I have always loved animals but I have always loved traveling and independence too. I always thought that growing up (or getting older and having my own place and a good income) would allow me adopt catS and dogS someday. However, I never found a way to conciliate my will for independence and taking care of another living being, especially since I have no friends or family able to take care of any potential animal while I am away. That was until I learned about Foster Families for animals!Last year I had decided to give some of my time by helping in an animal shelter: I would try to go every Sunday to walk around dogs that were otherwise locked in cages all day every day until somebody would adopt them. At the beginning it felt good but pretty soon I felt kind of redundant: I could go only once a week which was during week-ends (the shelter closes at 5PM every day and I have to work) and that was the same time most of the employed volunteers would go too. The shelter being small (maybe a hundred dogs), every dog would have gone out by noon (or at least the easy dogs, the ones I was allowed to walk) so my job was done.
The dogs were ranked according to their character and how experienced somebody would have to be to walk them in the park: green tag was for small non aggressive dogs, orange for difficult and unpredictable dogs and red for ferocious dogs needing a trained volunteer (somebody coming often or strong enough to hold them). Because I was not coming often enough I never passed over the green dogs and there were not that many! Hence after a while I stopped going there.
A few weeks back though, I started following the Facebook page of the same animal shelter and because it was Summer time it was receiving lots of animals every day, many being puppies or kittens, too young to be vaccinated and therefore to stay in the shelter, in immediate vicinity to other animals. When this happens, the shelter asks for volunteers willing to take care of the kittens (they also look for foster families for old or sick cats or dogs needing special care before adoption). Sometimes the kittens are abandoned without the mother and in that case they would require to be fed with a bottle every couple of hours. Hence, having no commitment for September and October, I wrote an e-mail saying that I had room to take a mother and her kittens if needed. The day I got back from my holidays I received a call to inform me that a mother with her two 3-weeks-old kittens had just been brought to the shelter. I went to take them that same day.
I was mostly afraid the mother would be a stray aggressive cat, willing to damage everything in my house. But she was calm although she did destroy my carpet (hopefully I will manage to hide the scratches to get my deposit back)! Anyways the kittens were adorable although they could not walk yet. I made a bed under the table but the mother decided to move them under my couch that same night and they have been living there ever since.
Today it has been 3 weeks and the kittens run and play and climb on any piece of furniture around the apartment. One is fat and confident and loves being around people, the other only thinks about playing and prefers to hide. However, every time I sit on the couch to knit (that’s my new passion), the 3 of them just climb on the couch aswell and sleep as close as possible to me, or the wool ball, either way one of us seems to be reassuring for them!
I know I’ll have to give them back in a couple of weeks but I’m fine with it. They are a fun presence to have around (as they are not yet very coordinated they are hilarious to watch when they play together or fall from the stairs) but they are a lot of work too. I am not sure when they will leave (I think the shelter was purposefully not very specific on an exact date) but although everyone thinks I am getting too attached (I just took a hundred pictures of them) it will be fine to have my house back to myself.
And I was glad to do it as it made me understand that having an animal full-time needs commitment, as it cannot stay alone in an apartment all day long without getting crazy or distressed. I might repeat the experience after they leave but I’ll have to seriously cat-proof my apartment this time!