We continue our behind-the-scenes coverage of animal rescue with a look at our foster care network. Ever wonder how we have all those adorable puppies and kittens? Watch to find out! Be ready for CUTENESS OVERLOAD! We’ll also update you on the abandoned dogs we rescued from the home of an elderly woman who died. Considered a ‘hoarding’ case, there were more than 50 dogs in the home at the time of her passing.
Our foster parents provide:
- An extension of space so we can take in more pets than our shelter will hold…
- Special attention to pets with medical issues…
- A cozy place for pregnant cats and dogs to deliver and nurse their babies…
- A quiet and safe environment to regain confidence and trust…
- And Behavioral training.
Our fosters take on the challenge of home care during medical testing and recovery. They stay in close contact with the medical team and adoption center while fostering. Fosters provide updates to staff on eating habits, medical conditions, and behavioral progress.
Why do our volunteers participate in fostering?
We asked, and here’s what they told us:
- “I love dogs and have the time to make a difference in their lives.”
- “It saves lives.”
- “They need us.”
- “I want to save them all!”
- “They deserve a chance to have a wonderful life with a family who loves them.”
- “The look of love in their eyes with the love that they give you is immensely rewarding and uplifts m y spirit…to foster is to receive love in pure form.”
- “Every animal deserves a chance to live and to know what it means to be loved.”
- “Someone must! Its how we save these sweet fur babies.”
- “They deserve a chance and to have a forever family. And all they know is unconditional love.”
- “My rescue dogs saved my life and I now want to save their lives and then they can save someone’s life. It’s the circle of love!”
- “Because I can’t save them all, only one or a litter at a time…”
It’s not always easy though.
Some fosters recount especially difficult cases:
“Easy Skippy! He was scared of me for maybe 5 minutes. Then he ran the house. The problem was he had a fractured hip and had to stay calm! Then he wanted to jump on the couch and run around the backyard. As bad as he was for not staying calm he healed nicely. It was very hard to give that sweet face back. But he got a wonderful forever home.”
“The hardest case for us by far was our V kittens 3 1/2 years ago. Four motherless kittens, three of them died in our arms. The fourth one, Vivi, survived and we adopted her and she is queen of the house now. We made a tribute video for them and I still sometimes cry.”
“Our toughest case was a male dog the League called Baxter. His master had died and apparently the wife didn’t care for the dog and kept him caged most of the time. He was a purebred, beautiful dog, but had extreme separation anxiety, and the most bizarre actions. He would run around and around in circles, defecating and barking and crying if let off the leash. All of our other fosters had resulted in success, and I kept thinking that Baxter would be better after a few weeks of love and exercise. My husband would take him on fast walks which Baxter enjoyed, but as soon as he got home the circling and barking would begin again! The only place he would be calm and quiet was in his kennel, or if he was leashed tightly to me. He went everywhere in the house with me! After two weeks of neglecting my own dogs and not being successful at changing Baxter’s behaviors I took him back to the shelter. I felt like a failure…
However, in a short time he was adopted by a young man who worked from home and would have plenty of time to spend with Baxter. Seemed like a perfect match! The last we heard, they were getting along well.”
“One tough case I took in was a group of seven, 4 week old puppies without a mom. They came in with fleas, were very tiny for the size they eventually became, and had a horrific case of hookworms. Even with treatment for the worms, they were not doing well, especially the runt ‘Freddie’. Eventually Freddie quit eating and was fading away. I would hold him in my lap and very slowly feed him food and water through a syringe several times a day. Even though he really did not want to take the food, he would still look me in the eye and wag his tiny little tail. I was prepared to face that he would not make it. A second diagnosis of Coccidia came in and treatment for that was started. Freddie made it, because he never gave up when I was trying to help him. Once he got better, he would jump in my lap as soon as I sat down, put his paws around my neck and give me puppy kisses. It was as if he was grateful.”
People often ask us, “from where do you get all of your puppies and kittens?”
Sometimes we knowingly rescue pregnant cats and dogs.
From the hoarding group, we suspected two dogs to be pregnant, and then… Jelly Belly had 4 babies. There’s also Honey Bun who had five babies…There are two more from the hoarding group who we suspect to be in the early stages of pregnancy, Ice Cream and Godiva.
Sometimes we might find a newborn litter in a cardboard box on our doorstep.
Fosters bottle feed them, keep them warm, and nurture them as a momma would for many weeks until old enough to be adopted…
We also rescue pregnant cats and dogs from being euthanized at a county shelter.
Litters are costly, however…
Every dog and cat we rescue requires medical treatment ranging from $450-$2,000.00 each.
Our standard intake care includes:
- a physical exam by a vet
- medical tests for diseases
- flea and tick preventatives
- a microchip
- and spay/neuter.
But sometimes we have to also treat…
- Skin conditions
- Feline Leukemia
- Flea and tick infestations
- Eye and ear infections
- Dental issues
- Broken bones
- Kennel cough
The Sunshine Fund allows us to afford all of this medical treatment…
There’s more we want to show you…stay tuned for our next video, where we’ll take you behind the scenes of managing an animal shelter.
To all our fosters, we love you and thank you for your dedication to The Animal League…