Whenever someone finds out that I foster for a local rescue, the reaction is almost always the same: “Oh, that’s amazing what you do! I could never do that! I’d want to keep every one of them.”
Now, I’m new to this, and so I know that I don’t have a ton of advice or wisdom to give, but this reaction has always confused me a bit.
First of all, I have never considered my fostering to be amazing. I didn’t start fostering because it was an amazing thing to do; I started fostering because I literally came face-to-face with a cat that, if I didn’t foster him, may die.
Secondly, so many others absolutely could do this! They could! Did you know that some rescues furnish everything you need (including litter, food, etc.)? Did you know that the rescues pay for your foster animals’ vet care? That anything you do buy for them is tax-deductible?
What does fostering really take?
Time… patience… and a love for animals. A spare bedroom helps too, but it’s not a requirement.
I’ve wanted to write this blog for a long time; it’s what I think whenever someone says to me “Oh, that’s amazing!” … I want to tell them “Don’t you see… YOU have an opportunity to do something amazing too!”
But, maybe you think that you’d never be able to let them go… maybe you don’t want to deal with the emotional turmoil of having to say goodbye to an animal. It is hard; sometimes you do want to keep them.
I have said two goodbyes since my last blog. Milton left me first, and it was hard. However, the harder part for me was separating Milton and Diego; I worried so much about Diego being lonely and sad to see his buddy go.
Yeah, Diego didn’t care.
Diego became best friends with my 2 cats, and he cuddled up on me extra often. That was it.
But, I confess it: I wanted to keep Diego.
I fell in love with Diego… even more so than with Chance. Guys… it was hard saying goodbye to Diego.
I had Diego from June 1 – September 16. From 6 weeks old til he was 5 months old. And, then I said goodbye. So, you see, I understand that feeling and worry of wanting to keep your fosters. I’ve been there.
But, here’s the thing…
I didn’t have to say goodbye because Diego was off to a shelter to suffer.
I said goodbye because Diego was off to live an incredible life with a family who literally wrote me an essay about why they specifically wanted Diego above any other cat. I said goodbye to Diego as he left for a new and amazing life…
And the only reason Diego, Milton, Chance, and the hundreds of other cats adopted through rescues have lives at all is because people have chosen to do something amazing and foster for their local rescues.
You see, I would much rather cry a few emotional tears as Diego leaves for an incredible new life than cry in sadness when I find out that a kitty like Diego didn’t get a chance at life because there was nobody there to be his foster family.
If you think that those who foster are amazing, well here is your chance to be amazing too.
You don’t need to quit your job, sell all you own, and donate it to charity. You don’t need to sacrifice your life. All you need to do is reach out to your local rescue and ask how you can help.
If you’re worried about the money and time commitments, don’t dismiss this opportunity quite yet; talk with your local rescue and see how their foster program works. See if they can work with you to find the right placement for you. See if they need temporary fosters, transportation help, people to do adoption interviews, people to volunteer to set up and tear down events…
You can help.
You have an opportunity to be amazing. What will you do with that opportunity?