If you have been following my blog for the past few months, you know I finally decided to try my hand at fostering. I’m not quite at the stage where I am ready to adopt my own cat yet since the loss of my sweet Dusty however I know my heart is healing with time.
Speaking of healing, one instrumental part about fostering that I DID expect was bonding with my foster. Remember when I told you about my first foster buddy Spuds? And then we met Stubby? Well I have some great news to share since the last time I updated you on my fostering adventures. After a few months of fostering, we have success! Not only was one of my fosters adopted, I’ll share seven lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Stubby the shy charmer.
The last time I updated you on Stubby I mentioned his past about coming from a hoarding situation and he was very skittish but gaining confidence daily. True to form, he continued to gain confidence daily and then crave his freedom by wandering out and about from his crate. He eventually never returned to his crate and found solace by the window sill or on our couch.
As he grew more confident, he ventured into unchartered waters…the bedroom. Once declared, “off limits” by my husband, Stubby’s charm worked his magic and my husband caved in. Stubby was able to jump on the bed and rest and chill.
As 2 ½ months passed and Stubby’s confidence grew we could clearly see more of what we loved about him in the first place. He’s a chill cat who likes his yarn and bottle caps too! Stubby is not a swatter or biter, he’s mellow and a cool cat. He’s chunky and adorable with big eyes that can surely melt your heart.
Tugging on the heart-strings.
He began to give light kisses, slow eye blinks and allowed us to give head scratches to his delight. Stubby also showed his affection with leg rubs against our legs while sitting or just sit near us while watching TV. He still had to adjust to the idea of sudden movements but with time I know he will adjust.
I think if more time passed with him at home, I would have succumbed and kept him myself. One thing that I discovered is that Stubby reminded me of the best traits of my last two cats Precious and Dusty. Stubby had big round eyes and a calm demeanor like my sweet Dusty and the tabby pattern and build like my first love Precious. It was such a pleasure having him home with us.
Then a holiday event notice!
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Are you ready to adopt? Don't have any plans this weekend? Do you live in the NJ/NY area? Spread the word! You're invited to the Pet Super Holiday Adoption Event held at the Meadowlands in Secaucus, NJ Dec. 8-9th. Stubby and Spuds will be there. This event is organized by Best Friends. For more details about this event and Stubby and Spuds personality visit https://impurrfectlife.com/holiday-pet-super-adoption-event/ or use the link in the profile. Help make a furry friend's wish come true and give them a living forever home this holiday. #adoptdontshop #holidays #events #newjersey #cats #dogs #petadoption #animalrescue #impurrfectlife
And then just as Stubby’s getting nice and settled in, we are reminded why we do what we do in the first place…adoption is the goal. This past weekend Best Friends organization in partner with several other animal rescues, had their annual Super Pet Holiday Adoption event Dec 8th-9th. Spuds and Stubby were slated to be in attendance which meant I had to say goodbye to my boy last week. It was bittersweet but ended on a good note.
Good news…Stubby’s been adopted!
After I dropped Stubby off at the animal rescue mid-week in preparation for the weekend adoption event, I returned home and immediately missed his chunky face and paws in the house.
With Stubby gone and an impending adoption mega event happening I just hoped for the best and posted about this event in hopes someone would be interested.
Saturday came and the weekend was just getting started when I got an alert on my phone. “Hi Kamira. I just want you to know…Stubby’s been adopted!”
Yes! Just in time for the holidays, Stubby had found his forever home with a lady from the Big Apple.
I was so overjoyed and yet saddened at the same time. I’m happy for Stubby but sad to see his sweet face go. I know it’s for the best and again, that’s the point of fostering…to save lives!
7 Life lessons learned after almost 3 months of fostering
So here is where my life lessons come into play. I’ve only been a foster mom for a short time yet, I’ve learned so much. Here are just a few lessons I’ve learned from fostering my two boys Spuds and Stubby.
1) Sometimes fostering doesn’t go as planned and you have to return your foster buddy.
