By Bethe Almeras, WHS Adoptions Volunteer & Foster Human
This post is part of a series on fostering shelter animals. I wanted to give people a glimpse into what it is like to foster and how important it is to both animals and communities. And really, what better way to do that than going straight to the source? There are lots of ways you can support your local foster program -- become a foster "human" yourself, donate money or needed supplies, help provide transport to spay/neuter clinics, or take on other volunteer jobs. Help save lives -- get involved in fostering! In the DC area, visit the Washington Humane Society for more information.
How long have you been fostering: 10 months
How many animals have you fostered: 15 (One 6-mo old puppy, two mama cats with eight kittens and three other kittens and one 2-yr old cat)
What type of place do you live: I live in a rowhouse
Bethe: What made you decided to foster, and how did you get connected with Washington Humane Society (WHS)?
Kristina: For the first foster it was summer and I could see myself taking a foster dog for walks. WHS has a tricked-out camper van (Adopt Force One) which I saw a year earlier at a local grocery store, so that’s how I knew of WHS.
Bethe: What has been the most rewarding part of fostering for you? And on the flipside, the most difficult?
Kristina: Really you join part of the WHS team. Prepare yourself; they are a knowledgeable and hard working team.
Bethe: It's easy to see what the animals get out of fostering, but what benefits have you received since becoming a foster "human"?
Kristina: With the first foster dog, I felt a sense of accomplishment in getting him ready to be adopted. The dog definitely protected me on walks too. The other benefits include specialty training and learning from other fosters. I should mention that my supervisor and coworkers see me in a new light since fostering.
Kristina: I just think of what’s best for the cat or dog. For example, I have three family members who have animal dander allergies. I’ve also applied to jobs in other cities. So would it be fair to the animal if I had to change its life for these things? I ask myself that.
Some of the foster experiences will really test your patience. So, even though you care about your foster, you won’t get that attached to some of them.
Finally, in my case, if I had adopted an early foster cat or dog, I would have missed out meeting some of the awesome more recent ones, like Cow Cat, (he was a fun foster that got adopted a few weeks ago).
Bethe: OK, I end WHS interviews with this question: if you were an animal, what breed would you be?
Kristina: Maybe a Samoyed, good question.
Guest Blogger Bio: Bethe Almeras is an educator and blogger as well as an animal welfare advocate. She is a Volunteer Adoptions Counselor at the Washington Humane Society New York Avenue Adoption Center and a total sucker for senior kitties. Bethe is the proud human of the dashing and brilliant WHS alumnus, Mr. Kitty and WHS foster failure Tidbit, the silliest, sassiest one-eyed tortie in all the land. You can follow Bethe's critter-friendly feed on Twitter at @Balmeras. And yes, she has totally embraced her crazy cat lady status.
To learn more about how to get involved in the foster program, or to sign up, go to www.washhumane.org/foster.