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Fostering animals

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jo2love posted 11/13/2013 17:40 PM

Over the years, I have encouraged DD to do volunteer work. I think it's a good way for her to stay down to earth and give back to others.

We love cats and dogs. Most recently, we started fostering a kitten. When we took her in (a little over a month ago) she weighed 1 lb. She is a ball of furry cuteness, gives kisses, hugs, falls asleep on me, etc... We pick her up and she instantly purrs. She will be with us till sometime in early December.

I'm allergic to cats and we already have 1. Our cat is about 90% adjusted to the kitten.

For those of you who foster, how do you emotionally handle them going back to the shelter to be adopted? I remind myself daily that she is cute and will be adopted quickly. Also, that there will other kittens that need to be fostered. My mom keeps saying, "I bet you're going to keep her" with a big smile.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:45 PM, November 13th (Wednesday)]

authenticnow posted 11/13/2013 17:47 PM

The greyhound people who foster (angels) talk about how they look at it as a step in getting the greys ready for their forever homes, and they realize the value in that and that's why they can let them go.

They also often say how they are sometimes 'foster failures' because although they all touch our hearts, sometimes there is one that you just can't let go.

This is a wonderful lesson to teach your daughter, that you can help these kittens get ready for their forever home, that it is for them (not you/her), and giving them up is selfless. And then you can get ready for the next life you touch .

DixieD posted 11/13/2013 18:02 PM

It's great that you are fostering, Jo. Good for you and your daughter.

We did that for years and it's tough. We had foster failures too.

One thing I kept in mind was that if we kept them all we wouldn't be able to make room for another one who was in need. We had to let go to open our home and hearts to another animal in need. Sadly there were always more in need than space could fill.

You are a gateway to their chance for a new and better life.

phmh posted 11/13/2013 20:44 PM

I have fostered parrots in the past, and hope to do so again in the near future.

In the beginning, it was really tough and there were foster failures. It's tough to give them up -- especially the first few times.

However, once I had a successful foster, it was so amazing to keep in touch with his new home, see pictures and videos of how well he was doing, etc. Years later, we still keep in touch. I remembered that subsequently, and it made things easier.

I told myself what Dixie said -- every one I kept meant one less space to foster. And I found out that I had a knack for turning around birds that were in terrible shape and getting them to the point where they could be adopted and live a successful life. I needed to be able to give up the one I'd gotten better adjusted so I could make room for someone who really needed me.

Like most things, it gets easier with practice :) So happy you guys are doing this!

jo2love posted 11/14/2013 00:05 AM

I appreciate all of your advice. I'm going to talk to DD about looking at it as helping kittens get ready for the forever homes.

Earlier tonight I spoke with the woman that gave us the kitty to foster. She is an amazing woman. We met her a few years ago. She had fostered our 2yr old cat. She said we can adopt the kitten or we can find her a home with our friends or family. They would still need to fill out paperwork and pay the fee. Knowing that we would still see her makes it easier.

If the next kitten needs to be bottle fed, I will probably be posting again. Kittens and puppies are so damn cute.

tushnurse posted 11/14/2013 08:19 AM

Jo - I don't know if I could do that.

I took in a feral kitten when I was 15-16, and hand raised her for a month in my room. My mom said she had to go, couldn't keep her, she is horribly allergic to cats, and we had one already, plus 3 dogs. She actually ended up going to live with my my H's mom and dad. They took her, and she was a great cat, I got to see her pretty dang often, and she lived a long fufilling life. But to actually give a kitten you have bottle fed to someone you don't know.....I'm not sure I could do it. I bond to easily.

We fostered a Lab pup about 5 years ago for 2 months. We all knew, kids, spouse, me that we werer not getting another dog, it wasn't an option to keep this guy. We had a dane, and a golden, and a cat, I didn't want any more animals. The funny thing was my son really really bonded with this guy. At the end of the two months when it was time for him to auctioned off to the Duck Hunting association, my son begged to keep him, and he was a great pup, smart, cute, the other dogs played well with him.....Problem was he was from a great line, and we knew as an auction dog, he could go for a lot more than we could afford. We tried to get him, but he went for $1300. We could not afford it. My son was devastated. He boohoo'd cried at the event. It was heartbreaking.

Funny thing is, we ended up getting him a different lab, and she is the smartest, funniest dog I have ever owned, and she has been trained to be a duck dog, by my H and son. She never had to be sent off, and she is inately a great hunter. The lab that we fostered? Yah he is big, dumb, fat, lazy, and has been sent off to training no less than 3 times. He still doesn't get it, he bites the birds to hard, won't bringem back to the blind etc. So in the end we won, but it was really really really hard.

Sorry about the threadjack.

I think it's an awesome thing to do Fostering. I just don't think I could do it.

phmh- I saw a thing on Nature last night about Parrots, and the plight of fostering, and how hard they are to raise, and keep, it was quite interesting. Thanks for helping some of those awesome creatures out.

phmh posted 11/14/2013 20:20 PM

I haven't watched the parrot Nature special yet, but I agree with the premise. I've been volunteering at a parrot rescue for over 10 years. We take in between 300-500 parrots every year, some from unimaginable abuse and neglect. It's so sad, and there are days I just want to sit and cry because of what I've seen. Most people have no idea, and even well-intentioned owners (including myself) give these wild animals but a shadow of the existence of what their life should be.

Anyway, while biking home tonight, I thought of something else that may make it easier to foster. I am a BIG believer in setting yourself up for success.

I don't know if there are certain types of cats/kittens that you/your daughter like more than others? If so, don't foster them!

With parrots, for example, I am a grey person. It is far more difficult for me to successfully foster a grey, than a conure (which may make no sense to someone who doesn't know parrots, but different species.) Because I want to keep the grey, but feel better about finding a new home for a conure.

If you really like short-haired cats, try to see if you can foster long-haired ones. If you prefer females, foster a male, etc.

jo2love posted 11/15/2013 11:56 AM

tushnurse, I'm glad you were still able to see the feral cat. I'm glad you found a lab that is perfect for your family.

phmh, That's a great idea. I didn't even think of that. We are going to do that going forward.

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