The entire animal rescue world had cause to celebrate this past 4th of July weekend.
Rather than crank up the backyard barbecue and awe at the rocket’s red glare, several dozen everyday heroes stepped forward to save several dozen dogs from almost certain death.
The people were responding to a Friends of East Valley Animal Shelter Facebook campaign launched last Thursday that implored the public to give a dog a four-day reprieve from shelter life. The exodus of shelter pets to temporary foster homes would make room to accommodate the anticipated onslaught of dogs bolting from the “bombs bursting in air.”
#4days4life was the brainchild of animal care technician Veronica Perry who, like everyone at East Valley, was sickened by the prospect of perfectly adoptable dogs being euthanized for want of space. Instead the public’s heart was melted by Facebook posts of each dog featuring a bio and irresistible portrait.
By Saturday, the campaign was “shared” more than 2,000 times and 65 dogs found temporary foster homes. “Families” answering the call ranged from single people without pets to extended families with pets of their own. No one had to worry about whether or not this was a “permanent arrangement.” But everyone knew that they were doing something good. How much good exceeded everyone’s dreams.
The transformation that took place within the fostered dogs was remarkable, according to shelter officials. Foster families reported that shy, tentative and mournful-looking dogs blossomed into playful, outgoing and loving companions. Before and after pictures provided permanent evidence of the “real” souls living inside these dogs.
Some of these foster experiences have turned into permanent adoptions. Other dogs will find refuge through rescues. Most will not return to East Valley.
For shelter workers, those empty cages are a welcome sight that unfortunately will not last for long. The good news is that other shelters have reportedly signed on to the idea of temporary fostering in times of crisis, or, well, any damn time!
May the glory at East Valley mushroom into a star-spangled display of generosity that lasts the whole year through. May hosts of everyday heroes answer the brilliant call to make space, save lives and – quite possibly – fall in love.
Perhaps one of those heroes is you.