Short-term Pets Bring
Why would someone take four, 14 or 40 pets into their home each year to care for them, knowing that once the animals are old enough or healthy enough, they’ll be returned to our shelters for adoption?
“Why wouldn’t they?” is the attitude of our Homes with Hearts foster volunteers. Here’s what some of our “foster fans” say about helping prepare shelter pets for their forever homes—and about why it’s one of the most rewarding things they’ve ever done.
Nate & Lisa VanRaemdonck
Started fostering in 2011
Nate says they got hooked on fostering after taking home four unsocialized kittens and giving them two weeks of clicker training, attention and affection—which resulted in all four being quickly adopted.
Is it difficult to return your foster pets to the shelter for adoption?
Lisa and I definitely get attached to the animals, but part of the mindset is we’re giving them a chance. People ask if we’re tempted to adopt our fosters, but our philosophy is that the more pets we add to the household, the less we’re going to be able to foster. It’s better to have a photo album of foster success stories than another pet or two in the house. And it’s really uplifting to talk about those stories to family and friends—the good memories and the good feelings that come with them.
What do you tell people who say they’re too busy to volunteer?
I used to feel the same way, but now I can’t imagine not volunteering at the Dumb Friends League. It’s something I look forward to every Tuesday. Lisa and I are both busy, full-time professionals, but this is our escape from the insanity of the rest of the world. Those three hours a week—it’s our therapy.
How would you describe volunteering at the Dumb Friends League?
The experience at the League is so amazing in terms of the training program and the attention they give to volunteers. Everyone is so open and willing to help.
Michelle Vandenbos Callender
Started fostering in 2003
I’ve been a volunteer and kitten foster mom for more than eight years now. Socializing, hand feedings, giving sick babies medicine, baths, extra laundry, litter-pan duty and TONS of cuddle time! I LOVE every second of it! Please help any way you can. It’s good medicine for the soul, my friends!
Started fostering in 2010
When I found out you could take a pet into your home, I was a sophomore in college and I couldn’t commit to having a pet. So it was a great opportunity for me to have a pet without having to make that commitment. It doesn’t cost anything, and it really isn’t a lot of work. By getting the animals off-site, I can help a shelter in need and give them the space they don’t have. The go-to thing I always tell myself when I do kind of get attached to the animals is that I could save one life by adopting, but by fostering, I can save hundreds.
Started fostering in 2008
You do not give of yourself when you foster, you are blessed by the experience. You do it for the animals and you are rewarded by their contentment.
Started fostering in 2002
The most common question I get from people about fostering is, “But isn’t it hard to give the kittens back?” At first it was, but I have discovered that the excitement of picking up a new group of kittens every month made up for the sadness of giving up the older kittens. I tell people it’s like having a monthly “Kitten Subscription.”
Started fostering in 2005
Fostering is such a rewarding experiencing! I have been fostering for about six years. My daughters and I started out fostering puppies, and it was a great experience that we all enjoyed. The puppies were from all different situations and all different breeds. As our confidence grew, we took on moms and puppies. We have had four litters born in our house with 100 percent success. It is such a wonderful experience to watch them grow from a newborn puppy to 8 weeks old! The moms do all of the work for several weeks and then it is time to socialize the puppies. This includes lots of play time and many puppy kisses (a tough job, but someone has to do it!).
Certainly fostering has lots of challenges and takes quite a bit of time and energy, but the foster staff at the Dumb Friends League are a great help and very supportive. They give you supplies, food, medicine and great advice in order to care for the puppies. It is such a fun, exciting and very rewarding experience ... truly priceless!