Over the intervening months the volunteer scene changed a lot at KAPS. By hosting dog walks twice a month and putting pictures of them up on the Facebook group we were developing quite a following. People had started to come regularly and one or two were asking ‘what else can we do?’
For me the next step was always adoption and fostering – getting as many animals out of the shelter environment and into homes as possible.
To do that we needed a structure to support the people willing to take them. Gemma, Katelin, Julie (a budding lawyer) and I set about building that structure. We had meetings to work out what we wanted to do and how it would fit into the current KAPS structures. We created foster and adoption contracts, a volunteer handbook and a database.
We divvied up the jobs with me focusing on volunteers, Gemma on adoption and fostering with Katelin supporting and Julie on the documentation.
I met with Sunnan and showed her what we had come up with and the documentation we had in mind. Her biggest worry was losing track of animals.
There was on major difference between foreign adopters and Korean adopters: Koreans thought the shelter was a great place, so if they could no longer look after their adopted animal they would simply return it to the shelter. Foreigners felt the shelter – any shelter – was a terrible place so if they could no longer care for an animal they would pass it on to another foreigner.
Sunnan had found several people who had done this with KAPS animals and in the past had gone and brought the animals back herself.
After discussing it with the team we decided on two measures, which Sunnan agreed to.
- Every adopter would take part in a discussion about what happens when they go home. It would be made clear that our expectation was that any adoption was for the life of the animal and it would therefore travel with them.
We would talk to them about preparing for the cost of taking a dog home and what kind of support they would receive.
- Everyone would sign a contract saying they were adopting for the life of the animal and should unforeseen circumstances arise making it impossible to keep the animal, they would get in touch with us.
We would make every effort for those animals to go straight into foster homes or to another adopter before going back to the shelter.
And so with these structures in place we were ready to start having foreign adopters and fosterers.