Fostering isn't exactly a good way to save money, but it saves something more important: LIVES.
Its also the least we can do for animals who show such unbelievable unconditional love.
Normally when I tell people I foster, they say "Oh, I could never do that. I would keep them all."
Boy do I understand that!!! Its hard to let go.
I started fostering almost two years ago. During that time I have been able to foster and adopt out through a local humane society more than 30 animals. Now think about that. That's 30 animals that didn't have to die.
I'm not saying that to toot my own horn, I'm saying look what one person can do.
The internet has helped. Networking using methods like Facebook has helped. Shelters in the south are sending adoptable animals north. Breed rescues are being contacted from all over. Pilots for Paws are flying pets to new homes. A series of volunteers are driving pets all over the country to rescues. Petfinder.org is connecting pets in little ol' Southwest Virginia to the Big City!
The frustrating thing to shelter/rescue folks is knowing how many animals could be saved if three things happened:
1) People would spay and neuter their pets so there wasn't an overpopulation problem
2) More folks would open their homes and hearts to foster
3) Volunteers would step up to transport animals to new homes or rescues.
I've talked about spaying and neutering in other blogs, so lets focus on the other two. First, what does it mean to "foster"? Fostering usually is simply giving a dog/cat/small animal etc, a place to stay while a new home is found. Because of overcrowding, shelters can only give a pet so many days. For owner surrendered pets, that is usually between 3-5 days. If they have room, most shelters will keep them longer, because they, more than anyone, hate putting adoptable animals to sleep. But the reality is, there are very few uncrowded shelters.
So fostering gives them that time they need. Usually fostered pets will go up on Petfinder.org by the rescue you are fostering for, and normally, they will cover your expenses including food, vet care, etc. They will often ask you to bring the pet to adoption events to give folks a chance to meet him/her. You can specify what type of pet you can handle. For instance I specialize in small breeds like chihuahuas because I know I can integrate them with my other pets much easier. In the summer when it is warm enough, I might be able to take a larger dog because I have outdoor kennels.
You might prefer to foster cats, a couple dogs at a time, or maybe just one big dog. Its up to you.
I won't lie to you and tell you it doesn't hurt letting them go to a new home. But that hurt is worth knowing you saved their lives. I don't know about you, but I think that's worth it. Often the new family will be happy to send pics showing how great your little friend is doing. That's when it feels amazing!
Now the next thing that is desperately needed in animal rescue, are volunteers willing to transport pets. A dog in South Georgia may get adopted by a couple in Maryland. So, animal rescuers (who are wonderful and resourceful people) will set up a "transportation train". Volunteer A will drive Fluffy from the animal rescue to Chattanooga. Volunteer B picks up Fluffy in Chattanooga and drives him to Knoxville. Volunteer C picks up in Knoxville and drives to Wytheville, VA and so on.
If you love road trips, its an awesome thing!
Animal rescue is an emotional way of life, no doubt. Its not always easy. For those of us who are deeply into it, there is a saying. "You may lose your mind, but gain your soul".
But the thing is, you can get involved in small ways that make a HUGE difference. Contact your local humane society, SPCA, or rescue and see how you can get involved.
|Because they can't drive themselves|
Local contacts if you are interested in helping transport pets:
kathyboje @ gmail.com and