Be The Change – Foster a Pet

by Chris Shaughness (chrisshaughness)

chris2Do you love animals and wish to do something to help the homeless pets? What are you waiting for?! There are soooo many pets just waiting for new homes. If you cannot adopt, please consider being a foster home. Most shelters and rescue groups are begging for people to foster pets, especially now when kitten season is starting (that’s when stray cats give birth to their litters of kittens). The more people who foster animals, the fewer will need to be euthanized because of space constraints.
Some people say that they couldn’t bear to give up their fosters once they have them in their homes, so they won’t even consider fostering. To that I say, “Yes you can – if you really care about the animals.” I just finished a six-month stint as a foster mom to two adorable Basset Hounds. I fell in love with them very quickly. Because they are older (nine and ten) and had to be adopted as a pair, I figured I would have them forever. But lo and behold, an amazing man came along who loves older dogs as much I do. He adopted them on Saturday. My last image of the dogs was this: Zoe had her front paws on the dashboard, gleefully looking out the window towards her new life; Brooks was kissing his dad’s ear as he was trying to drive.

Yes, I cried. Actually, I sobbed with sounds of sorrow coming from deep in my soul. It hurt for a while. Until I received an email that night from the adopter. He already loved the dogs, and they were doing so well. I knew that this man could give them more than what I was able – a fenced in yard, another dog friend, and hamburger for their meals! I had done my job, giving the dogs a place to live until the right home came along, and loving them the whole time. Now it’s time to help another dog or two.

Why do I think you really can be a foster home?
– You’re stronger than you think. Of course it hurts, but the sadness is short-lived.
– The feeling of satisfaction that you made a difference for an animal is sweet. Focusing on that helps to overcome the sadness.
– If you truly love animals, you will walk the talk and help them. Think of their feelings instead of yours.

As I was driving to meet Brooks and Zoe’s new dad, I felt the same emotion as when I had driven a couple of my dogs to the vet to be euthanized. It was going to be a final goodbye. As I felt this sorrow, it occurred to me that a man was driving towards me with just the opposite feeling. He was exhilarated and excited to meet his new friends and begin their journey together. Instead of feeling bad for myself, I thought of how I was facilitating this opportunity for the man and the dogs. By shifting the focus away from me, I was able to go through with giving the dogs up and feel proud of myself.

Life is often better if we think of how others will feel instead of only ourselves. With fostering animals, they will feel good and so will you. Here’s the last and only photo I have of me with Brooks and Zoe. I’ll love you always!