There really is no place like home, even a temporary one. That's why PAWS depends on the compassion, dedication and generosity of more than 120 foster care volunteers who provide crucial care in their own homes for the most vulnerable of PAWS' charges.
"Foster care is so much fun, we don't think of it as a job at all," professes Nancy Ross, retiree and veteran foster parent. Nancy and her husband Jimmy didn't foresee fostering in their future, however when their longtime feline companion passed away of old age, the house felt empty without the pitter-patter of furry feet. Fostering animals in need felt like a perfect way to fill that void. They took on their first placement, a four week- old kitten, in 2002 and never looked back. When Nancy isn't busy with a house full of kittens, she fosters many sick adult shelter cats back to health.
While Nancy is retired, Marla Groth manages a busy household with two pre-teen girls. Marla came across a PAWS foster care brochure while visiting the shelter several years ago, and decided caring for kittens on a temporary basis was perfect for her and daughters, Bridgette and Maddy.
Marla was assigned to a litter of tiny unweaned kittens for around-the-clock bottle feeding, and quickly learned both the heartache and the joy of nursing baby kittens to health. Since then, she and her girls have gladly become a revolving door for kittens of all ages, and various stages of health. Maddy and Bridgette help to socialize the kittens with constant attention and a gentle touch. Marla often jokes that the under-socialized, hissy babies have no option but to succumb to the love of her determined daughters, and it shows in the kittens' personalities upon their return to the shelter.
PAWS Foster Care Program saves the lives of more than 1,000 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens every year—roughly 30 percent of all animals who come through PAWS Companion Animal Shelter. The most common reason for foster care is to allow kittens and puppies who arrive at the shelter too young to be spayed or neutered (a requirement before adoption) to grow older, gain weight, and become properly socialized. Animals with colds, injuries or other illnesses also benefit from foster care as the quiet comfort of a home is much more conducive to a speedy, thorough recovery.
In addition to providing a loving home away from the shelter, foster parents also help PAWS learn more about the animals' behavior in a home environment. For example, a dog thought to be unsuitable for children may turn out to be a softy in the company of youths. This information is extremely valuable when placing animals into their future forever homes.
PAWS is gearing up for the spring and summer "kitten season," and every additional foster home helps. We provide veterinary care, medication, training and ongoing support, and foster volunteers provide food, toys and love.
To sign up and learn more visit our Foster Care page or call 425.787.2500 x 822.