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'Never a dull moment': Local couple describes life as pet foster parents
Pet foster
Jamie Porter sits with Akira, one of several foster dogs that stay at his house. Porter and his wife, Pam, right, have been fostering pets for about six years with the Humane Society of Forsyth County. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

Studio Forsyth: Never a dull moment in the life as pet foster parents

By: Bradley Wiseman

About eight years ago, newly retired Jamie Porter and his wife, Pam, began volunteering with the Humane Society of Forsyth County, and after about two years began fostering dogs at their home on Lake Lanier.

When the Forsyth County News stopped by on Friday, there were more than 20 dogs – including their own pets and fosters – at the Porters’ home.

“Our retirement fell into a job taking care of animals,” said Jamie Porter. “There’s usually never a dull moment. It’s important for us that the animals get along but that they’re also loved and they’re cared for and their physical well-being is taken care. Not every group fits, but we’ve been very fortunate.”

While there are a lot of dogs in the home, most are puppies and their moms, including a mother dog named Sandy and her litter of nine puppies that were born on Tuesday and came to the Porters two days later. Once those puppies are weaned, they can find their forever homes.

“Right now, we’ve got three mommas and three sets of babies,” Jamie Porter said. “That’s about all we can do.”

Even before retirement, animals were a focus for the family.

“We fostered kittens from time to time, but we’ve always had dogs for the most part,” he said. “They’ve always been a part of our lives.”

Jamie Porter said he had a special place in his heart for injured dogs, including Akira, a puppy with a leg issue, and JD, who has nerve damage in one of his front legs and wears special shirts to keep it safe.

He said the family started with one dog, then a litter of puppies, “and that led to more and more fosters.”

“Once you see the need out there, and if you have the opportunity, it’s hard not to get involved,” Jamie Porter said. “For us, we’re both retired and we have time. It’s our way to give back.”

Some of the Porters’ pets came to the house as fosters and stayed as permanent members of the family.

“We started out with three, then we foster-failed a few times,” Jamie Porter said.

Lots of dogs means lots of mouths to feed, but luckily for the Porters, the Humane Society provides supplies, including food through a partnership with Rucker Pet.

“That helps tremendously,” Jamie Porter said.  “For our dogs, we go through a lot of supplies. We should buy stock in Costco potty pads because we’ve got stacks of them out there. We go through a lot of potty pads. The rest of the stuff, we’re fortunate enough that if we need something, we can provide it. The shelter provides all the medication or any special food we need.”

While there is a clear benefit to the dogs, the family also gets something out of it.

“We get a lot of joy out of it,” Jamie Porter said. “When you see a little one, and their parents say, ‘yes, we can have this puppy,’ it’s the greatest thing in the world.”

They said puppies aren’t the only animal locals can adopt, and kittens in particular are in need of fosters this time of year.

“If you have time, I encourage anyone that wants to get involved to try it,” Pam Porter said. “It takes a little while, but it’s well worth it.”

All animals up for adoption have a profile at ForsythPets.com, where visitors can also get information on adopting animals or volunteering.