Foster-based OFOSA breaking records
During a recent three-day weekend, a record breaking 51 dogs and 24 cats found forever homes through Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals (OFOSA). The numbers show how far this foster-based rescue has come in a decade.
Ten years ago, a small group of shelter workers tried to save the life of a Cocker Spaniel that was ultimately euthanized. Following that sad ending, the group vowed to do more to care for and find homes for animals in need.
Soon the group was conducting modest fundraisers and outreaches, and partnering with local vets. Within a year, OFOSA’s growing foster network was strong, and animal transports had begun. Today OFOSA regularly transports animals from Southern California to Canada and offers assistance to animals affected by large-scale disasters. In fact, OFOSA rescued 120 animals affected by Hurricane Katrina. Recently the group acquired a 29-foot motor home, gutted it (except kitchen and bathroom), and outfitted it with kennels. Teams can now transport more animals, more safely.
OFOSA works with a coalition of smaller shelters and rescues, including Safe Haven in Salem, Luv-A-Bull in Eugene, and Columbia County Humane. The groups collaborate in re-homing pets with slim chances in the shelter system. Last year, 1,282 animals (about 500 cats and 782 dogs) found new homes, and over 2,000 more were rescued through transport.
OFOSA works thanks to more than a hundred volunteers from a variety of backgrounds. Executive Director Linda Liebenstein says she’s proud of the work they do. “Everyone supports each other and works together for what’s best for the animals,” she says.
While OFOSA does not have a shelter, its surgery clinic is staffed with three veterinarians and one vet tech. The team provides spays/neuters, microchipping, vaccinations, and flea and worm treatments.
With no physical shelter, fostering is the heart of OFOSA. About 100 foster families help restore animals to good health, provide training and socialization, and temporary homes until forever families are found.
Fostered pets are in a home/family environment, which appeals to many potential adopters who appreciate being able to see the animals’ true colors. Foster “parents” are also able to provide valuable insights into the animals’ personalities and behaviors.
The mission of OFOSA’s foster care network is providing individualized care and the time needed to locate forever homes. For this reason, when someone asks how they can help, Liebenstein says, “We always need fosters willing to open their hearts and their homes.”
OFOSA holds adoption outreaches every Saturdays except holidays at PetSmart locations in Cedar Hills, Tanasbourne, Tigard and Wilsonville. All adoptables can be seen at OFOSA.org.
4240 SW 185th, Beaverton, OR 97007
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