Reported by Bob Sellers
FRANKLIN, Tenn.There are more dogs than homes for dogs, but a couple of local women are making a difference in middle Tennessee by finding homes for them back east. But since the women don't have any place to keep the dogs until an owner is found, they depend on foster homes -- people who also make a difference.
Video: Critter Cavalry Fosters Dogs Until Homes Found
Candace Simpson-Giles has formed a small group called
, which finds permanent homes -- back east, mostly -- for abandoned dogs in middle Tennessee.
"We take them from the shelters or abandonment into a foster family," said Simpson-Giles. "We get them vetted fully, get them neutered or spayed, we find out what their temperament is like and we put them on the Pet Finder site and hope and pray that families will find, and they do."
Simpson-Giles and her business partner, Vivienne James, find homes for about 100 dogs a month. But until the dogs find a home, they stay in foster homes.
"I walk the moms in the morning and then the afternoon, and I feed them, and the puppies get used to noises and stuff," said 11-year-old Michelle Holtkamp, whose family has helped take care of 16 dogs.
Michelle said it's hard to get attached to the dogs and then watch them go.
"But you also get to hear back from their adopters, and they send pictures, and you can watch them grow."
And there are the foster situations that don't work out -- in a good way, such as with James and her Shih tzu called Paddington, who is from a Murfreesboro shelter.
"He's the other end of the spectrum from the little puppies in there," said James. "He's 10 years old."
"Foster homes are the key. Simpson-Giles and James go to the shelters to get the dogs, and the foster homes provide a step to a new family and a new life.
"We connect ourselves with the e-mails, as Michelle said. They send back the pictures of the puppies growing up. And they thank us for the joy and the love that they now have in their lives that they wouldn't have had," said Simpson-Giles. "And we get to hand them off with love."
If you know someone who is making a difference in middle Tennessee, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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