Prrrr, Prrrr, Prrrr, Prrrr. The sound of soft kitten purrs fills the silence in our home. These adorable kittens and their mother have been staying at our home since their birth seven weeks ago. My husband and I had wanted to foster a pregnant cat for some time and were excited when the mother cat, Dreamer, was in need of a safe place to have her kittens. We have developed a special bond with Dreamer and her kittens and know it will be a challenge to see them go off to their forever homes in a few weeks. Although this transition will be difficult, we are very proud of our efforts to ensure these kittens are healthy and well socialized before heading to their new homes.
Animal foster care is one of the most meaningful volunteer experiences. If you love animals and have the means to take an animal into your home for a short time, I highly recommend you pursue this opportunity. Many people are leery about fostering and often fear it will be too difficult to let the animals go. I recommend to look beyond that concern and take the fostering leap. The fact is, 3 to 4 million animals are euthanized in shelters across the United States each year. The way to help prevent unnecessary euthanasia is to become actively involved in the solution. The solution involves two main components:
- Spay and neuter your pets as well as your barn cats. There are many local resources for discounted sterilization services if financial strain is a concern.
- Seek out the opportunity to foster homeless pets. The Tri-County Humane Society and Ruff Start Rescue are two of the animal-welfare organizations in the local area in need of foster families. You can get involved by going to their websites and filling out a foster application.
Shelters and rescues can offer different kinds of fostering experiences. Shelters usually allow individuals to foster a sick, injured or pregnant animal until the animal is well and can be returned to the shelter to be placed up for adoption. In comparison, a rescue allows the option to foster a healthy animal or one that is in need of some form of rehabilitation. In addition, rescues allow foster families to be actively involved in the adoption process. This component can ease fears that letting go of a foster animal may be too difficult. In many cases, foster families also meet with and form relationships with adopters.
Both shelters and rescue groups provide comprehensive training to foster families, along with resources and contact information if the animal exhibits concerning behaviors or health-related symptoms while in your care. It is also important to note many organizations offer a Foster-To-Adopt program in which you can foster a dog or cat that you may want to adopt. Every organization has different rules on the length of time you have to decide if the animal will become a permanent family member. FTA is a terrific way to assess if the animal will get along with other pets, is good with children or has the right energy level for the home.
Fostering provides a safe, compassionate and loving environment for homeless animals. In return you will receive unconditional love, affection and companionship. Fostering is sure to bring about a sense of purpose, connection and pride in knowing you are making a difference. Please consider taking part in this life-changing volunteer experience. The animals will thank you.
To find out more about fostering, contact the Tri-County Humane Society at 320-252-0896 or its website at www.tricountyhumanesociety.org; or Ruff Start Rescue at 763-355-3981 or its website at www.rufffstartrescue.org