Why foster care matters for animals and humans alike

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Foster care is an important and invaluable way of giving shelter animals and rescued animals a second chance at life. It also delivers a range of benefits to the foster carer, as well as the pet.

Foster care is an important and invaluable way of giving shelter animals and rescued animals a second chance at life.

It also delivers a range of benefits to the foster carer, as well as the pet.

Foster carers give these animals the opportunity to temporarily spend time in a safe and loving home environment; to experience, enjoy and learn from the care and attention that is lavished on pets with permanent homes. This nurturing and loving support is provided until the shelter animal is ready to be adopted.

The number of shelter animals and rescued animals is growing and the need for more foster carers is greater than ever. Every animal in a foster home is one less that shelter staff and volunteers need to assist, creating a greater capacity for other animals to be welcomed into care.

If you're wondering what it's like to experience the sense of accomplishment that comes from being a foster carer, Sally Gartside and Ebony's story (below), will warm your heart.

For more information on How To Become A Foster Carer, visit our state partner Shelters and Animal Rescue organisations:

AWL NSW      Lort Smith       AWLQ       AWL SA      Dogs Homes of Tasmania      SAFE Inc


By Sally Gartside

It is 11 months since I failed. But it all began 16 months ago when Lisa in the foster house asked if I would take a nine month old cat, Ebony, who found herself at the AWLQ with a collar wound. “Sure” I said, which I’m sure they would tell you is my usual response when there is a cat in need.

I didn’t actually ‘meet’ Ebony till I got her home and settled in – what a shock! I had never seen such a large wound on a young cat. I’ll spare you the gruesome details but it started in the middle of her chest, under her arm and back up towards her shoulder. Ouch!! She was in for a long recovery process.

Ebony was a star and we soon got into a routine of cleaning and applying her medicated cream two or three times a day. She would see me get ready and she would come over and lie down at my feet, waiting. She responded very well and settled into life at our house, happily resting with my dogs and making herself at home over the next several months.

Me and my beautiful Ebony

Regular visits to the vet meant that she was a bit of a favourite with all the vet and foster staff. While her wound was healing well, a small section right under her arm would not completely heal due to the amount of scar tissue and movement in the area. The vets tried different approaches but nothing worked. Things were not looking good for her but I think they saw the bond that had formed between Ebony and me: they didn’t give up, and neither did I.

We kept giving it more time.

After a lot of research, Dr Theresia Anderson, the head shelter vet, performed a miracle. Well, we thought it was pretty miraculous. She went above and beyond for Ebony and successfully performed a new surgical procedure – leaving Ebony half shaved, with a drain, a pain patch and 65 stitches and more recovery time needed.

We missed her – so I visited each day and she would get up to greet me every time. Even the dogs visited her and had a sniff through the window! She was a model patient and got the all-clear from the vet to come home after 11 days in the clinic.

During her recovery, both before and after her surgery, Ebony was a ‘big sister’ to all the other foster kittens that spent time with us on the road to their forever homes. Then the time came – she was ready to go and find her forever family.

But was I ready for that?

My first ‘foster failure’. How could I send her back to the shelter pens when she had been with me for almost six months? She had already been through so much and was so settled and happy with life at our place. She had become part of our family. After her fantastic character won everyone over, both at home and at the clinic, how she coped so well with all she went through (easiest cat ever to medicate!), with the success of Dr TheresIa Anderson’s surgery and the support care of the vet staff, and finally finding her forever home …

All of that, to me, is nothing but SUCCESS!!

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