When you get into animal rescue, there are several lessons you learn fairly quickly.
First of all, you will never save them all.
No matter how hard you try, there will always be more homeless animals than homes.
There will always be the abandoned strays who are hit by cars, or poisoned, or killed by other animals.
There will always be feral colonies of cats because of humans who view animals as disposable.
There will always be dogs who are destroyed because someone did not take the time to properly socialize them, and they became aggressive.
Secondly, you learn the importance of foster homes.
Shelters fill up quickly. There is always the need for extra homes to house the animals we don’t have room for. A need for homes where the young can mature, the old can retire, and the sick and injured can recuperate in peace.
Finally, you recognize that you need to narrow your focus.
There are groups who take in various animals, but in all honesty, every rescue knows that they need to specialize in one particular area or it just becomes unmanageable.
Katie’s Place has narrowed its focus to last chance cats, those most other shelters are unable to deal with. That is our purpose.
A few years ago, we were contacted by a group called Pets-Matter, which has a completely different mission. Its an organization that provides temporary homes for animals whose families are going through a hard time, but who are not willing to give their pets up.
These are the types of people that we, shelter volunteers, truly admire. People who are homeless, or escaping a bad situation, or trying to put their life back together and need a safe place for their animal while they sort things out.
People who don’t simply give up on their pet because things got tough. Most of these people cannot afford regular boarding fees, so Pets-Matter works to provide foster homes for the animals.
While shelters like ours are depend on foster homes in some cases, groups like Pets-Matter rely solely on them. If there are no foster homes available, their animals have nowhere to go.
We were initially contacted about a cat that needed short-term accommodations, and luckily a couple of our volunteers stepped up to help.
Over the years, these volunteers have provided assistance to cats for Pets-Matter whenever possible. However, the need is always greater than the help available, and Pets-Matter works to temporarily home all pets, not just cats.
Shelters are typically not in the position to assist people who need to place their animal somewhere while they put their life back in order. We normally don’t have room.
If we do have room, it’s filled quickly, and let’s face it, every space we give to a pet would take the space away from a stray, an injured animal, or an abandoned one.
Pets-Matter is always in need of foster homes. It has cats, dogs, fish, birds, pigs and various other pets who are waiting for a loving foster home to open up, where they can wait safely to be reunited with their family.
If you have the room in your home and the love in your heart to help, please contact Pets-Matter Foster Care Society at www.petsmatter.org, or email them email@example.com.
You will not only be assisting animals but also their human families. The need for these types of foster homes is immense and the rewards are immeasurable.
Knowing that you helped keep a family together is an amazing feeling.
– Magdalena Romanow is a volunteer at Katie’s Place, an animal shelter in Maple Ridge.