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Willamette Humane Society seeks volunteers to take in dogs and cats of all sizes and ages.

Willamette Humane Society is searching for foster volunteers for adult dogs, puppies, adult cats and kittens. People who are interested can sign up online, and WHS will offer training before the first pet is placed in the home.COURTESY PHOTO: WILLAMETTE HUMANE SOCIETY - Some foster pets, like Frisco, need extra attention, but most do not. WHS staff work to make the fostering process as seamless as possible.

"Foster volunteers serve as our second shelter," said WHS Executive Director BJ Andersen. "They take in animals that are too young, too fragile or too overwhelmed to stay in the main shelter. With a foster, these dogs and cats can rest, heal and grow in a loving home environment until they're ready to move on to the next phase of their lives."

Foster volunteers are especially critical during so-called "kitten season," which typically begins in the spring. But adult dogs and cats need help and assistance all year.

"Many people think they need to be experts in animal care in order to be a successful foster volunteer," said Jaime Oakeson, WHS volunteer engagement coordinator. "That's just not true. Some dogs and cats need little more than a bit of patience to thrive. If you're not comfortable providing intensive, around-the-clock medical care for a tiny kitten, we can still use your help.

"We appreciate those dedicated medical fosters too, of course. But anyone's help is both needed and wanted."

Foster volunteers have access to WHS medical care and an experienced mentor team. These experts can answer questions and step in when needed. WHS also provides all food and supplies, so there are no out-of-pocket expenses for foster volunteers.

"We do our best to make things easy for people to join," Oakeson said.

"We are so thankful for our fosters," Andersen said. "Each volunteer who takes home a pet in need leaves space for another animal that needs help. It's a critical part of the work we do in this community, and we just couldn't do it without fosters."

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