Why do you foster?

by Hilary Bentley • Posted in: Foster

Austin Pets Alive! has 671 pets in foster. This amazing number made us wonder… what makes people foster? What drives them to take in a life, love it, care for it, feed it, train it, and then go through the inevitable heartache of letting go…

For most, it’s the simple fact of saving a life, for some it’s the feeling of joy and pride at helping a dog, severely ill with distemper, come back from the brink of death to take its second chance at a happy life, many are enthralled by the magic of a momma cat acting as a surrogate mom to abandoned kittens, some foster to carry on the legacy of a their own rescue pet who was also considered “unadoptable” and just needed someone to believe in it.

We’d like to ask our outstanding fosters why they foster. It may seem like a strange thing to ask, why would we even dare question them! But, the answers just make it even more obvious why fostering can be one of the most rewarding events of anyone’s life.

Why do you foster?

If you’re not currently taking part in the amazing experience of fostering and what to give it a go: e-mail email hidden; JavaScript is required or visit our website and fill out an application: http://www.austinpetsalive.org/get-involved/foster/

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13 Responses to "Why do you foster?"

  1. Lisasays: July 13, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I foster dogs because I believe everyone should have a dog and my foster dogs have simply not been found by their forever owners yet. Dogs are always happy to see you. They are so funny to watch. They will come sit next you when you are sick or troubled. They are good company when you are alone. Dogs will join in your fun. They want to be with you. Each dog I foster is meant for a certain person or family. I am just the caretaker of these pets until they are found and adopted by those people. The people the dog will love forever. I foster dogs as a service to the new owners, not just the animal.

  2. Lindsay O'Gansays: July 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Fostering is the most rewarding thing I think I’ve ever done – going to the shelter and getting that cat out of its cage, knowing that instead of being carried to the euthanasia room you are carrying her home, giving her a soft bed, kind words, some food and water, and watching her go from a scared, depressed, abandoned cat to a happy, playful, energetic kitty… it is just unbelievable the resilience of these animals and their desire to stay alive and love humans despite their often difficult pasts.

    Personally I prefer fostering very sick cats, the ones that most people say “probably should be put down” but that APA says “lets give him a chance”.

    I remember Womack, so sick with the flu he couldn’t eat or breath through his nose. We would sit together in the bathroom with him on my lap while I squirted food in his mouth to make him eat. And he hated it, but he put up with it because he was so happy to be sitting in my lap. He would have put up with anything so long as you were holding and petting him. And I would cry and beg that cat to eat, and he would just look at me with those big eyes and for some reason I knew that although he wouldn’t eat right then, that he wanted to live and was willing to try if I was.

    After two weeks of force feeding, medicine, the works, Womack could breath through his nose, and he ate breakfast one morning. And after that breakthrough, he couldn’t eat enough. He got better and got adopted. And even 1 year later writing this story I get teary eyed, because I loved that cat and I’m just so glad he is alive and so grateful that APA was there to help make that happen.

  3. Faith Wrightsays: July 13, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Wow…why do I foster? I foster because every single one of the approximately 50 pups I have fostered now would have been dead if not for me and my family agreeing to help. I take the baby bottle babies, the ones with prolapsed colons, the ones with major reconstructive surgery needed, the post parvos, and the emaciated needy ones. I spend countless hours bottle feeding, nursing them back to health, etc. but I never once feel put out by it because the unconditional love they give me back is simply amazing. I hear people say how lucky each puppy was to have me…it is the other way around. Each puppy has impacted me in a profound and amazing way. Each puppy has filled my heart with even more love than I knew I could fit in there. It is not easy loving them so much and then sending them on to their forever home. BUT…it is the happiest times for me when I get updates, see them, their pics, etc. and get to see how happy and healthy they are now. Being a foster is the MOST REWARDING part of my life!!!

  4. Jasonsays: July 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I foster because i adopted my best friend Trigger from a foster home and want to return the favor. I try to only foster pit bulls b/c i know that they can be great if given love in a great home, and that can only help the breed get past its awful media created image. I love pit bulls and so many need a home i feel its my duty to the breed to save as many as i can. Be a voice for the voiceless…

  5. shoreyrsays: July 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I foster baby kittens because they don’t have anyone else, and the BB team is so dedicated, supportive and loving to each kitten saved and each foster who picks a litter of babies to foster. They are tiny and cute and sweet…and provide endless entertainment!

    I foster pups because my own dog loves the companionship, but I am unable to adopt another dog at this time. The dog foster coordinator & dog foster manager are so helpful, honest & supportive. I also feel such a profound emotional connection with dogs, especially the post-parvo puppies.

    The thing about the orphaned baby kittens and the dogs that makes me want to do it is that they are so dependent on having people to help them live. It’s so rewarding to see these animals make that turn to recovery and begin to thrive. And to know that I am a part of that makes it so worthwhile.

