Portsmouth Humane Society launches new Virtual Foster Program

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Portsmouth Humane Society is launching a new program to help busy people care for animals looking for their forever homes.

The Virtual Foster Program was thought up by shelter manager Zach Flota.

"We hear all the time, 'I wish I could take them all home'.  Really what I hear is, 'I wish there was a different way that I could help,'" Flota explained. "I think this gives them an option so that they can take some stake in doing a little bit and having a big impact."

The Virtual Foster Program allows people interested in caring for an animal the chance to interact with them on their own schedule. Once you sign up with the shelter, you get paired up with an animal looking for a home. Then, on your own schedule, you can visit them at the shelter or take them on outings, but you don't need to ever take them home.

While you are together, the shelter asks you to take pictures of the animal to share on social media.

"Exposure for the animals is the biggest thing," explained Flota. "We have a pretty good social media presence for the animals, but every single person has their own group of friends and followers. For them to be able to post while learning more about the animal to their group of friends and followers, it will get the animal more one-on-one attention in the shelter and give them added exposure outside the shelter."

The more exposure an adoptable animal gets, the better their chance of getting adopted.

Those who participate in the Virtual Foster program will be given a special training to learn how to properly handle their animal and interact with them when they do come to the shelter. They will also be given a tool kit on how to market the animal and some ideas of where they can take the animal on an outing.

The program will officially launch on Saturday, October 19. If you are interested in participating visit the shelter or visit their website.

If you are unable to participate in the Virtual Foster program, you can still help the shelter. They will be hosting a "Straynger Things" Pub Crawl in Portsmouth this weekend.

For more information about that fundraiser visit their Facebook Event Page.

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