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Metro Detroit sheriff deputy provides second chance for rescue animals

Metro Detroit sheriff deputy says fostering animals is "rewarding"
Metro Detroit sheriff deputy says fostering animals is "rewarding" 03:17

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — When he's not patrolling the roads in Rochester Hills, Oakland County Sheriff Deputy Harry Joseph is committed to raising awareness about fostering animals.

For 26 years, Joseph has been the man behind the badge doing his part to keep the community safe.

Beyond the badge, Joseph takes on the role of a foster for rescue animals.

Photographed is Oakland County Sheriff Deputy Harry Joseph while on duty. CBS Detroit

"It started when I was looking to adopt a dog, and the people that were hosting the event said, 'We'd love for you to adopt a dog, but what we really need right now are fosters.' I looked into it, signed up and have been doing it ever since," he said.

Now 15 years later, Joseph has fostered and found homes for nearly 70 dogs.

"It's an experience and it's challenging, but just like most things that are challenging, it's also rewarding," he said.

It's a journey that he owes to Metro Detroit nonprofit Happy Days Dog and Cat Rescue.

"We find wonderful homes for a lot of animals. We've got over 100 in our rescue right now, and we've adopted probably over 5,000 in the last few years," said founder Pamela Peterson.

Harry Joseph speaking with CBS News Detroit Reporter Alysia Burgio. CBS Detroit

Peterson says Happy Days is not a brick-and-mortar shelter. Most animals are rescued from shelters across Michigan and from out of state and placed in foster homes for weeks, sometimes months until they find their new family.

"We get a lot of them from shelters, local and some from Ohio. And we also take in a lot of animals that people find and can't find homes for them and people that are older that can't take care of their pets. And we also, for the shelters, we look at the urgent list, the ones that are going to be euthanized," Peterson said.

Fosters, like Joseph, help animals overcome obstacles.

"It's the foster's job to assess that dog, assess their needs, assess their personality and then prepare that dog to be adopted and successfully adopted," said Joseph.


It's why the push for fosters is that much more at the forefront.

"Always. We need fosters. Every rescue needs fosters. And the people who do this love animals so it makes it easy because they wouldn't do it if they didn't love animals," said Peterson.

It's the first step toward finding these animals their forever home.

"To see these dogs blossom from terrible situations into lifelong homes and to know that you had a part of it, it's rewarding," Joseph stated.

Becoming a foster is free. You just need to fill out an application online.

The rescue provides all supplies needed to care for the animal. Happy Days Dog and Cat Rescue is always in need of donations and volunteers.

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