Georgia couple takes extreme approach to fostering animals - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Georgia couple takes extreme approach to fostering animals

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A Georgia couple couldn't bear the thought of knowing a dog would be put to sleep due to lack of space at a shelter, so they offered to be its foster parents.

Two years and 103 dogs later, the Garcias continue to open their home to unwanted pets.

They're supposed to be retired, but they have more work to do now than when they had full-time jobs. They spend most of their days feeding, exercising, training, and cleaning up after dogs, that have all but taken over their home.  

Volunteers at the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society say the Garcias' devotion to dogs is one of a kind.

"They're exceptional.   We don't have that many who can do that, but there are some folks who will take one or two dogs here and there for a small period of time," said Kenna Galloway.

They train and rehabilitate dogs who may ordinarily have trouble getting adopted. Like Sasha, who went months without finding a home because prospective owners didn't want to deal with her broken leg.

"There's a lot of dogs that end up dying, not because they were bad dogs, but because the shelters are full," said Chris Garcia.

"Who else is going to step up and help them? We've got the time, we've got the space, we have the resources and we have thee desire," said Patrick Garcia.

With this many dogs in the house, sometimes things can get a little crazy.  

"You just have to watch the signals where it's getting to that point where they might start fighting," said Garcia.

Moms with puppies always have to stay separated.

While it's tempting to take on more, they say the key is knowing their maximum capacity and not going above it, which is where they're at now.

"If we over-extend ourselves, we get burned out, and we can't help.   We have to maintain a number so we can continue to help."

Even with the Garcias bringing on as many as 23 dogs at once, the shelters always need more volunteers to temporarily take dogs off their hands.

You may not be ready to do it on the level of the Garcias, but if you're thinking about fostering a dog for a few weeks, shelter volunteers say you don't need a lot of space- just the ability to occasionally take it for walks.  

But there's always the risk that you won't want to give the dog up when it finally gets adopted. Which is something the Garcias struggle through constantly.

Animal shelters also need donations of towels, sheets, food, and people who can transport animals to and from veterinary clinics for vaccinations and surgery.

Some of the dogs in the care of the Garcias are already spoken for, but anyone interested in adopting can call the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society at 770-253-4694.

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