By Mary Janak
Paco the chihuahua has an all-time special place in Wendy Alcorn’s heart! Wendy, his DFL foster mom, says, “Paco was at DFL a very long time because he was very opinionated about who should get to touch him. We found him a great home! The folks that adopted him still send me pictures and updates about him five years later.”
Wendy’s stories as a foster mom “started about seven years ago with a beautiful orange mama cat and her seven newborn kittens. Who could say no to that??”
Since then, Wendy has fostered about 200 pets–cats, dogs, puppies, ailing rats and “innumerable ‘transition’ kittens after fellow foster moms with even more fortitude got them through the bottle-baby stage!”
Wendy’s foster pets have had such a variety of physical and behavioral needs that this article can’t even begin to scratch the surface. Dogs with behavior problems were her main focus for a long time.
“Each animal is unique. You need to really pay attention to what they are telling you they need, whether it’s to be left alone to adjust for a while, cuddled and comforted or something else entirely.”
What Wendy enjoys most about being a foster parent is that it “feels great to be able to nurture and socialize an animal so both the animal and the person who adopts it will be happy together with minimal adjustment time.”
She says being a foster parent “is an incredibly rewarding experience–seeing an animal go to a loving home because of the work you’ve done to make them adoptable. It’s always bitter-sweet when they are adopted, but animals are amazingly adaptable and will bond with their new pet-parents quickly.”
Wendy did succumb to the “risk” of fostering. Her own three pets are “foster fails.” She adopted Willy, an American Eskimo, a couple of years ago at age 12–“he’s deaf and was brought in because he wouldn’t stop barking.” Then Whisper, a cattle dog mix confiscated with about 40 other dogs by the Colorado Humane Society, “liked it at my house and decided she wasn’t going to leave!” And Simon, a very large black kitty of indeterminate age, who was one of her very first DFL foster animals, “fit into my household so well I thought he just needed to stay.”
Willy, Whisper and Simon help socialize all of Wendy’s fosters, each in their own unique way. “They are very good and patient about accepting all the new fur babies that come into our lives.”
In addition to their support, “we have wonderful people working in the Foster department who are extremely helpful! Also, over time you tend to develop a network of fellow foster parents who are always supportive and are a wealth of knowledge and experience.”
Wendy also volunteers several days a week to walk dogs, do laundry and help with whatever else might need an extra pair of hands to help the DFL family she loves so much stay healthy and going strong!
Have a story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it, click here to share your story!