AP NEWS

Disabled Can Foster Pets

October 7, 2018

By Sally Cragin

Dear Pet Talk: Do shelters allow disabled people to foster pets? -- Faith

Dear Faith: Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there is greater awareness of the need for citizens with physical or mental challenges to enjoy the equal rights given to all. Many animal rescues and shelters are nonprofit organizations that include mention of non-discrimination in their bylaws.

Ed Poulin, a longtime volunteer at Ahimsa Haven Animal Shelter in Templeton, explains: “As with any potential adopter or foster person, the person just needs to be approved, and that means good references and/or vet history. The person with the disability should be able to explain their ability to take care of an animal. Clearly, you need to be able to feed, water and love the animal. I imagine a litterbox can pose an issue to some people, but I’m sure that the potential adopter/fosterer would know if they’d be able to take care of it or not.”

I know a number of people with a variety of disabilities, ranging from social anxiety to mobility challenges, who receive great comfort from their pet.

Common sense clearly would prevail -- someone with walking challenges might not be the best fit for an energetic young dog who needs physical exercise, for example.

If any readers have experience with individuals with disabilities and fostering or pet ownership, we’d love to hear from them.

Cragin is the director of Be PAWSitive Therapy Pets and Community Education. Visit “Be PAWSitive” on Facebook and ask questions, or email sallycragin@verizon.net .

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