Volunteering and Animal Rescue
I was raised in a family that placed a high priority on volunteering in our community. My mother volunteered for over 3,500 hours at the Princeton, New Jersey, hospital, and my father, a cartoonist, helped out with the hospital benefit dinner each year by contributing incredible artwork. Both were involved with our public library as well.
Because my parents were animal lovers, they became active in a local group called Small Animal Veterinary Endowment (SAVE). At the time, Princeton didn't have an animal shelter, so SAVE was created to take in and care for stray animals until they could be adopted. My father designed the first SAVE logo, which was a hand holding a puppy and a kitten. Later, my parents worked hard to see that a shelter was built in the community. Animal rescue was important to my family, and I very much wanted to be involved with it as an adult.
After moving from an apartment in New York City to a house in the country, I was ready to offer a foster home to cats and kittens in need of temporary placement. I was fortunate to meet Susan Roth, who is very active in animal rescue. Susan owns a pet-watching business I had contacted to take care of my pets when I traveled, and with her help, I happily entered the world of fostering!
Over the past twelve years or so, there have been very few times when I haven't had been fostering a cat or kittens. At the beginning, the foster kitties took up residence in my office. But last year I converted a small room in my house into a cat-friendly room for all the foster cats and kittens that come to me. Now I have the perfect, welcoming space for them to live in until they are adopted.
Usually, the kittens and cats I take care of have either been abandoned or are strays who have been on their own for a while. They are often undernourished and very timid. In these cases, I'm always gratified when they slowly come to trust me and allow themselves to be held and petted. But there are also times when I get extremely outgoing and affectionate cats, which is a lot of fun. The best news is that, through the work of people like Susan and the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, permanent, loving homes have been found for all my charges - and one of those homes was my own! I adopted my cat Pippin after I fostered him as an eight-week-old kitten.
Being a foster caregiver has been a rewarding part of my life. It has allowed me to take care of many kinds of cats and kittens, which I've thoroughly enjoyed. I've fostered pregnant moms, and watched them give birth to their kittens. A number of the animals I've fostered have been post-surgery, disabled, deaf, or neurologically impaired. It makes me happy to know that I'm helping these animals, and even happier to know that loving families await them.
I feel fortunate that I've been able to continue my parents' tradition of volunteering while combining it with my love of animals. Whatever your passion or hobby, I hope you, too, can find a fun, rewarding and fulfilling way to contribute!
P.S. I've posted a few photos of some of my foster cats and kittens from over the years, so be sure to check out the photo link!