How Foster Programs grew up to 527,600% Thanks to Maddie’s Apprenticeships

By Rory Adams

Rory Adams | February 8th, 2020

Three years ago Kristen Hassen-Auerbach and Kelly Duer taught the first Adult Dog Foster Maddie’s Apprenticeship at Maddie’s Lifesaving Academy for American Pets Alive! in Austin, Texas.

When we began teaching these classes, we set out to answer the pressing question– Can we increase the number of animals going to foster homes, through teaching? The answer is astounding, yes! Remarkable progress in growing foster programs has been made in Maddie’s Apprentice shelters across the country.

When we say foster care is the future, we say this because we believe foster care can increase capacity at animal shelters, improve the quality of life for animals, and engage communities in lifesaving. Build a foster program and watch your numbers double, triple, quadruple, or in the case of Pima Animal Care Center, see a 527,600% increase in your animals going to foster homes.

We are hoping that in the future, as we continue to educate even more shelters on lifesaving best practices, shelters will become foster centric, meaning the pets who enter our shelter system will be treated with the same care we give to our pets at home.

Congrats to all of the rockstar shelters who are making this dream a reality and a really big #ThanksToMaddie for guiding the way.

How much has your foster program grown in the last 10 years? We want to hear about it at [email protected]


Lifeline Animal Project
, Atlanta, GA



Dallas Animal Services, Dallas, TX


Metro Nashville Animal Care and Control
, Nashville, TN




Pima Animal Care Center
, Tucson, AZ


Austin Pets Alive!



Louisville Metro Animal Services, Louisville, KY


Williamson County Animal Shelter, Georgetown, TX

KC Pet Project, Kansas City, MO



El Paso Animal Services, El Paso, TX

Today, Maddie’s Lifesaving Academy offers over 20 apprenticeship programs in a variety of lifesaving topics, including lifesaving leadership, volunteer dog handling, ringworm, starting and growing a foster program and more. The Adult Dog Foster program co-taught by Kristen and Maddie’s Fund’s Kelly Duer is currently hosted at the Pima Animal Care Center, a Leadership Alive! Partner shelter.


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