These Foster Families Hope You’ll Join Them in the Fight to Save Adoptable Animals
by Barb Natividad
Pet-lovers often wonder what kind of people are able to foster pets who are waiting for permanent homes. The answer: people just like you.
Her kids got Stephanie Anctil, who fosters dogs, involved as a foster parent. “My children wanted another dog. I was afraid they would lose interest, and I would end up caring for a new dog. So my cousin, Nikki Senecal, who works in communications with ACDC, suggested that we try fostering dogs instead. This way, my kids could get to experience many different dogs and see how much work is involved.”
Laurie Marshall, who fosters rabbits, also began fostering at the behest of her children: in her case, her daughter had a high school community service requirement. Laurie and her family had never had pets before–and Laurie points out that fostering can be a great fit for families that are currently pet-free. “Fostering is the perfect solution for people who don’t want a permanent pet. A big concern for parents is that kids will lose interest in a pet and then the parents have to take care of it. That is far less of a problem when fostering, plus a family can get a realistic sense of what’s involved in caring for a pet. I love the flexibility of being able to take a break between foster rabbits if needed, too.”
Fostering is also a great way for kids to learn about responsibility towards animals; Laurie’s daughter now pet sits for other rabbit owners. Even four-legged family members can get involved. Stephanie’s eight-year-old dog, Jet, is an important part of her family’s fostering solution. “Jet models good behavior on walks, in the car. He will correct the puppies much like a mother dog would.”
The time commitment for fostering is less than people might expect, says Kim Butler, who fosters cats and has been doing so for thirty years (even before she joined ACDC). She fosters cats while also caring for her own pets, although she keeps her own animals separate from the fosters. It may sound like she lives in a mansion, but Kim points out “you don’t need a lot of space for cats.”
So, if anyone can be a good fosterer, what makes someone successful at it? On that, Stephanie, Laurie, and Kim all agree: a good foster parent is someone who cares about animals, wants to be involved with them, and is willing to be patient, responsible, and consistent as they work with their new pets.
And these three foster parents also agree that the satisfaction that comes from seeing them adopted into a permanent home is ample reward. As Stephanie says, “It’s very rewarding when you make a good match between owner and dog and see a great friendship begin. My children have become attached to a few of our fosters, but once they meet the loving adoptive families, the kids are excited for the dog and his new family.” And Kim agrees, “the best part of fostering is finding a new home for the animals, and getting thank you e-mails from the new adopters.”
Interested in fostering an adoptable cat, dog, or rabbit? Attend ACDC’s information session September 10, 6:30 pm at the Newtown Square Library. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org