Maddie’s Fund: ROAR collaborates with Arizona State, Virginia Tech on nationwide fostering study


Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue (ROAR) is collaborating with Arizona State University and Virginia Tech in a nationwide foster program study through Maddie’s Fund to enhance and expand its Foster Care Program. There are 100 shelters and rescue organizations throughout the U.S. that are participating in the research. The results will help provide additional insight on the effects of field trips with adoptable dogs versus overnight stays and long-term stays with foster families.
The study will include 30 days of field trips with 40 different rescue dogs from participating shelters. Each shelter, including ROAR, will have volunteers taking a different dog each day for a minimum of two hours before returning to the shelter. ROAR and the other participating rescue organizations and shelters in the study will receive foster program training and implementation support from Maddie’s Fund. The “ROAR Around Town” day-trips will kick off on Wednesday, April 24, with ROAR’s specially trained volunteers and conclude at the end of May.
Maddie's Fund is a family foundation created in 1994 by Workday co-founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, who have endowed the Foundation with more than $300 million. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than $225.7 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, shelter management leadership, shelter medicine education and foster care across the U.S. The Duffields named Maddie's Fund after their Miniature Schnauzer Maddie, who always made them laugh and gave them much joy. Maddie was with Dave and Cheryl for ten years and continues to inspire them today.
“Foster care is the gold standard for lifesaving and we consider foster caregivers as the VIPS,” said Mary Ippoliti-Smith, executive leadership team of Maddie’s Fund.
“We are really excited to be partnering with ROAR in the Arizona State University/Virginia Tech Maddie’s Nationwide Fostering Study. They are one of 100 shelters nationwide that are participating to help us learn about the effects of fostering for shelter dogs and the shelters themselves. By being part of this program, ROAR is implementing a new shelter dog field trip program that will allow the shelter dogs to get a much-needed break from the shelter while they wait for their adoptive home. Additionally, the field trip program allows the shelter to learn valuable information on the dog’s behavior that can be used to help find it the perfect adoptive home. We are thrilled to be able to work with such a progressive and creative shelter as ROAR to help shelter dogs everywhere,” said Dr. Erica Feauerbacher, assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
“ROAR is honored to be participating in Arizona State University’s and Virginia Tech’s nationwide foster program study through Maddie’s Fund,” said Dorene Zurlo, Associate Shelter Director, Volunteer Operations and Fosters for ROAR. “We’ve seen first-hand how foster care can help reduce stress and improve the welfare of rescue dogs when they return to our shelter. Results of the study will enable us to enhance ROAR’s Foster Care Program as a whole, so we can increase the number of animals in the program. This will allow us to get them ready for adoption and create more room to bring in more rescue dogs and cats into our shelter.”