We all love our pets and while watching them grow to become an individual, it is nice to reminisce about their younger days. The potty training, the half-eaten shoe, or the nibbles on my toes at night somehow become pleasant memories. Now they are all grown and my house is full, but I still have more love to give. Therefore, I now foster to give others the proper stepping stones to fill someone else’s house and heart. I am still able to get the joy of when my animals were young, but through my fostering experience.
Animals can go into a foster home for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they just need a little more socialization or attention, or maybe they need some extra care for medical reasons. There are times when an animal is sick and does not recover. Along the way of the seventy-something animals I have had the joy of fostering, some were lost. My heart was broken, and I said to myself that I would never foster again. But walking through the shelter day after day, I still find the need to love more. Picking myself up after the sadness and despair of losing something I was nurturing somehow becomes easier. It is clearer that there is a greater good to what I am doing then just how I am feeling at the moment of my loss. Sometimes the fact that you cannot save them all is played out harshly. I recall the feeling in my younger days when I felt invincible, nothing bad would ever happen to me. Now, the years have gone by and realizing that I am just human as been proven. Life happens and it is up to me to get up and dust myself off. Realizing through my loss that I have more love to give becomes more and more relevant.
The reward I get from seeing my foster animals go to forever loving homes outweighs the sadness once felt for the ones I couldn’t save, though they are never forgotten. We all have experienced life’s ups and downs, but the warm and fuzzy feelings drive us to move on. Hearing the purring of kittens or seeing the innocent faces of puppies is the best medicine for a broken heart. Saving them all is not always an option but the animals I can save; will get me through a lifetime.
Written by Kristin Sampson
Foster Care Coordinator at Wayside Waifs