SHELTER HELPERS: Community rallies to foster cats and dogs at Stafford

By 
Ryan Peerboom — Enterprise Staff Writer
Friday, March 27, 2020
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Pictured is a box of kittens that were delivered to Stafford Animal Shelter Friday morning. (Enterprise photo by Nate Howard)

Stafford Animal Shelter is calling on local residents to foster or adopt animals while they are spending more time at home due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. 

“Before we go shelter in place, let’s clear the shelter,” Stafford Executive Director Steve Leach said.

The community has responded and stepped in to help out. The number of animals that have been fostered or adopted has increased amidst the virus outbreak, Leach said. 

“It’s risen dramatically,” he said. “Not only foster numbers, but foster to adopt.”

Given the circumstances, Leach said now is a perfect time to get to know an animal.

“It’s a good time to foster because you have time to be with that animal and enjoy it,” he said.

Erika Adams volunteers with the shelter and has fostered numerous animals over the years. Adams said fostering an animal can be a rewarding experience.

“There aren’t words to describe how fulfilling it is,” she said. “It’s really magical.”

Stafford works to make it easy for those who choose to foster or adopt animals, Adams said. 

“Stafford Animal Shelter is such an incredible organization, they’ve been so supportive to foster volunteers,” she said.

Adoptions are being conducted in the parking lot of the animal shelter in order to limit exposure. Those interested in adopting can view the animals online and meet the animal in the parking lot before bringing them home.

Matthew Rogers made the decision to adopt a dog on Friday. Rogers said the precautions in place due to the virus played a role in his decision to adopt so that he could do his part to help the community. 

“It played a role in the fact that the circumstance arose,” he said. “Overall, with helping out with the foster program as much as we can, that’s just doing our little part for the community.”

Rogers encouraged other community members to help out and foster or adopt an animal. 

“Just remembering that we’re all in this together and all of these different organizations need as much help as they can get,” he said.

All animal inquiries must be done over the phone as the shelter is not accepting in-person inquiries at this time. 

The shelter will still be open to accept and care for homeless, unwanted and stray animals, Leach said.

“We’re the only entity in town that can do that service,” he said.

 Those in need of food for their animal can still pick some up through Stafford’s free food bank if they call in advance. 

“We still have food available for people who need it, so they can call and request that,” Leach said.

Profiles of available pets can be found online at staffordanimalshelter.org in addition to foster and adoption applications. The shelter currently has seven cats and seven dogs available to adopt or foster, with more in foster care.

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