Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Tuscany
Tuscany, transitioned from a foster (recovering from being hit by a car) to a hospice foster (after she was diagnosed with cancer) to being adopted by a loving family.

How often do you get to say, “I saved a life today?” When you volunteer with the your local animal shelter that assertion can be a daily affirmation. That is especially true when you volunteer as a foster caregiver.  Every animal fostered back to health or to an adoptable status is a life saved. The ability of a local animal shelter to care for all the animals rescued depends on reliable foster volunteers willing and able to help. The more foster volunteers, the more lives saved.

Foster volunteers are typically caring people who do everything from bottle-feeding orphaned neonate babies around the clock to socializing little ones to ensure they are able to interact with both humans and animals to caring for an older animal recovery from an injury or surgery.  Foster volunteers provide care, safety and love.

Most animal shelters provide the training as well as start-up supplies. Help from shelter staff is only a phone call away, and usually a 24-hour emergency number to call in case questions or problems arise is provided.

Foster care volunteers provide temporary care for kittens, puppies, dogs and cats (and sometimes other species).  Some animals may only need a home for several days or weeks, while others may need several months of care.  By offering your home to an animal in need, you save a life.

In fact, you save two lives.  The one you foster and the one who occupies the cage or kennel your charge vacated by fostering.

Fostering is more flexible than other volunteer jobs that require you to show up for a specific shift for a committed length of time.  Foster programs are usually fun and rewarding once you’ve learned how to take care of your temporary companion animals.

Foster program are designed to help any animal in need of foster care, including:

• Orphaned neonate kittens and puppies
• Underage, self-feeding kittens and puppies (4-8 weeks old)
• Mother cat or dog with nursing kittens or puppies
• Animals recovering from injury or illness (may need medication)
• Shy or fearful animals who need socialization
• Healthy senior animals who need a break from the shelter environment
• Hospice animals who need loving homes near the end of their lives.

The animals rescued by local shelters deserve the best possible chance at finding a loving, permanent home. A foster parent has one of the most important jobs. They allow the animals to receive the care and attention they deserve as they wait for adoption. Foster parents not only save the lives of the animals in their care, they save the lives of other animals in the shelter waiting to find a loving home. If those aren’t enough reasons to become a foster parent, consider these:

• Foster animals are temporary companions offering their love freely.
• You’ll help socialize an animal so they become more adoptable as better companions.
• You can put that spare bedroom to good use.
• You’ll delight at the smiles on the faces of the family that adopts your foster animal and possibly make new friends in the bargain.
• Fostering helps you explore many different breeds of dogs and cats to help you decide which traits you’d like in your next companion animal.
• If, for some reason, you can’t keep a full-time companion animal, fostering for short time periods is an ideal solution.
• You’ll know that you’re making a huge difference in the lives of your fosters; and you’ll be helping other animals, too.

If you have the time and some space in your home for a needy animal, call or email your local animal shelter today.  Fostering is a labor of love that will create memories that last long after your foster animals have been placed into permanent, loving homes.