes in late 2019 with the goal of providing temporary pet foster care for people facing housing crises and reuniting them with their pet. Photo submitted by Cole Thaler.
Atlanta, GA — Paws Between Homes has launched a holiday campaign in an effort to get as many pets as possible into foster homes by January. The local nonprofit animal rescue launched in late 2019 to help individuals facing housing challenges find temporary foster homes and care for their pets.
“We’re different from a lot of other animal rescues in that we are not looking for new homes for the pets that are in our care,” Paws Between Homes Founder Cole Thaler said. “Rather, all of the pets that we care for are owned by people already, but they are people who are going through some kind of crisis, typically a housing crisis.”
Paws Between Homes’ clients are typically facing a housing crisis such as eviction, getting kicked out or suffering a house fire. They can’t take care of their pets temporarily, but they intend to get back on their feet in new housing, Thaler said. Pets are typically in the care of Paws Between Homes for about 90 days.
“What we know is that a lot of times when people, especially low-income people, get evicted, what follows is this period of extreme instability,” Thaler said. “It takes a while to restabilize. Unfortunately, without an organization like ours what happens is during that period of chaos, the family is forced to surrender their pet to the local shelter, which is a permanent thing.”
Generally, people can get back on their feet and ready to reunite with their pet.
“What Paws Between Homes does is we provide that safety net and that temporary fostering, take care of the pet, make sure the pet has everything it needs, and then when the owner is ready, we reunite them,” Thaler said.
Going into the new year, Paws Between Homes hopes to find foster homes for as many pets as they can and gain more volunteers.
“We have a waiting list. We get so many calls now. It has really spiked since the [eviction] moratorium was overturned back in late August,” Thaler said. “At this point, we have about 21 pets in foster homes, but we have a waiting list that is longer than that. We have about 25 pets waiting to be placed into foster homes. We just don’t have enough fosters.”
The organization’s two greatest needs are getting more fosters signed up and also doing some additional fundraising. Paws Between Homes pays for veterinary care, food and supplies, such as bowls, leashes, litter boxes and toys.
“We’re all volunteer based so all of the funds that are raised go directly to the pets,” Thaler said.
Individuals call the organization needing help with their pet, and Paws Between Homes does an intake over the phone. The organization then calls the fosters in their system and tries to find a foster that is the right fit for the pet.
“We need to deepen our pool of fosters so that we can find the best match as quickly as possible for the pets that come in,” Thaler said.
Thaler works as an attorney at the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. He helps low-income tenants with their legal problems, such as eviction.
“In talking to community members about that work, one thing that I see, and I feel it myself, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scope of the problem. So many people know that Atlanta and Georgia have an eviction crisis and don’t have enough affordable housing,” Thaler said. “I think it’s easy to feel paralyzed by all of the things that are going wrong. What I try to do is to look for one small action that you can take to lift somebody else’s burden. Doing something like fostering a pet is an example of that one small thing you can do.”
Thaler also acknowledged how social media has been important to the work of the organization. Almost all of the funds Paws Between Homes has raised has been due to Facebook followers and other donors from social media.
Paws Between Homes also various opportunities for volunteers and takes donations of pet supplies, such as bowls, blankets, toys, leashes, collars, scratching posts, and more. Donations can be new or gently used.
Those interested in getting involved with Paws Between Homes should visit the organization’s website.