  6. Rachael M.says: July 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    My husband says he fosters because I tell him to. :)

    We foster because we fall in love with every dog, puppy and family that stays with us. And although fostering means eventually letting go, every foster has a special place in my heart, forever.

    Our adopters always say they don’t know how we can do it, but after meeting the wonderful, sweet, funny, loving dogs we’ve shared our homes with, I don’t know how we could not foster.

  7. cathybsays: July 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    We foster because they all need a chance and because we can’t have 100 of our own dogs ;)

    We foster because they need us…nothing more to it, without APA’s foster program these dogs just would not be alive!

  8. Dee Licioussays: July 13, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I foster and bottle feed kittens because I believe that every one of the little beings deserve a decent shot at a happy life. I’m gracious and appreciative of my success in life and I feel inspired to help others along their path. I’ve always been a cat person but the first time I bottle fed a tiny kitten, I knew that was the area where I wanted to focus. There is something so emotional and fulfilling about the way they look up at you with such trust and innocence after they just chugged a bottle of milk. You are their mother and source of life and it makes me feel like I am making a real difference in bettering the world. I think humans so often feel like we cant really change the injustice in life or relieve suffering but for that moment when that kitten looks up at you contentedly after feeding or when you foster them from sickly patients to healthy bouncy kittens ready for adoption, you know that you’ve done something important and life changing. :)

    I do it for Techno, Isa and Promise (special kitties from the past and present). :)

  9. Jen G.says: July 13, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I foster puppies for APA! cuz there’s no better feeling that giving people puppies! I cry when each one of them goes home and I get excited like a kid on Christmas when I pick up a new litter. And I love all the noise they make and the first time they sit, when they fall asleep in my lap or run to me when they get scared. I love when they squeak their toys and run around the backyard. I love bathing them and fussing over them, assuring them life is just gonna get so much better than it was at the shelter. And I love my foster “failure” – he’s a great dog and I would never have met him or loved him or put him in my family photos if I hadn’t fostered him.

  10. Lenasays: July 14, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I foster dogs because I think we as people owe it to them since it’s people who breed dogs. They exist because of us, we owe it to them to do right by them and let them live out their lives. I do this because I’ve realized that there are so many cowardly people who abandon their pets and more cowardly people who can’t handle the slight additional effort involved in caring for a pet and would rather watch tv at home and lament about the problem than go to the shelter and rescue an animal. If no one steps up to undo the damage that so many others cause by breeding irresponsibly and by abandoning their pets, then the euthanasia epidemic could never end. I foster because I’d rather be part of the solution than the problem.

  11. Clara K. Showaltersays: July 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I foster for the joy of having a 6 week old kitten fling himself into my face to rub noses. FLING, pace across chest, FLING, pace back across chest, flop across my neck and PURR.

    I foster for that moment where a scared, sick cat first stretches her head out, asking for a chin scratch. She’s not sure she’ll get it, but she trust me enough to ask. There’s that first contact of skin to fur, followed by a deep purr as she realizes I’m not here to hurt her.

    I foster for that painful moment where you have to say good bye, holding on to a small paw to let him know he not alone, that he’s okay, and that I love him.

    I foster for that moment of discovery when a tiny kitten figures out that a bottle means food! There’s that second where the eyes get wide, a tiny purr builds up, and then the ears start wiggling with glee.

    I foster because there’s nothing out there that makes me more aware of the joy that life brings.

  12. Alicia Jsays: July 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    My husband’s dog of 14 years died just a couple of hours after we got back from our honeymoon. It was a very painful healing process for both us and my dog/her companion. We’d been talking a lot leading up to that about fostering “someday when John Coltrane died,” not realizing that was right around the corner. We picked up sick, snotty, sleepy, stumbling Frannie just a few days later. Through her love for us and her love for our pup, we were all able to heal. For that, we’re eternally grateful and will always be there to help any dog we can.

    Also, it’s really nice to have a new furry friend every month or so without the long-term commitment. And it gives my Abby a new best friend to play with every time a new one comes home!

  13. Thelmasays: July 24, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I fostered for 3 years. It was the most rewarding experience I have ever had. Even though it felt like I had been run over by a truck every time I had to give them up I knew it was for the best. I knew they would find their forever homes, a family to call their own. I fostered mainly cats, kittens, mamas, kittens without mamas and anyone that just needed more time and tlc. I used to call it my kitten therapy, come home from a long day at work and sit in the kitten room. No way you could sit there and not smile and laugh! No money can buy that kind of therapy and nothing can compare to the happiness they gave me. They gave back to me way more than I ever gave to them. All they wanted was food, water and love. When it was time for them to move on I always had to tell myself if I didn’t give them up I wouldn’t have room to help more. My favorite saying in the world became “Saving one animal won’t change the world, but the world will change for that one animal…” I only hope that I made a little dent of a difference.