Orlando pet rescue relies on foster parents during pandemic


ORLANDO, Florida – Tracking adoptions is always a challenge at Greater Orlando Pet Alliance.

But the combination of summer “kitten season” and the pandemic has created a unique problem.

Foster Care Coordinator Susan Russell said almost every day someone drops off a new litter.

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“We’ve had probably 800 kittens in the past two months that have come here,” explained Russell.

When the pandemic began, the rescue closed its doors to volunteers and potential adopters. The shelter then began to rely on a group of volunteers who had always helped at home.

The foster volunteers were able to accommodate most of the cats and kittens that did not have a home.

Russell said volunteers have played an important role in the adoption process since then.

Pet Alliance set up virtual adoptions where people could view and visit the animals online.

“We started it (virtual adoptions) because of the pandemic and we are continuing it because it works so well,” Russell said.

Alyssa DeHart is one of those volunteers. The 17-year-old high school student started fostering last spring when she found herself with more time at home.

“When the pandemic started and it was my summer, it was the perfect opportunity to get involved,” DeHart said. “I’ve been doing it ever since. “

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DeHart dedicated a room in his home to the hospitality program. Cat toys are strewn across the space and the three residents, Maple, Laurel, and Willow, take turns with their favorites.

The kittens are 9 months old and ready to go home with their new owners.

The three kittens are just the latest felines to be placed in DeHart’s care. DeHart was able to find homes for 22 more kittens.

DeHart takes advantage of virtual tours and a Instagram account which gives potential adopters a chance to get to know the animals.

“They all have unique personalities,” she says as Maple pulls on her jeans.

Russell says placing young wild kittens in foster homes allows them to grow, be healthy, and become socialized. “When Alyssa picks them up, they’re socialized. When they are ready for adoption, they are happy, playful and friendly.

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DeHart also coordinated a number of food drives, collecting food and supplies for the association. She hopes to save herself one day.

If you would like more information on how you can become a Hospitality Volunteer, please visit the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando website.

Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.


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