Remember when I wrote my post, “What happened to Spuds?” Well I’ve learned that sometimes stuff happens beyond your control and it may involve getting medical attention. And that’s okay. If you have to return your foster pet it’s not a fail, it’s just a different journey to adoption with a pit stop along the way. Resolving any issues and needs of your foster pet takes priority. Having a healthy and socially adjusted pet is in the best interest of all involved.
2) Have zero expectations
Meeting Stubby was great but bringing him home we made our mistakes in making assumptions. Lesson learned, don’t make assumptions, take proper precautions (especially with valuables or home decor you treasure). It’s best to keep out of sight if possible, so not to get ruined. Luckily for us any issues with urinating or marking the house was cleared up with vinegar and detergent.
3) Bond beware
Of course, this is why many fosters are fails! A bond is formed! If you are thinking of fostering, just come to grips with the fact that there is a high probability that a strong bond will form with your foster buddy.
Now with that in mind, will you have the ability to let go when the time comes? In my case I was successful however if the adoption event happened next year, I’m not so sure my foster success would have happened.
4) Patience is a virtue!
Patience is a must. Also having empathy and the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your foster helps. Think about where they are coming from.
Also keep in mind how you would react to some of the situations they are dealing with. (ie: Locked in a cage for all their life, no freedom, anxious, scared).
Having empathy and patience while training your fosters to become more socialized is key.
5) Foster pets are resilient.
One thing I know to be true since fostering is seeing the strength and courage develop from both my foster boys. They both were so scared and introverted at first when I brought them home.
With patience, time and encouragement their personalities blossomed. Their confidence increased and they began to come into their own. Their display of resilience despite their past, was truly inspiring. We as humans can take a note. Don’t allow your past to define who you want to become in the future.
6) Fostering keeps you active and happy.
As you know, my cat Dusty passed away in 2015 and although I haven’t adopted my own cat again yet, I knew that being around animals and helping them was part of my purpose. I wrote about my thoughts on why I think fostering a pet is a good idea in a prior blog post.
Well, it took a long time until the timing was right, but I stayed true to my word and took action to get involved with volunteering with People for Animals and fostering. It has been the best decision ever!
Fostering cats helped me lift my mood. It made my house feel like a home again. I get a chance to save lives and feed my soul with purpose at the same time. There is no amount of money that can make you feel fulfilled when you are fulfilling your passions. “Can I get an Amen?!”
I also realized that fostering reintroduced me to the idea of having a morning and evening routine. I had to get my rear in gear and be sure to get fresh water, litter and food ready to go. It also helped me get more active around the house with cleaning and also getting involved with playtime.
Lastly, playing with my foster buddies sparked my creative side with making play toys they could use daily for exercise.
7) Fostering saves lives
Last but not least, the point of it all is that fostering helps to save lives. For every animal you are able to foster at home, that means there is one more space available in a shelter to keep other animals from being euthanized.
Fostering and also spaying & neutering your pets helps the overpopulation issue in our nation and around the world. I happened to choose fostering as a way to get involved in the community as well as help find healing after pet loss and showing love and compassion to another being.
What can you do to help?
What about you? Not interested in fostering but still want to help? You can donate items from your house or volunteer your time to help!
Nonprofit organizations, like People for Animals and many other shelters often need things like cleaning supplies, old towels, blankets and other office supplies to help keep costs down and things running. Donations are always welcome too.
Another great resource to try to find volunteer opportunities is on Volunteer Match. They have both physical and virtual opportunities working from home.
So that’s what I’ve learned so far after almost three months of fostering. I’ve learned a lot and still expect to keep learning. Will I foster again now that Stubby is gone? Hell yeah!
Thanks for taking this journey with me and learning the world of fostering and all its ups and downs. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on who will be my next foster buddy in a future blog post.
Let me know about your foster experience? What would say is the greatest lesson you’ve learned while fostering? Share your thoughts in the comments below.