Aug 23, 2021
Recently we were lucky to have an amazing group from the UT Austin McCombs School of Business study what the capacity for people to foster animals in Austin really looks like, by comparing current census data to common trends among our [hundreds] of amazing volunteers currently fostering APA! animals.
What many people don’t know is that there is an entire machine of coordination and support behind any shelters with robust foster programs for homeless pets. The good news is that this machine is completely possible to build in any community and nurture to extend the ability to save the lives of companion animals at risk of euthanasia. And, thanks to this study, we have even more certainty on what we suspected to be a huge opportunity for new fosters in Austin.
First, Who exactly fosters?
The study matched active APA! foster parents’ demographics with Austin district census and survey data. Based on the number of current APA! fosters in each zip code, those ages 18-34, without pets, closer to the animal shelter and renters/single occupants are more likely to foster (both dogs and cats).
When these variables were compared with the census in the same zip codes, a potential 433 potential dog fosters and 498 potential cat fosters were identified! And that number could multiply if the households foster more than one animal in need.
Why do they foster?
The study also analyzed the demographic data of APA!’s current fosters to find the top 5 reasons for fostering:
- New time and bandwidth
- Not ready for a long-term commitment (adopting)
- Love of animals/grew up with animals
- Desire to help animals
- Trial for future adoption
Based on this information, we are more knowledgeable than ever on who potential fosters are. And any city could pair these commonalities with their communities, plus best practices for building and maintaining a foster program [ampa resource link here] and we’d be looking at city by city solving a major portion of commonly being too under-resourced to save enough lives – by finding new resources outside of the shelter and into the community via foster homes.
Thank you to the McCombs School of Business team: Anurag Peddaiahgari, Drake Sides, Haoshu Yuwen, Nicholas Hill, Nicholas Solorzano, and Sandesh Kakade, for shining new light on the potential of fostering animals in Austin!
For those of you not yet fostering in Austin and are willing to join this lifesaving network, please email [email protected].
Sources: Simply Analytics/Census and APA! fosters data