When I used to hear the word “foster,” I always thought about fostering a child, never a pet. I think for a lot of people, fostering a pet has never been something they would think about because they grew up having a dog or a cat.
I myself grew up always having a family pet. Even now married, my husband and I are the proud parents to three dogs and a cat. Call me crazy, I know it sounds like we have a zoo, but all four are special, and I could not imagine our lives without them.
We personally got two of our animals from rescues. Finn, is from the Apollo Dog Rescue, and most recently, we adopted Ruthie from the Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance. Rescuing them has always given me a sense of pride and accomplishment. I like knowing that we have given them the home they deserve.
It was not until recently that with the Coronavirus Pandemic impacting our nation, that we had a little bit of extra time working from home to spend with our pets. I have been fond of a local cat rescue here in Dallas, Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance since we adopted our Ruth Bader Catsburg (aka Ruthie) from them last year. I like many others I am sure, have been feeling a little down while staying at home the last few weeks, so I decided to look into fostering.
Reasons why fostering is a good thing to do:
1. First and foremost, you are saving a life. While rescues typically do not euthanize an animal, some shelters do. By you fostering an animal, you’re giving them a shot at a good life, and freeing up a shelter or rescue to help another animal that might be in need.
2. Fostering makes YOU feel GOOD. Take it from someone who has done this twice already. Knowing I am giving an animal a good home makes my heart happy, and watching them get adopted makes my heart implode.
3. Not all animals thrive in a shelter environment. We have a foster Bella who can be skittish, but here are our house, while she doesn’t like loud noises, she loves when I go into the room and wants to love all over me. In fact, if I do not pay attention to her, she taps me on the back. Sometimes potential families need to see pictures of an animal outside of the shelter environment.
4. Foster pets will learn what love is and how to love. I remember when we adopted out second dog Finn, he was so scared and did not really like to be touched. He was afraid. I don’t blame him, who knows what it was like for him out on the street before the rescue got him. Out of all of our pets, he is the most angelic, loving dog. I’ve never met a kinder soul, but when you foster and love on these animals, they know they are safe.
5. It is not difficult to get started fostering. Rescue websites usually have a tab on their website that has information on fostering and guide you through the application process. Saying goodbye is the hardest part, but knowing you have helped complete someone else’s family, that’s the best compensation you could ever ask for. And that’s not to say you might not become a “foster fail” and adopted your foster because you have fallen in love with them.
I never thought about fostering a pet, but my husband, knowing my love for cats suggested I try it, since we are and will be home for the foreseeable future. I reached out to Feral Friends and they offered me the opportunity to foster a three month old dilute tabby cat named Pancake. You guys, she was the absolute cutest!! A skinny little thing with soft fluffy hair.
Pancake was adopted about a week after we picked her up. I remember the panic I felt and how I dropped her off and kissed her head with a large knot in my throat and tears in my eyes. Fostering is not easy. The cleaning up after her, the watching her and checking on her constantly, that was the easiest part and least of my worries. Letting go is always the hardest part. I came home that afternoon and cried, balled my eyes out, but I was happy, because I know Pancake is going to make her new family so happy.
My heart was aching to help foster another pet. Feral Friends graciously let me foster a five year old adult cat named Bella. Let me tell you something, fostering a kitten vs an adult cat is a world of difference! Pancake loved to explore and was open to new things. Bella has been more to herself and can be scared of noises. As sad as it is, usually adult cats are passed up for kittens because they’re larger and not as the kittens. Bella has been with the rescue for a while, and is due for a home of her own. What makes is more difficult for her other than being an adult, is that she is a tortie, which means she’s brown and black but has a mostly black face, and a lot of the time people don’t want to adopt a black cat. But let me tell you, this sweet pea is absolutely worth it. She’s beautiful, and spunky, and has beautiful yellow eyes, and I will cry when she gets adopted.
Bella is making me work harder for her love and attention, but when she finally loves on me, it is totally worth it. She deserves a good home and is still up for adoption. It makes me happy knowing we can care for her while she waits for her perfect human.
While you have probably seen that some shelters have had all of their animals adopted, what you do not know, is that there are many rescues that still have pets up for adoption and need help fostering, and need supplies and donations to continue doing their work.
Look, I know fostering is not for everyone. It’s not always easy. Sometimes the animals are sick or need extra attention. It can be time consuming and is not always perfect, but it is WORTH it. I have had some many laughs and special moments with both of our fosters.
All you need is a room in your house that you can give to an animal. You can provide them with human interaction. I do not think I would have offered to foster a pet before the coronavirus, but honestly, I am glad we have taken the leap.
Our current Tortie beauty, Bella.
Please, please consider helping out anyway you can! I am happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about becoming a foster.
See all of Feral Friends adoptable cuties by clicking here and click to donate here: -> adoptable cats
and click to donate here: -> donations