Keep Calm and Foster a Dog!

Friends Of The Animal Shelter. (FOTAS)

As Seen in the Ashland Sneak Preview

By Adam and Sophia S.W. Bogle

Adam and I asked Barbara Talbert, the shelter manager to give us a tour of the Jackson County Animal Shelter. FOTAS is the non-profit that organizes the volunteers and helps raise money for the shelter. We got to see the well organised systems they have in place to care for all the animals and were amazed at how many volunteers it takes! After the tour we asked Barbara to tell us a story of one successful dog adoption and instead she told us about five!

Barbara: “Most dogs in our shelter are adopted within a couple of weeks, but those that aren’t chosen quickly can wait for a month or longer to find a home. So when the national adoption event at Petsmart came up in February we chose several of these dogs to participate. Here are their stories:

Steve was a nine year old German shepherd mix who was a calm, sweet dog when he entered the shelter. However, after a month, Steve was beginning to get stressed and grumpy. He would bark at people approaching his kennel and was having trouble attracting potential adopters. At Petsmart, he was much happier and was one of the first dogs adopted.

Mia was a five year old Lab mix. She was surrendered to the shelter, because the kids in her home would leave the door open and she would go explore the neighborhood on her own. Mia was adopted by a nice couple who have no children, and a fenced yard.

Sassy was a Nine year old Lab mix who was surrendered to the shelter when her owner died.  Sassy was very sweet , but her age was keeping her from getting adopted quickly, but she too found her forever home that weekend.

Norman was a two year old Lab mix who also wasn’t showing well in the kennels after more than a month. He didn’t like being fussed with by people he didn’t know. The Petsmart event allowed him to be more relaxed and he found a home with a family with two older kids.

Chet was a two year old Lab mix. Although cute, Chet was another dog that was going downhill in the kennels and would bark at people walking by. He was adopted by a nice couple with no kids or pets.”

These stories made me think back to the tour we took. What struck me in particular, was that while the cats had nice small rooms and even an outdoor porch to hang out in while they wait to be adopted, the dogs are in a very different situation. Their kennels are right next to each other in a big noisy room with no calm place to retreat to. Getting a new kennel situation is a big dream for the shelter! They would love to give the dogs a more calm environment to help them be at their best to meet their new families. So what can we do until the funds are raised to create a better situation with the kennels?  The answer is fostering.

Cynde Gragert is one of many FOTAS volunteers who fosters dogs occasionally. She takes them into her home where she works as a massage therapist ( and has a pit-mix dog of her own.

Cynde: “I have worked as a volunteer with FOTAS for about five years. I joined a group that works with the dogs who are especially stressed by the shelter environment. These are the dogs who need an extra bit of help and fostering can be the very thing that saves their lives.

Some dogs might find it hard to connect to a volunteer at the shelter but within a short time in a loving stress free home environment they begin to open up and their sweet personalities can shine. So many difficult behavioral patterns (like becoming mouthy when excited, jumping up, or pulling on a leash) can disappear when given time to decompress outside the kennels.

The perfect candidate for fostering is someone with an open heart, a space that is safe and relaxed and who has enough time to give the attention they deserve and need. It is both a gift to the dogs and has been a very fulfilling and joyful experience personally.”

What else needs to be said? For more information contact FOTAS. You can donate right on the website: Or another deal that just shouldn’t be passed up is if you go online, you can buy a $20 gift certificate to Granite Tap House or Louie’s and $10 of that goes to FOTAS. Get a good meal, help a dog or kitty get a home.  They can also be contacted at 541-774-6651 if you are interested in volunteering, 541-774-6654 for adoption. Or at