El Paso Animal Services kicked off its 8th annual Clear the Shelters event Saturday July 29. Its goal is find as many homes as possible for all their adoptable pets.

This year, with over 700 pets in their care, Animal Services understands it is hard to find permanent homes for every pet but they continue to offer fostering as a reliable option.

Fostering is when you open your home to pet and take care of it as if it was your own. The animal then remains in your care until the shelter is able to find a long-term, stable home.

Throughout Saturday’s event, there were dozens of families who ended up with their “fur-ever” friend but there were still hundreds of pets left behind. This is why fostering can not only be beneficial to the animal, but to the person who opens up their home, like current foster “pet parent” Tyler Hakes.

“I think fostering is really important because there are so many dogs in here who don’t have a lot of experience living in a home and just so getting them out of the shelter, letting them become a house dog, a pet you know, and kind of figuring out how they work and all their quirks and stuff so it’s a lot easier when they’re not in a shelter,” Hakes said.

The responsibility can also help the younger generations in a household. Valerie Hellwig-Swyer has been fostering for four years and has welcomed over 40 dogs into her home. Her daughters have helped her along the way which she says has allowed them to step into more leadership roles.

“It teaches them a lot of responsibility. They don’t ask me for puppies anymore because they realize that puppies are a lot of work,” Hellwig-Swyer said. “They also help educate the kids in their class and their school on how to be with other dogs and when they see dogs around the campus and stuff like that.”

Whether you enter the shelter at El Paso Animal Services and decided to either foster or adopt, there is a commitment involved, if you choose to make an animal part of your family. Derrick Garduno made a visit to the shelter Saturday and they ended up walking away with a new member of the family.

Now he looks forward to someday returning to expand his household.

“My kids are looking forward to that as well we just want to see how the transition goes. This is our first time doing this, as well, to see how that process goes and then yeah hopefully well come back for a second one,” Garduno said.

For those who cannot foster or adopt a pet at this time, donating pet food and supplies is also another way to help El Paso’s pets.

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