All it took was an email with the subject line, “Running Out of Time.” I didn’t need to see the soulful eyes looking up at me from the screen to know that I would do anything possible to save a life. Fostering is hard. Fostering is fulfilling. But most importantly, fostering saves lives. My name is Sarah, and I am a foster mom to pets in need.
I began fostering animals while living in Chicago, IL. I volunteered with many organizations such as the Anti-Cruelty Society (ACS) and Forever Fortunate Felines (FFF). As an animal-lover since childhood, I couldn’t wait to get involved. While you may see the glamorous side of our work, there is so much more behind the cute photos – 2am feedings, behavioral problems, and poop. Lots of poop. Now, I foster and volunteer for the Idaho Humane Society (IHS) in Boise, ID. With so many shelters and rescues across the country, I choose to volunteer with those that focus on animal welfare and human education.
I believe that I get just as much from fostering as the animals do. As I prepare them for a life of love with a new family, I learn how to show compassion and patience without prejudice. I get the opportunity to assist someone in finding the perfect companion. And of course, I get plenty of wet nose kisses and snuggles. The best outcome of fostering was actually a “failure” as I adopted a senior cat from ACS – Snowball. As part of a hoarding situation, Snowball lived with over 10 other cats and dogs in a small apartment before her owner passed away. I nursed her back to health with caloric meals, antibiotics, and plenty of love. She is forever a part of my heart and I never would have met her if not for the ACS fostering program. “Foster failing” isn’t the expectation, just a happy accident. My soul mutts from IHS were surrendered in a large litter of puppies after the owner found their care to be too expensive. These 8-week-old adorable pups kept me on my toes, but nothing is better than seeing a healthy puppy drive away with a loving family.
Fostering isn’t just about the animals. This task is intricately woven into the tapestry of human life. While fostering puts a bandage on the issue of overcrowded shelters and under-socialized animals, our society is bleeding. Too many families are forced to surrender a pet due to eviction, homelessness, and poverty. Without addressing the root issues that cause animal abandonment, our job will never be done. You must be just as passionate about human welfare as animal care. One of my favorite foster cases was a cat that needed a safe place to stay while their human found stable housing. The tears of joy during the reunion were a powerful reminder of why I foster.
I encourage every animal-lover to try fostering. People always ask, “How do you give them up?” That’s the easy part. Knowing that I’ve prepared my fosters to love and be loved gives me peace of mind as I hand them off to their happily-ever-after. So, why not foster? Not only are you saving lives, but you may just find your soul mutt. To learn more about fostering, reach out to Sarah on Instagram @foster_babes_ or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Treat you fabulous fosters (and non-fosters) next week!