OMAHA, Neb. — One local woman is making a difference in her community by fostering hundreds of animals in her home.
As a little girl, there's only one thing Julie Kuntze wanted for Christmas and on birthdays.
"I wanted a pet so badly," she said.
Now she not only has a pet — she has hundreds.
"I've had dogs, I just had a couple of birds, parrots, I've had rabbits and guinea pigs, hamsters," Kuntze said.
But they all only stay a little while, because Kuntze fosters animals for the Nebraska Humane Society and cares for them until they're ready to find a forever home. She says she foster about 60 animals a year.
"It's nonstop kittens every day, and right now fosters are saving their lives. Literally," Nebraska Humane Society foster care coordinator, Shilah Grant said.
NHS has been overwhelmed with new animals coming in. Foster families help free up space at the shelter for older animals that are ready for adoption.
"Without them, we would have far fewer animals that are adoptable," NHS VP of marketing, Pam Wiese said.
The foster program also helps animals escape from the four walls of a kennel, even if it's just for a little while.
"It's a dog that doesn't do well in the kennel environment, or a cat that just freaks out here and needs a space that's just more comfortable," Wiese said.
But for Julie, who has been fostering for five years, the program lets her live out her childhood dream of owning and caring for pets.
The Nebraska Humane Society currently has about 260 foster families but is always looking for more. To get involved, visit https://www.nehumanesociety.org/adopt/foster-pets/.