Providing a home for four legged friends

ASHTON — Everyone needs a good home, even four legged friends. Kim and Steve Toole have been providing foster care for dogs for the past several months.

“Some of these dogs have never lived inside of a house,” said Kim. “We teach them what human love is and to trust humans. We also teach them basic commands and work on potty training.”

The dogs that come to stay with the Toole’s are all ages. The oldest one was four years old and they have had some puppies. Most are mixed breed. Some are owner surrender, when someone takes their pet to the shelter because they know that they can no longer care for them, others are animals that have been rescued or recovered from abusive settings or that have been dumped somewhere.

TAILS in DeKalb is the service that the Toole’s work with. TAILS provides all vet services and food for the foster family.

“Emma, our daughter, adopted her dog from TAILS and encouraged us to become “foster parents,” said Steve. “Each animal is unique. One of the friends we had suffered from separation anxiety.”

After a few weeks of living in a foster care home, the dogs return to the shelter where permanent homes are sought for them. Foster parents are able to monitor and assess the dogs personality, social skills and behavior patterns to make suggestions on what type of home would work best for each dog. Some will do fine with children, while others may do better with an older owner. Some will get along fine with other animals, while some may need to be in a one pet home.

“It is easy to get attached to these furry friends when they come to stay,” said Kim. “Sometimes we are tempted to adopt, but know that a full time animal doesn’t work well with our schedules.”

Before the dogs are put in forever homes, TAILS will spay or neuter them, check them for heartworms and parasites.

The most recent addition to the Toole’s home is a Great Pyrenees.

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