DULUTH, Minn. -

Every single year, nearly three million animals are euthanized across the United States.

To combat the issue, dogs and cats are sent to shelters and cleaned up, preparing for their next chapter in life.

“It’s kind of cool because when people think about volunteering for Animal Allies, a lot of time they think, I’m going to walk dogs,” Amy Miller, Communications Manager at Animal Allies said.

For these volunteers, going for a hike can be a walk in the park.

Miller says, “We absolutely love our dog walkers, but there are a lot of different ways to volunteer!”

It all begins with a passion for making a difference. At Animal Allies, alternative options aside from adoption are available.

“Basically what you’re doing is taking a shelter animal into your home and taking care of it until it’s ready for adoption,” Miller said.

Volunteers and community members are hopping on board with a new kind of helping out; fostering for the future.

Miller says foster parents are needed for lots of different reasons in the Northland. Pet are looking to find homes all across the Northland, but shelters are often full.

“Basically we’ll train you in; we’ll keep a list of what you’re interested in helping out with, and get you all set up to be a foster pet parent,” Miller said.

Helping out by temporarily taking care of a friend with four legs.

“Whether it’s a dog who needs a foster for three months because it’s going through some sort of medical treatment or it’s a litter of kittens that need a foster for two weeks until they are ready to be spayed and neutered,” Miller said.

It’s a matchup of needs, based off the animal, and the volunteer looking to open doors for a brighter future.

Miller says they always find good homes for the animals, and once a match has been made, it’s memories in the making.

“A lot of people are scared to be a foster because they think they are going to end up with all of the animals,” Miller said.

But with a little self control, it’s a great way to have an animal, then send them off to a great home afterwards.

“You’re not having to make a long-term commitment but you still have an animal in your life,” Miller said.

If you would like to sign up to be a foster pet parent in the Northland, you can visit Animal Allies at 4006 Airport Rd in Duluth, or check out www.animalallies.net/volunteer.

All foster parents must be at least 21 years old.