Austin Animal Center looks for temporary foster families for displaced dogs

Bharath Lavendra

Austin Animal Center is seeking people to temporarily foster dogs after the Sunday night rainstorm displaced 55 dogs from the Town Lake Animal Center.

Kasey Spain, spokesperson for Austin Animal Center, said the Town Lake location has flooded in the past, and the animal center had a plan for this weekend’s storms.

“Last time [it flooded], six inches of water had collected in less than 40 minutes, and while no animals got hurt, it was stressful for us to move about 60 animals in the rain,” Spain said. “This time, we moved the dogs on Sunday morning, in preparation for the storm, to a multipurpose room next to our main location.”

Spain said the center found temporary housing with foster families for most of the 55 dogs. However, they still need people to foster pets because of the expected influx of animals following the storm.

“The Austin Animal Center takes in the most lost animals 24 to 48 hours after a big weather event such as flooding,” Spain said. “Only about 34 percent of these pets are reclaimed. The rest, we are responsible for finding homes for.”

Taral Patel, government and biology senior, fostered a three-year-old German Shepherd in 2014 and said he would recommend fostering to any student who has time to care for a pet. 

“When we adopted Wolfie, she had experienced heavy abuse, she had scars and she was sick with heartworms,” Patel said. “Over the five months we had her, she recovered well and became a part of our family. It was hard to see her go to her forever family, but now she’s at a large ranch on the outskirts of Austin with way more room than she had in a West Campus apartment.”

Spain also said even if students cannot foster or adopt a pet, they can volunteer at the center by walking the dogs, playing with the cats and performing social media tasks, such as taking photos.

Biochemistry sophomore Maanasa Chittari recently organized an event for her honors program, Health Science Scholars, to spend time at the Austin Animal Center.

“We were given a brief training, and then walked and played with each dog for about 20 minutes,” Chittari said. “I wanted to set up this volunteer opportunity since I really enjoy spending time with dogs, and I know a lot of people who do as well. Being near the dogs is a great stress reliever.”

The Austin Animal Center has reduced its adoption fee to $20 through April 29. All dogs at the center have been spayed or neutered, have been microchipped, have an ID tag and are up to date on their vaccinations.