Successful Foster Placement Leads to Adoption of Sweet Mango

February 21, 2024


Danielle T. had always yearned to have a dog but wasn’t sure if she was ready for pet ownership, so she signed up to be a foster caregiver for the ASPCA.

“I didn’t grow up with dogs, but I used to dog-sit for a friend, and one of my roommates has a dog,” Danielle says. “Fostering is a great opportunity to have a furry friend and give them a chance to get out of the shelter, even if for just a little while."

After learning more about Danielle, her household and her roommate’s dog, a three-year-old mixed breed named Dexter, members of the ASPCA Foster Engagement and Behavior teams suggested she foster Mango, a large female mixed breed who seemed like a good match for both Danielle and Dexter. 

“During their meet and greet, it seemed like love at first sniff,” says Chloe Sternlicht, Senior Manager of Foster Care and Placement. “Mango and Dexter hit it off right away. Their story is a great example of thoughtful and successful foster placement through team collaboration.”

After fostering Mango for three weeks, Danielle decided to adopt her on September 7.

“You could tell how appreciative she was,” Danielle says of Mango. “I didn’t intend to adopt, but she was such a sweetheart.”


“When foster caregivers adopt their animals, we call that a ‘foster fortune,’” says Eileen Hanavan, Director of Volunteer and Foster Engagement. “Though adopting a foster pet may mean some caregivers have to stop fostering, it also means that a deserving shelter animal has found a loving home, which is always a reason to celebrate.”

From Fearful to ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’

Mango was first transferred to the ASPCA on May 11 from Animal Care Centers (ACC) of New York City’s Manhattan location.

“Our Adoption Center takes in ACC animals throughout the year, particularly during the warmer months when their shelter is especially busy,” says Delia Kurland, Senior Director of Operations of the ASPCA Adoption Center and Kitten Nursery. “When Mango came to us, ACC was overpopulated with dogs. Transfers of animals like Mango create more room at ACC for other dogs and, in some cases, expand the placement options for dogs who have been in their shelter for some time.”

Mango was one of more than 600 animals transferred from ACC to the ASPCA Adoption Center in 2023.


ASPCA Behavior Specialist Nikki Pulone, recalls that Mango was tense and fearful when she first came to the ASPCA.

“She showed discomfort being handled and around the hustle and bustle of city noises,” Nikki says. “But slowly, and with the help of other dogs, she began to loosen up and enjoy her walks outside.”

Nikki says Mango soon became a regular in playgroups with other dogs and sometimes helped other nervous dogs come out of their shells.

“We used her to help assess other dogs because she was tolerant and had a happy-go-lucky attitude,” Nikki says.


Early in her stay at the ASPCA, Mango was treated for pneumonia and recovered. She also spent time with Adoption Placement Specialists in their workspace during the day, where staff learned even more about her personality.

“Mango was happy to be out of her kennel and didn't show any arousal or fear—she just wanted attention,” says Stacey Rozell. “On walks, she responded to calm voices and showed confidence.”

On August 20, after their first meet and greet, Mango went home with Danielle to begin their fostering experience.

Settling In and Having Fun

At her new home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Mango gets along better than ever with Dexter.


“They love to play with each other in the enclosed backyard,” says Danielle, who teaches preschool. “They share bones and toys.”

Another roommate, Rafiya, has a two-year-old bunny named Oatmeal, and Mango likes to lie beside her.


Both Mango and Dexter are trained to ring a bell hanging from the doorknob when they want to go in or out.

“Mango nudges her nose on the bell or hits it with her paw,” says Danielle. “She’s very patient.”

Although Danielle is no longer fostering, she doesn’t rule it out for the future.


“The whole process was so easy. The ASPCA provides all the resources,” she says. “Fostering gave me time to decide on adoption, too. I didn’t feel rushed. It was a very positive experience.”

“Plus, if I ever foster another pet,” she adds, “Mango would be a good role model.”