On Fostering...

13 January 2013

I realized a few years ago that I was missing something in my life. Something that expressed gratitude and gave me that feeling of making a difference. I had become so wrapped up in my career and other little things that I forgot to step away. That longing didn't make the other priorities in my life disappear, but I knew I had to make some small actions of volunteerism. I decided then to start working with the local humane society. I have always had a soft spot for animals and it seemed to make sense.

I decided that rather than working in the shelter, I could take on fosters.  We started fostering a couple of years ago.  So far, we have taken in several litters of kittens + two chinchillas.

Kittens must be at least two pounds in order to be fixed and then adopted out, so they sometimes come in underweight and need a place to live until they are ready.  I try to limit myself to just doing a few litters a year so that I don't overwhelm myself (or my husband).

Since I started fostering animals, people often ask me how I do it.  I don't know that I have a good answer for this...I suppose I don't really know how I could not do it.  Sure, there is a little heartbreak when you are with a little furry baby for a month and then suddenly they go away, but they aren't really going away, they are going to awesome homes and going to brighten someone elses life and it makes me feel amazing that I was somehow part of that process.

A sad truth is that baby animals are fragile, so sometimes they don't make it.  We have lost a few in this process and it does absolutely break my heart when that happens, but I think it also makes me stronger as a person.

Mostly though, fostering is full of so much gratification and adorable moments.  I get to have tiny kittens at their tiniest and cutest and I get watch them play and learn to be cats.  I get to relish in cuddle puddles on my lap.  It is also full of learning experiences.   I have learned so many things in my fostering experience - from how to kittens socialize to even being able to put an IV into a kitten to be sure it has fluids.  Each time I foster, I feel more confident in my abilities.

I also had always dreamed of having chinchillas, so when a pair were available for foster I was really excited to have that experience.  It turns out chinchillas are not dream pet, but I am so glad I got to learn that and I did really enjoy their silly dust baths and working with them to help them trust people.

Fostering has given me a chance to experience really wonderful things.  If you've ever considered making a difference with animals, I would really recommend giving fostering a try!  Get in touch with your local shelter!

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