NORMAN — When Lara McLellan was younger, she sometimes got confused.
“I’m pretty sure I thought I was a dog before I thought I was a human,” McLellan said.
McLellan, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Oklahoma, is an only child who grew up with dogs.
“When I was born, there were already two dogs in the house,” McLellan said. “They took me in as their own.”
McLellan said family albums are full of pictures of her in the doghouse and chewing on dog bones.
“My mom said she was pushing me around in a stroller in the airport, and I started barking at the guy in front of us,” McLellan said. “I literally knew how to bark before I knew how to talk.”
McLellan is a long way from her hometown, Clemson, S.C., and she’s not sure where she’ll be once she graduates. What’s a dog lover to do when her future plans are unclear? For McLellan, dog fostering is the answer.
She volunteers as a temporary home for dogs through Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, an animal shelter in Norman. In the last year, she has taken in four dogs for as long as two months or as briefly as two weeks.
Fostering is a good alternative to ownership for McLellan, who wants a dog around the house but will graduate and move in May.
“I would love to adopt a dog of my own, but I don’t know where I’m going to be next year,” McLellan said. “I don’t know where I’m going to be six months from now.”
Second Chance is a no-kill animal shelter, which means it doesn’t euthanize animals. However, that means space in the shelter is limited, and it fills up quickly. Fostering a dog from Second Chance not only gives one dog a temporary home but also allows the shelter to take in another dog in its place.