After foster kitties Scraps and Matilda left, the house felt empty and sad. For the longest time I couldn’t bear to go in the garage and see the leftover litter, their little dishes, and the toys my kids had made. Eventually, I emptied the garage and swept away all traces, crying as litter dust flew.
In our search for a rescue group to take in the girls, I connected with Marisa, who heads up a group called Paws for Life. Marisa has two main sources of foster dogs: puppy mills and seven-day “shelters,” where dogs have one week to be adopted or they’re euthanised. These shelters have the nerve to charge Marisa to save these dogs; each rescue costs her about $40.00, and she also pays for neutering, shots, and other medical needs the animal has. She gets some donations, but is not a charitable organization and can’t issue tax-deductible receipts. She recoups her expenditures through adoption fees that just cover her costs.
Much as I wanted to save the life of some poor puppy on death row, The Spouse and I were hesitant. Fostering means getting attached to a pet, then giving it up. At the time, our children were 10, 8, and 5. I didn’t need to traumatise them– or me!– with revolving pets. The Eldest and I had cried all the way home after leaving Scraps and Matilda at the rescue.
The children, however, badly wanted a pet, so we did something we do very infrequently in our family– we had a meeting. We emphasised to the kids that we would not be keeping these dogs: we travel too much, we don’t have the money for expensive vet bills (one friend has spent $3,600 curing her dog’s urinary tract infection), no one was home all day, etc. etc. The kids didn’t care. They promised there wouldn’t be tantrums and tears. They wanted a pet in the house, and they loved the idea of saving a life in the process. So, a little nervous and wondering what I was getting into, I e-mailed Marisa and told her find us a new friend.