Are animal fosters and rescuers special people? The answer is both yes and no.
We are all average, typical members of our community. Most of us do not have degrees in animal care and are not animal experts. The majority of our volunteers have full-time jobs. Many of us have families (some small and some large). Most of us have our own pets, varying from horses to goldfish. We live in apartments, small houses, large houses and farms. Like I said, we are average community members.
I have a family of six. My children are 14, 10, 5 and 2. I am a stay-at-home mom and a learning coach. My husband works full time as an engineer. He makes time for our family and helping with the animals. We have dogs, cats, fish, hamsters and one rat of our own. We are a very busy family. We attend sporting events, go to museums, have lots of doctor’s appointments and spend time with our extended family.
Another foster with Heartland takes in special needs dogs and gives them the attention they need. She is a single mother to three very lovely girls. She owns a daycare and also has a variety of her own pets (including one awesomely large Great Dane and one teeny, tiny Chihuahua). They, too, are a very busy family full of teenage girl school events, clubs and activities.
Our puppy caretaker also cares for dogs that need extra medical attention. Her dedication and love for these dogs is amazing. Her husband works overtime and is often on call. His help is invaluable, too. They have two beautiful twin teenage daughters. Recently, one was ill and had to spend some time in the hospital. They participate in sports and travel to do so.
Another foster is a full time vet tech student. She loves to cook and has a great family. She recently spent a month out of town for her internship. She is coming home this Saturday and is bringing home a rescue dog with her. Soon, she will graduate and be a valuable asset to the clinic she chooses to work for.
Our dog coordinator is also a student and takes care of her parents. She is constantly fielding phone calls, emails and inquiries for surrenders and adoptions. Sometimes, she does this from a hospital room while visiting with her mother. Other times, she is still working at midnight to finish school work and process applications. We all depend on her.
Our fosters and volunteer are a varied group of people, single and married, young and old, male and female, those who work 60 plus hours a week and those who don’t work at all, students and parents. Some fosters only take in dogs, while others take cats and still others take in hamsters. There are a lot of differences between us but a common passion bonds us together.
So, no, we aren’t special people. We are just like you. We often work hard, long hours. We make mistakes, we struggle, and we sometimes wonder if we are doing the right thing in life. We have been through divorces, we have special needs children and sometimes we feel like quitting.
And, yes, fosters and rescuers are special people. What makes them special is their dedication. They often choose the harder, longer road because it is the right thing to do. We have a love for animals and our families. We are hoping to make the world a little better place for them both. We have found our calling and our purpose. In the end, we don’t quit. The return we receive for our efforts makes it all worthwhile.
Would you like to know more about fostering? Contact Heartland at email@example.com or call 574-360-2948.