Four-legged Babies Need Foster Families Too…
When you have a sister who is the director of the Utah Humane Society, you foster a lot of animals.
Kitties, bunnies, an arthritic chihuahua with his leg in a cast… the list goes on. Finding “foster families” to help is important- because whether the animal is too young to go out on the floor for adoption, too sick, recovering from an injury, the clinic just doesn’t have enough room for these extra-needy little fellas. (There were over 3,000 animals at the UHS alone last year who needed foster care.) This is where a foster family comes in. You care for the animals at your place until they’re ready to be adopted. Along the way, you help the creature get used to humans by holding them and loving on them relentlessly so that by the time they’re ready for adoption, they’re super adorable.
Adorable is important, because your little foster baby is competing against dozens of other pets for adoption. Helping them put their best paw forward (sorry, my 8-year-old is cracking up over that pitiful little joke) gives them the best shot at an immediate adoption with a great family.
We hosted our first bunch of scraggly-looking kitties when my Zoe was only 4. She adored them. She loved on them relentlessly to the point that they’d look over her shoulder at me, pleading for rescue. Which I ignored. Zoe rubbed them on the face of our poor dog, Gille. (That dog is a saint.) Since then, my indomitable daughter has harrassed countless litters into civility, I’m proud to say every one of her creatures has been adopted the first day they were put out in a cage. The experience has taught our daughter about patience, empathy, and the ability to not throw up when a sick puppy throws up on her. (It happens. We go through a lot of cleaning spray and kitty litter.) I worried about how she’d handle sending the first batch back, but she was great- she gave them all a pep talk and told them it was time to, “Find your forever family. Now put yourselves out there! You can do it!”
My sister – who has a flexible moral compass when it comes to luring us into another foster episode – sent me a photo of three baby kittens.
“Ready for some kitty action?”
I texted, “Sure, Zoe’s excited.”
Turns out the pickup included three additional kitties.
“You told me three!” I texted.
Juli was unsympathetic. “You should have looked at the photo more closely. Sucker.”
So, now we’re buried in six squalling kittens. And it’s wonderful. Hopefully, my manipulative photos of our current adorable, fluffy kitties have given you a desire to foster, too. For the Utah Humane Society, reach them here. The National Humane Society can help you find your closest shelter here. (Editor’s note: this is Jimmy, my favorite. He loves to sleep on his back to expose his delightfully chubby belly and his pink paws. Admit it. You’re on Cuteness Overload right now, aren’t you?)
(All images provided by Naomi Garrow)