While I may be known for other things, I’m first and foremost a dog walker and a foster for animals. Fostering is a way that I can not only create room in the shelter but also give personal attention to those needing it. Whether rehabbing the timid, fattening up the starving, helping the sick get healthy or just keeping the healthy that way, whatever it is, I love it!
This year, being the year I get myself healthy and get better organized (totally unrelated tasks by the way) I’m keeping a tally of all my fosters. And as of the date of this writing, in 2013 I’ve had 95 fosters. Almost one for every day of this new year. Not all at once…I’m not that crazy. Cumulatively.
Most of which have of course been puppies and kittens. We try and put the babies in foster as often and as quickly as possible. Not only does it saves space in the shelter but as hard as we try to keep the shelter environment healthy, it’s exceedingly difficult.
The eight kittens I brought home recently were terribly sick when they arrived at our shelter and leaving them in the shelter not only exposed other cats there to their illness but as weak and vulnerable as they were, the shelter was not the healthiest place for them. Quarantined in my guest bathroom, they are recovering and growing but it will still be weeks before they are old enough for adoption. Similarly a week earlier it was a starving litter of puppies that were too young and too sick for adoption and would have filled up sparse space in the shelter.
This is very common and why 95 fosters is so easily and so sadly possible.
These are two of the many unplanned or unintended litters we receive each year. And while one could assume that finding homes for darling puppies and kittens will be easy, that’s a bad assumption when you get thousands each year.
While puppies and kittens are normally the first to be adopted, during the height of puppy and kitten season (there is actually such a season) they can grow up in our shelter. When no longer the tiny balls of fur that spark quick attention and are replaced by other cuter tiny balls of fur, they become less desirable. And as such, less adoptable.
I still recall vividly one June Friday when our intake for that day was 78 animals! Most of which were puppies and kittens. And I assure you that not all of those found homes before they grew older and bigger and not so cute any more.
This is the reality that makes one dream of a low cost spay and neuter clinic where the procedures are so affordable that cost is no longer a plausible excuse. This is the reality that makes us work for years to raise the money to build such a place. And while we are still raising the funds that not only allow us to complete the building but also begin operations, we can’t wait any longer to stop dreaming and start building.
On April 17th, we will celebrate the ground breaking for the construction of our low cost spay/neuter clinic! A clinic open that will be open to everyone. A clinic with a singular goal to reduce the pet overpopulation problem in our community. To stop the unwanted, unplanned puppies and kittens from becoming the innocent victims of this sad state of affairs. But the clinic that also will provide a more affordable and timely service to our shelter and others in the region. Ensuring all pets adopted from shelters are neutered in advance of adoption while accelerating the adoption process are additional HUGE benefits!
So much so, that I’m hoping that maybe one day I’ll miss the bottle babies filling up my bathtub or the kittens scampering around above me in my guest room. I’ll miss the puppies gallivanting around the garage or in the yard on a beautiful summer’s day. But as much as I love it, I would happily give it up because there was no such need.
Because I will never miss watching the people arriving at our shelter on those beautiful spring days toting box loads of kittens and puppies like unwanted trash. I’ll never miss the anguished faces of our staff as they wonder where they’ll find room for these babies that have nowhere else to go. Unwanted or no longer convenient; whatever the cause, the effect is the same. They’re homeless. And now it’s our task to save them. I’ll never miss wondering if we can or the nightmare of having to put innocent animals to sleep because we couldn’t. Never!
So on a happy note I extend an invitation to all to join us at our build site adjacent to the Shelter on 29th street on April 17th at 5:30 p.m. for our groundbreaking ceremony. Where on that day we not only begin to construct the foundation of our clinic, but also begin the foundation of the real solution to pet overpopulation in our community.
When with the turning over of soil, we also turn the dream into reality.
Categories: Shelter Facts