Fosters are very important people – they are vital to the pet rescue world. Without fosters, untold numbers of pets would never get the second chance that led them to their family and forever home. Without fosters, dogs and cats in need of training, socialization and/or special care would never stand a chance in our overcrowded system. And without fosters, puppies and kittens would not even be allowed to come into this world. Fosters are the glue that holds our pet rescue world together.
Foster parents are volunteers who open their hearts and their homes to pets that need a place to stay, need someone to care for them, while they wait to be adopted. Sometimes the pets are adults, with few needs other than basic care – and sometimes the pets are babies, sick or pregnant, with special needs or in need of behavior training. Regardless, it takes a special person to be a foster. For in the end, they’ll have given their home, their time and their heart to a pet who they will hand over to someone else for safekeeping, for forever loving. But that pet will always remain with them, in a way, because they all leave pawprints on their foster parent’s hearts.
I’m a foster mom. I’ve cared for many cats and kittens over the past few years, sought to find them the best homes – and handed them over to the loving arms of their adopters. I have draperies that are in less than pristine condition now (we actually had a few kittens that found their greatest thrill in scaling the floor-to-ceiling drapes!), furniture that’s marred from countless errant scratchings, and have lost more than a few precious/valuable/expensive/sentimentally valuable items that went crashing to the floor thanks to curious paws. Many of my clothes have snags or holes, and my entire wardrobe is rather furry.
What did I get from it? A sad heart every time I said goodbye to a precious little one, because I would miss them. A thrilling, heart-filling sensation every time I said goodbye to a precious little one, because we’d “done it”, we’d found their forever home. In the years I’ve fostered cats, I’ve learned more about them than I ever would have guessed there could be about them. I’ve gone to sleep at night, knowing I’ve done something that day to make a difference in this world. And with a cuddly little furball of gratitude curled up with me. I’ve been a small part of making the world a better place for animals. I’ve made a world of difference for the animals I’ve fostered.
What is the difference between someone who fosters, and someone who doesn’t volunteer at all? A fellow volunteer in our rescue and dog foster extraordinaire, Ushi posted the following on Facebook just this morning:
CACC today- sad as always. So many dogs, so many Pitbulls, some full of hope, others without it, they have shut down. Teenage puppies- sitting, waiting for rescue. There is not enough time to pet them all, to give them a few kind words, a treat. There are hundreds of them, waiting, waiting, waiting- their only “crime”- they are the “wrong” kind of dogs. Some of them too old, some aggressive, but most of them because they are the “wrong” breed. It broke my heart to leave them behind- Jay the little black and white 5 month old Pit puppy, Mona the brown Pit puppy, the cute brown and white Pointer mix who was clinging to my legs… and I couldn’t take even one with me because my other puppies came back. :*(
Can you see the difference? A foster is dedicated to the animals in need. There are always more in need, and they are at the forefront of concern and a driving force behind what the foster does. They see the need, they fulfill the need, they go on to care for the next ones.
There are nowhere near enough fosters – follow along with Uschi some time, take a look for yourself at all the faces with eyes pleading for you. Those who have seen the need know – and do what they can – but we need many more. Consider fostering. If you ever wanted to do something to make this world a better place, becoming a foster is one great way to do so. And if you absolutely can’t foster, donate supplies, funds or your time and talent. There is always something you can do – it’s up to you to do it.
And the animals will be eternally grateful to you for doing so.
This post is dedicated Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue, a special online global event held on July 23, 2012 stressing the importance of dog adoption. BTC4animals.com is proud to partner with Blog Catalog, Dog Rescue Success and YOU to harness a global online community to help save the lives of dogs in need.