What is the WOOF Program
The WOOF Program was developed to increase the adoptability of dogs in need of individual care and attention. With the economic downturn, the San Francisco Animal Care & Control (SFACC) and its rescue partners are inundated by an influx of dogs, resulting in overcrowding. Currently, dogs that might become adoptable with reasonable efforts at behavior modification or extra nurturing may be at risk of euthanasia because there are just not enough resources to help these dogs.
The WOOF program is a unique foster program of SFACC, in collaboration with the Community Housing Partnership (CHP), and the Mayor’s Office, to give both dogs and residents of permanent supportive housing a second chance to live fuller, happier, and healthier lives. It is the first program of its kind and is similar to other successful fostering programs such as Operation Second Chance, Puppies Behind Bars, Pets for Vets, and others.
What are the WOOF Program’s Goals
Dogs that need individualized time and attention to become adoptable will receive a second chance by living and training for up to six weeks, with a stably housed foster parent who understands firsthand the struggles involved with being homeless and/or living in a shelter. Once socialized, the dogs will be offered for permanent adoption through the SFACC in accordance with their adoption guidelines.
Through this unique partnership, it is the goal of the WOOF Program to:
• Increase the adoptability of dogs in need of extra care
• Reduce euthanasia of dogs
• Increase communication and job readiness skills of foster parents
• Have a beneficial impact on the dogs and foster parents’ physical, social, and psychological health
All WOOF applicants are subject to an extensive screening process, including two separate interviews and a home inspection prior to being invited into the program. For the pilot, only stably housed residents of Community Housing Partnership who have also graduated from an employment training program are eligible. None of the pilot participants are engaged in panhandling. Once in the Program, foster parents or “WOOFers” are required to attend three training sessions per week with their foster dogs taught by professional dog trainers from SFACC. The trainings will focus on topics such as housetraining, basic obedience, animal care and socialization. In addition, the foster parents will receive additional sessions on job readiness, communication, banking and health care. All dog supplies will be provided by Pet Food Express including a crate, food, toys, and beds. The WOOF Pilot Program will run for seven weeks and will be closely monitored by multiple stakeholders to evaluate the increase in adoptability of the dogs involved in the program as well as the benefits of the human-animal bond for the WOOFers.
In the future, people who have been panhandling for income may be considered good candidates for WOOF if they cease those activities, are stably housed, and successfully pass the screening process. Participants in WOOF are prohibited from panhandling and will be ejected from the program if they do so.
How to get involved
While volunteers are not needed for the WOOF program currently, there are ways to help.
Become an SFACC volunteer or donate:
Visit the Youtube 'WOOF Home Visits':
Link with SF/ACC Deputy Director Kat Brown and Animal Control Sgt. Denise BonGiovanni visit WOOF participants Jean, Lee, Raymond and Dorothy's homes to ensure they are safe for canines. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65MWY8MseI0&feature=em-share_video_user