Local foster volunteers to save dog lives

by SERGIO MADRID//Editorial Assistant

Not many people are willing to give up their time, money, and hard work for something that doesn’t belong to them, especially for a dog.

Besides your mom, a dog is the only other living soul that will love you unconditionally. And, at times, a tad bit uncontrollably.

No one knows this better than Kendell Blackmon, a foster for the South Plains SPCA in Lubbock.

“I got into fostering when a friend asked me to volunteer with her at the SPCA to do their wellness night, where we give shots, take blood, and microchip our dogs and cats,” says Blackmon.

“I started doing this every Thursday since May of last year,” she added. “I didn’t think I would ever foster, since I already had a dog and a cat of my own. But by July, I cracked and got my first foster, and since then, I fell in love with fostering.”

A dog is acquired by the SPCA in one of three ways: Owner surrendered, meaning the owner will give up the dog for whatever reason; Strays found on the street, by either a civilian or a foster; and lastly, from a shelter, where fosters will pull dogs from a shelter in the Lubbock area.

As most fosters do, Blackmon has developed her own plan of action when bringing home a new dog.

“I have to go through the same routine every time,” Blackmon says. “My dog is an alpha female that doesn’t get along with other dogs, especially if I give them attention. For some reason, she loves puppies. So, I am able to take 8-week to 4-month-old girls and 8-week to 1-year-old male puppies.”

Then comes the moment of truth.

“Once home, I carry the puppy in my arms and let my dog smell them,” Blackmon explains, “and if she doesn’t show aggression, I will put them on the floor together and pet them at the same time, to let my dog know it is OK for the puppy to be here. After that, if she doesn’t show aggression, I stop after five minutes, and everything is fine from there.”

Though it must be hard on the fosters to give up a dog, especially one that has been under their care for a while, they know it is for the best. Blackmon says she has cried for two of her past fosters. But she knows there are more dogs in need of her help.

“When you really think about it, you get to save another dog’s life,” says Blackmon.

Blackmon has fostered 32 dogs and is currently a senior at Texas Tech University, with plans to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. She also hopes to continue her education and attend veterinarian school.

Fosters play a big part in helping to save dogs that have gotten caught in misfortune. But you don’t need to foster to save a dog’s life.

Next time you stumble upon a stray, check for tags, contact the local animal shelter or an organization such as the SPCA, make it known through social media, or go door to door in the neighborhood where you found it.

If you’ve been thinking about expanding your family, or wanting a great companion, adopt from a shelter instead of buying from a breeder. Most are mixed breeds, which are generally healthier and bright. More importantly, they are grateful for a second chance.

The South Plains SPCA has an adoption day on Saturdays at their new location at 8901 Highway 87, building 119. You can adopt or just volunteer. Whatever you choose to do, know you’re making a difference.


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