I had volunteered at shelters, adopted from shelters, and donated to shelters. One thing I had yet to do was foster.
I originally got the idea of fostering after having to euthanize our Great Dane. If anyone has ever had to euthenize their pet, you know it is one of the most heartbreaking things to endure. No one is ever prepared for the kind of sadness that losing a pet brings.
After some time had gone by, I found myself wanting another dog. It was at that time that my emotions began to ebb and flow.
One minute I was ready for a new hiking buddy, the next I was still too sad. I began to ask my friends to “borrow” their dog for the day. I would text and offer to pet-sit. Even if they weren’t planning on going anywhere! I noticed that I was spending more time with my family’s pets, than I was with my actual family; I realized I had a real issue. I realized as well that some of the rescue groups and shelters I had been scanning through; had a similar issue.
I was a home without a pet and they had pets without homes! It didn’t take long before I gave the fostering idea another ponder. Well, what would I have to lose? It would definitely carry me through my whimsical moments so that- eventually I would finally be ready for another hiking buddy. At the same time, I would be able to help out my community and animals that I love.
Fostering can last anywhere from a few weeks to 1 year. Most of the animals that need fostering are those that are being relocated from high kill shelters, young ones needing socialization, young and old that require medications and round the clock care (which no shelter or business is able to provide without some type of burden) and many other reasons.
I sought out my local animal shelter with two goals 1) spend time with puppies that I won’t adopt and 2) inquire about fostering.
It turned out that I had an underlying third goal, when I came home with “Bubba!” An adult male orange tabby cat.
I was amazed at how loving Bubba was. As I had said, I had done quite a bit with shelters in the past and although people may not intend to- it is easy to become dismissive of some animals because there are just so many to care for. Our shelters are overloaded. Yet, according to Bub’s paperwork- he had spent all 4 years of his life in one shelter and another, and yet there he was just as sweet as could be. It amazed me, as a realist, and had also made my mind up for me. I wanted to give back. I wanted to show my appreciation to the shelter, for having obviously provided continuous love to a strange animal such as Bubba.
So I went again to the shelter; having already initiated my fostering process, I left that day with two beautiful little kittens, “Fonzie” and “Saturn.”
Fonzie and Saturn were from two different litters of abandoned kittens. Both mothers stray and both mothers had been killed. The shelter provided food, medications, cat liter, toys, and even a cat liter box! All I had to do was give them love!
Fonzie and Saturn were called “spittens.” A term used to describe unsocialized kittens that “spit” and hiss when approached. They are very fearful. They run. They spit and hiss. Great precautions had to be taken when caring for them. I dedicated our music room to them, which became the “Kitten Room,” all doors had to remain shut, all nooks and crannies they may hide in had to be blocked. I would feed them, love them, fall asleep with them, give them their medications, etc. I definitely had tougher jobs in my life!
It was hard on my spouse and I to let them go. After caring for them for almost a full month, they had already become a part of the family. However, I had watched them grow by leaps and bounds. Fonzie had become a confident, strong, and loving kitty. Who would run right up to you when anyone entered the room. The second you picked him up, he would purr the loudest purr, and reach a tiny paw out to your face. I was so happy for him to be able to play with the big cats at the shelter. I knew that he would easily be adopted, and was humble to be a part of that process. Saturn as well was equally difficult to let go of. I felt, although he purred when he saw you and no longer spit and hissed, that I needed more time with him.
This is what is called a “Foster Fail.” When you fail at simply fostering and end up adopting the animal for your own.
As we returned to the shelter with Saturn, the last to be brought back, my spouse decided he wanted to go visit Fonzie.
All of a sudden we were headed home with Fonzie and a new kitten named “Bear” to foster, once again!
I had always had the impression that fostering was for- some type of “other” person. Other than me. A different, unknown type, but now I see how wonderful it is. It is truly hard to let each foster baby go, however I feel great joy in my heart knowing that through fostering efforts, they are finally “adoptable,” confident, and feeling safe in this crazy world, because I took a small amount of my time to dedicate elsewhere.
Thanks to all of the foster parents like Tyler and myself!
If you are considering fostering, check it out, you would be helping animals in such a cool and different way! And even if you planned on adopting a dog but leave with an abandoned liter of kittens, its okay!!
Meet Your Problems Head On!
A lonely elderly woman awoke in the middle of the night. It was a silent, dark night in the city. She is used to living alone. Her husband had died many years ago. She has owned this house for decades. Knowing every creaky step and every random sound her house may bring.
As routine as a flower blooms in springtime; the elderly woman awakes. Walking into her bathroom as she does every night and at the same hour. However, as routine as her thoughts are at this time, she is completely unaware of what is about to happen. The following event will stay in her memory permanently.
Unknown to her, a large black cat sits atop her folded towels in the linen closet of her bathroom. The cat had chosen this woman, her house, and this night in particular. For it was the night the cat had chosen to appear.
Several months prior to this night, the cat would hide in the shadows of the neighborhood. It would go about the street in the darkness unnoticed. Seeming to be just another neighborhood stray however this cat was not.
The black cat would slowly creep along the sidewalks and bushes. Listening to the prayers of all who slept. Hearing what would be silence to most, the cat could hear clearly. Not only could this cat hear your silent prayers, but it also looked into your dreams. With a quick jump onto your window sill and glance into your window, as you slept comfortably into your bed. Every vision that came across your dreamscape, the cat could see.
The cat has no name, no age or origin. These elements are not important. What is important is that she succeed in achieving her purpose. It is amazingly strong, able to open and close doors and climb screens of windows. Her prowess is superior. Hunting skills honed. She is as silent as she is deadly. Whoever becomes her target is an unfortunate soul indeed. Although the cat has a softer side and finds the kindness in her heart enough to always ensures a quick and painless death for her victims.
Many times she has crept into a house. Opening a closed window or door. Silent and swift, lightly strolling across a floor to make her way to the bed. As she jumps, the air underneath her feet, lift her above the bed. As she leans in closely to identify the soul of her victim one last time. She places a paw on the face and whispers, ” I have heard your prayers in the middle of the night and seen what you long for, in your dreams. I have come to take you to the place you wish to be.” And in one quick breath, the cat and her victim disappear forever, from the once comfortable bed.
The old woman was no stranger to death. She had lost her only son at a very young age. Sickly and ill with a rare disease, she would care for him day and night. Crying and pleading with the universe to change her young boys fate. But to no avail.
Her husband too had passed. A once joyous and insatiable flame, snuffed out by the dark. A man she had loved so truly and deeply. Who again found fate, one icy winters night on the road. She would weep every night since.
Every night the woman would climb into bed. Sit up and recite her silent prayer. And as she slept, she would dream.
As the cat lay perched upon her folded towels, in her linen closet of her bathroom. She waited. As the lonely old lady finished the wash of her hands, she reached for her towel and walked back to her bed.
She fell asleep once again.
The cat came coolly strolling over. Across the floor and into her bedroom. As she jumped, the air underneath her feet, rose her high above the bed. The cat leaned towards the old lady as she slept. Put a paw on her face and said, ” I have heard your prayers in the middle of the night and seen what you long for, in your dreams. I have come to take you to the place you wish to be.”
In the morning the woman woke. At her feet lay a black cat. A seemingly rough-looking cat, but quite loving. The cat stayed with the woman for the rest of her days. Providing her the love and companionship that she had once prayed.