Caring for an animal is challenging in the best of circumstances. But mending an injured, stray dog or cat is a work of utter love and endurance.
The ROAR (Rescue Operation for Animals of the Reservation) Program supports Program Partners assisting struggling animals and the people who care for them. One of ROAR's Program Partners leads a cadre of foster homes to take in and care for abandoned animals until they can be adopted.
Individuals that live in, on and near the borders of the Navajo Reservation volunteer their time, home, money and love to care for these stray animals. Some might think that fostering animals may only involve feeding and sheltering the animal until it can be adopted, but there is so much more to helping these abandoned animals re-enter society as an adoptable pet for a family and household.
Getting the dog healthy, house trained and ready for adoption is a commitment, but the first step typically involves making sure that the animal is homeless and not just lost from their home. Volunteers post flyers of the animal in local post offices and businesses to make sure there isn't someone looking for them.
Meanwhile, the foster family is tending to whatever medical conditions the animals arrive with, such as worms, fleas and other more serious ailments (broken bones, ear and eye infections, dog bites, etc.). Caring for these animals takes a lot of time, care and of course — money. Ruth, a foster family in Arizona, said medical expenses are by far the biggest expense associated with fostering an animal. This can be further collaborated by the results of a national survey conducted in 2007-08 which showed on average that dog owners spend $219 on veterinary visits (vaccine and well visits) annually.
One of the requirements of being a foster family is to take the animal for vaccinations and to spay/neuter him or her at one of the several clinics offered by the Program Partner. These clinics are critical to a dog's and cat's health. One statistic indicates that in 6 years, 1 female dog and her offspring can be the source of 67,000 puppies!
ROAR provides supplies for each animal brought into the special clinics by the foster family. Animals typically receive food, treats, collars/leashes, bowls and blankets to help them become a good pet. This saves their temporary owner (the foster family) from having to purchase these items out of pocket and the supplies are well received. Snow, another foster family living near Ruth, was especially grateful for the quality of the food provided by ROAR. It helps get the animals healthy which is one big step closer to a permanent adoption.
It's apparent that the animals have a significant impact on their foster families. When asked why they do it, Snow shared: "Some people take care of people, but there are people that take care of animals." Ruth is confident that she has been placed on this earth to do this work and it is the reason they moved west... so she would have more land and space to complete her mission. Snow summarized the work with a quote from Gandhi: "A good man is a friend to all living things." We thank Ruth, Snow and all the foster families for being a friend to all living things!
The picture on the left represents a before photo of a stray found in Crownpoint, NM. The one on the right is the photo of Molly, the same stray, relaxing on Tamara's couch (ROAR Program Partner and foster family).
Caring support from individuals like you makes helping these animals a little easier.