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New Nonprofit Finds Home for Strays

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Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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SYKESVILLE, Md. — Lauren Sanders was more of a dog person.

But then the Sykesville resident took in a gray and white spotted tabby cat named Grace. Then Grace made a friend, when Sanders had a “foster fail” and ended up adopting another cat from the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

“There’s nothing more fulfilling than knowing she’s alive because we made room in our home and took time for her,” Sanders said.

That was her motivation, and the namesake, for starting up Saving Grace Animal Rescue of Maryland in January. The newly created organization finds foster and adoptive owners for pets living in shelters, allowing the animal to have a temporary family before finding a permanent one.

Saving Grace, which recently filed paperwork to become an official nonprofit, is partnering with various shelters to find animals that its foster parents can take into their homes. Nicky Ratliff, Humane Society of Carroll County executive director, said she’s excited to partner with the organization and help find a temporary and permanent spot for some of the Humane Society’s about 3,000 cats it receives per year.

“There is no way in this date and time that I could ever find homes for 3,000 cats or kittens,” Ratliff said. “If (the Humane Society) kept them, I’d have to build a new building every 40 to 45 days … so this young lady is going to help us out a lot.”

Sanders has placed two cats and one dog in temporary homes since Saving Grace’s inception but is working on building up a network of approved foster parents. On the organization’s website, http://www.savinggraceanimalrescuemd.com, is a foster parent application, asking questions such as how many hours a day would the pet be left alone and if the individual objects to a Saving Grace representative visiting to check up on the animal.

Afterward, Sanders will contact the prospective parent’s three listed references and chat with the individual to thoroughly vet them before allowing an animal to placed in the home. If approved, Saving Grace will pay for all expenses, such as food, cat litter and medical needs.

“We’re getting these animals out of the shelter. The more adoptions we do and the more fosters we have, the more animals we can save,” Sanders said. “And that’s really what we’re focused on — saving the most animals that we can.”

Because once the pet is placed in a temporary home, it’s time to find a permanent one, Sanders said. Saving Grace will bring the fostered animals to local pet adoption events and place them on http://www.petfinder.com, which connects people to local animals in need of a family.

The adoption process through Saving Grace is similar to becoming a foster parent. Once approved, there’s a fee of about $150 for a cat and $250 for a dog because the animals will be already vaccinated and spayed or neutered.

Laura McDonald, of Halethorpe, took in the first cat that Saving Grace rescued from a shelter. While she applied as a foster parent, McDonald’s home might become permanent for the 1-year-old calico named Lucy.

“Our plan (was) to hopefully foster her and find her a home, although unexpectedly my husband has already taken quite a liking and an attachment to her so we’ll see,” McDonald said. “I really am for fostering animals, and if anybody is able to open up their home, it really makes a big difference. This cat is a year old, and it’s the first time she’s been able to sleep in a bed with somebody and have somebody love her.”

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(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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