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Arizona State University’s Canine Science Collaboratory is in partnership with Pima Animal Care Center examine the effects of foster care on the welfare and behavior of dogs in shelters. The Pima Animal Care Center is one of two animal shelters across the country participating in this study.
“Foster care is a critical part of how we care for pets at PACC,” said Monica Dangler, Director of Animal Services. “Having a research team assess the impact of our hospitality program will be invaluable.”
With funding from Maddie Fund, the study will measure the dogs’ cortisol and activity levels at PACC, before and after a week’s stay in a foster home. The study will also collect behavioral information gathered by foster families as well as adopters once the dogs are in their new homes. The Canine Science Collaboratory will arrive in Tucson at the end of July to prepare the research project with the study until the end of August.
“PACC is such a progressive animal shelter with one of the strongest hospitality programs of any animal welfare agency in the country,” said Dr. Lisa Gunter, Maddie’s Fund researcher at Arizona State University in the Canine Science Collaboratory. “We are excited to be working with them on this project and to learn more about the benefits of foster care for dogs awaiting adoption in animal shelters. “
The study will involve around 50 dogs. Dogs will be registered shortly after arriving at the shelter. After spending a few days in the care of the PACC, they will leave for a reception stay of one week before returning to the refuge. Throughout their stay at the shelter, dogs will benefit from daily walks by the search team.
“The best part is that the research team learns the dogs’ stress levels through the urine captured freely so the animal is not harmed in any way,” Dangler said.
PACC is in need of foster families who would be willing to help with the study and share their home with a shelter dog. The shelter is looking for people who can commit to welcoming a medium or large dog for the entire seven day period, either August 3-10 or August 8-15. The ideal foster home is free from other pets or can keep the dog separate from other pets. Behavioral support, crates and supplies will be provided.
Those interested can register for the Foster Study Orientation here: www.tinyurl.com/fosterstudyorientation
PACC is still feeling the effects of a busy summer. There are currently 576 pets in the shelter and 756 more in foster care. The refuge still accommodates around 75 to 100 animals per day. People who wish to help can adopt, host or donate to Friends of PACC, official non-profit partner of PACC. The refuge is open Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
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