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The Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University is partnering with Pima Animal Care Center to examine the effects of foster care on the welfare and behavior of dogs in shelters. Pima Animal Care Center is one of just two animal shelters across the country participating in this study.
“Fostering is an essential component of the way we care for companion animals at PACC,” said Monica Dangler, Director of Animal Services. “To have a research team evaluate the impact of our foster program will be invaluable.”
With funding from Maddie’s Fund, the study will measure the cortisol and activity levels of dogs at PACC, prior to and following a weeklong stay in a foster home. The study will also collect behavioral information gathered by foster caregivers as well as those from adopters once the dogs are in their new homes. The Canine Science Collaboratory will arrive in Tucson at the end of July to prepare for the research project with the study running through late August.
“PACC is such a progressive animal shelter with one of the most robust fostering programs of any animal welfare agency in the country,” said Dr. Lisa Gunter, Maddie’s Fund Research Fellow at Arizona State University in the Canine Science Collaboratory. “We’re excited to work together with them on this project and learn more about how fostering benefits the lives of dogs awaiting adoption in animal shelters.”
The study will involve approximately 50 dogs. Dogs will be enrolled shortly after arriving at the shelter. After spending just a few days in the care of PACC, they’ll leave for a weeklong fostering stay before returning to the shelter. Throughout their time in the shelter, the dogs will receive daily walks from the research team.
“The best part is that the research team learns about the stress levels of the dogs through free-caught urine so the pet isn’t harmed in any way,” Dangler said.
PACC needs fosters who would be willing to help out with the study and share their home with a shelter dog. The shelter is looking for people who can commit to fostering a medium or large dog for the full seven-day period, either from Aug. 3-10 or Aug 8-15. The ideal foster home is free of other pets or can keep the dog separate from other pets. Behavior support, crates, and supplies will be provided.
People who are interested can sign up for the Foster Study Orientation here: www.tinyurl.com/fosterstudyorientation
PACC is still feeling the impacts of a busy summer. There are currently 576 pets in the shelter with another 756 in foster care. The shelter is still taking in around 75-100 pets every single day. People who want to help can adopt, foster, or make a donation to Friends of PACC, PACC’s official nonprofit partner. The shelter is open Monday to Friday, noon to 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
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