Wanted: Animal Lovers
Every summer, the fostering resources of Second Chance Animal Aid (SCAA) become overrun by the demand of kitten season. At the moment there are over 50 cats and kittens in foster homes around Shanghai, waiting to find a permanent, loving family to call their own. Unfortunately, the summer season (when there are the most cats and kittens), coincides with the most popular time of year for people to leave Shanghai for their annual summer holidays, which leaves the SCAA foster program stretched even further.
Fostering is a great option for people who love having animals around, but can’t commit to life-long adoption because they’re not sure where they’ll end up next, or those who travel often, or those from countries such as Australia and New Zealand, which have very strict animal importation laws.
Over three years of fostering animals through SCAA, I have played foster mum to 28 cats and kittens and one (cat-loving) puppy dog. Being from Australia, where it’s virtually impossible to take animals from China, fostering with SCAA has been a great option.
I have always had pets and fostering gives me the opportunity to continue to enjoy the companionship of animals, even though I’m working in China with a demanding job that requires a fair bit of travel. The animals my husband and I have fostered over the years have stayed with us for a matter of weeks, or sometimes many months, but they have consistently proven to be extremely sweet and affectionate (although some take more patience and getting-to-know-each-other-time than others).
Being a foster parent involves caring for rescued animals in your own home. This means taking responsibility for feeding, watering, cuddling, littering and occasionally administering medication to your foster animals, as well as taking them to SCAA’s vet if they get sick, or when they require routine veterinary care (such as vaccinations or spay/neutering). Veterinary expenses are covered by SCAA, but we still have to be on the ball about getting our foster animals to their vet appointments when necessary.
SCAA’s animals find permanent homes through meeting potential adopters at our monthly adoption day at O’Malley’s (this month’s adoption day is this Sunday, 18 July), so it’s important that our foster animals make it there to have the best chance of finding their happy ending.
There are times that I have been unavailable to take our animals for adoption day, or have been away from Shanghai for either work or pleasure, but by giving SCAA enough notice, they have always been able to work out alternate arrangements for my animals while I’m gone.
People often ask me whether I’m sad when our animals are adopted. In all honesty, I almost always feel a little pang of sadness, particularly when saying goodbye to a kitty we have bottle-fed since infancy, or a previously sick animal we have nursed back to health. But the overwhelming feeling I have when our animals are adopted is happiness. Finding these little critters a permanent, loving home is what it’s all about, and it’s very rewarding to see animals you have grown to love find their happy ending. Besides, there are almost always more animals on the horizon to distract me from missing our adopted ones.