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LAWRENCE COUNTY Program fosters a love for animals



Published: Sun, July 22, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Volunteers are needed to provide foster homes for homeless dogs and cats.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Karen Kaminski says she is setting a good example for her two young sons by providing a foster home for a homeless dog.

"We are teaching our children a good lesson. We feel very blessed to have our situation and want to teach our sons to do good things," the Slippery Rock Township woman said.

On June 21, Kaminski and her husband, Scott, took in a Labrador-mix puppy as part of a program recently started by Promises for Pets, a nonprofit Lawrence County affiliate of Angels for Animals in Greenford in Mahoning County.

The dog was found by a motorist wandering along state Route 18 early one morning and came to Promises for Pets through a local veterinary hospital, Kaminski said.

The organization: Promises for Pets formed last year to help contain the county's homeless pet population. The group offers a low-cost spay and neuter program for low-income people and is working on establishing a no-kill animal shelter that will provide jobs for people with developmental disabilities.

Jo Wilson, president of Promises for Pets, said foster homes for dogs and cats was a logical step for the group while they make plans for the animal shelter.

"So many people do this already in other counties. It was so nice to do this in Lawrence County. We don't need a physical site to address the issue of homeless animals," she said.

The organization can accept only stray cats and dogs, not those being given up by owners, because of the limited number of foster homes, she said.

Four families have agreed to foster dogs or cats, and the group hopes to add more foster homes soon. All animals in Promises for Pets foster care are available for adoption, she said.

How it works: Those adopting or fostering pets must have references from a veterinarian and allow Promises volunteers to check out their homes.

An adoption fee is in place to cover some of the animal's veterinary costs while it is in foster care.

Wilson said Promises for Pets pays for medical costs, including spaying and neutering, while the dog or cat is in foster care. Foster families pay for the animal's daily needs, such as food, she added.

Volunteers are on hand to help foster families with any problems.

"We don't want them to feel like they would be handling this on their own," she said.

The Kaminskis say they were happy to open their home to the puppy -- they call her Summer -- but can keep her only temporarily because they have three other dogs.

Part of the fun is having a puppy around her sons, Adam, 6, and Seth, 3, Karen Kaminski said. Their other dogs are older.

"We love having puppies, but they don't stay that way forever. They eventually grow up. [Fostering] is one way that we might see more puppies," she added.

cioffi@vindy.com




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