Monday, October 22, 2012

How To Become a Foster (Fur)Parent in 10 Easy Steps

By Volunteer (and foster mom): Susan Gottfried 
 
My journey into rescue began, really, in the spring of 1994. My sister, the vet, called me. She was still in vet school at the time and I was finishing up graduate school. For my graduation present, she was going to adopt me a kitten, one of the many who were given to the vet school with the instruction: adopt it out, or put it down.

Sister-the-Vet debated on various kittens, but in the end, she picked a Devon Rex for me. When she called to tell me about him, she mentioned that he had a sister and, if no one else claimed her, I was going to have two.

I didn't argue...much. And sure enough, I soon got a phone call: "I have your kittens!"

Sister-the-Vet fostered my kittens until I moved back to Pittsburgh. For her, they were merely the latest occupants of her foster room. She was saving lives, and I vowed that one day, I'd do the same thing.

It was when that second kitten, the one I originally wasn't going to have, succumbed at age 16, after a six-year battle with Irritable Bowel Disorder that I called Animal Friends. Without his sister, Cooper was desolate. Fostering, I thought, would give him some companionship. After all, he'd never known life as an only cat. 


Unfortunately, I was still going through the training when Cooper died, literally, of a broken heart.
But that's when things got good. I fostered two adult cats before adopting two more kittens at an Animal Friends kitten shower. Lucy and Milo now share their home with me and my two kids and a host of foster kitties. 


At first, my foster room was my home office, complete with a spiffy screen door. Then, as life changed, a second home office turned into my new foster room. A better one, where I didn't have to inhale litter pan fumes all day. The downside, though, was that I didn't get to have the foster baby (or babies, as the case often was) in the room with me. On the other hand, the things in my office tend to stay put.

Over the next few weeks, months, or beyond, I'll bring you the adventures of a foster mom. I'm no one special, just a published writer and freelance book editor. I'm not a cat behavoralist, although I'd learn to be, and despite medicating a cat daily for six years, I'm not a trained vet tech. I'm just a cat lover with room in my home and my heart to help the cause.

So I invite you to join me as I introduce you to my cast of foster babies, all feline, and all wonderful and amazing. And, as soon as I return them to the shelter from the comfort of my house (and bed and couch), all adoptable.

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