Thursday, March 24, 2011

Expressing oneself with out burning bridges can be a fine line

The thought of not fostering really hurts me.  While at times it has been painful (when I lose them) and frustrating (when they are sick and wont get better) for the most part I find it does me far more good then the kittens I care for.

But I'm not sure I can not continue to work for the kittens until they are adopted (aka stop caring for them cold turkey once they hit 2.5 lbs).  I guess I feel my responsibility to them will only end once they have their forever home.  Is this right?  maybe, maybe not.  Guess it depends on what the shelter I work with thinks. 

So I have been thinking.  My options were a) say something or b) stop fostering.  I didn't much like either one of these.  I've been with the shelter long enough to know full well why they didn't consult me when it came to their decision regarding my former fosters.  There have been too many "situations" where volunteers have become emotionally involved and blew up when the shelter's decisions didn't match what the volunteers thought they should be.  I've seen the aftermath, it isn't easy.  I know the staff try to do their best by the animals with what they have to work with.  I guess I thought with the years I had put in, and some of the situations I've gone through with the shelter, I thought I had earned a bit more standing.  It hurt that it wasn't the case.

So I emailed and asked, as casually as possible.  I got back the response I was expecting.  They thought they would do fine apart, and Tin got way more interest then Peter.  yup, and yup.  Pretty much expected that.  It is a shame they didn't ask me for the information I had.  I knew Tin would do just fine, I've always said that.  It is Peter who needs another kitty to show him that the world is a good place. 

Ok, so now what.  After the response, I was back to the same place, say something or stop fostering.  Explain why I felt they were wrong, with out becoming a "problem volunteer"  and make a suggestion of what I feel would "fix" the situation I had an issue with.  Cause really at this point there is no getting Tin back for Peter.  (and considering I haven't checked in on Peter since Sunday he might even be in his forever home)

I ran several drafts past my husband, who is far less emotional then I am (in general, and in specific about this) and sent off a letter explaining my side of things, and why I even had a side of things... it wasn't that I was emotionally involved (which is I am obviously) but because I wanted Peter to have the best out of life, and I felt his new owners should know who he is and what he needs. I guess I feel I am an advocate for the kittens because I come to know them so well.  The shelter has several programs like "meet your match" and do work ups for some of the animals, and I guess I felt it was my job to make sure that kittens with special quirks have those quirks known.  If I have a kitten who is all up in your face demanding attention and is a troublemaker, I say so and that way if someone is looking for a kitten who isn't all up in their face, they won't end up with one that is.. etc.

I have yet to check my mail to see if there is a reply.  I sent it after hours, and I've been at work and do not want to get possibly bad news here. 

I would like to continue fostering, but I've come to the realization that I do not want to just feed them and send them back.  I can not, and nor do I want to, divorce myself from the care that I have given and the care I take to do my best for them. 

So we'll see if this blog turns into a rambling of just my own cats or not..


  1. I can truly relate.

    I actually ended up leaving the local humane society when I said some thing they didn't like. I am sure they would say I was a problem for a while, but shouldn't it be about the animals?? I know it can be hard to leave, and I am lucky that I have kept some very good friends that I made. However, sometimes it is about keeping your peace of mind....

    I have determined over time that while I can't save every life, I can save them one at a time - no matter what group I decide to help out. It is just sad that politics and nasty people can make it so hard for those of us that want to help.

  2. I can certainly understand the way you feel, Connie. I always thought that the fosters were the bridge between the shelter and the adopters, but I guess that isn’t always the case. While I understand the shelter’s position I can’t agree with it. Given time I’m sure the perfect adopters would have been found to adopt both Peter and Tinsel. In my opinion the shelter should be more proactive in publicizing the animals up for adoption. I could be wrong but it sounds to me like they just wait around for someone to walk through the door and stumble on the animals.

    I adopted both of my kitties from a local rescue group where the cats were with the fosters until they were adopted. The group would take the cats to different Petsmarts around the area each weekend to “get them out there”. Then the fosters would relay their stories to potential adopters. The lady that fostered each of my cats did her best to match them with my personality. I thank God every day that my kitties were taken care of and loved up until I adopted them.
    If you get something out of fostering then I hope you can find a way to continue. I know that the kitties benefit from someone like you who loves and cares for them. The shelter should recognize that and nurture it. If you find you can’t continue fostering, then perhaps doing something as simple as socializing cats while they’re in the shelter would work. I’ve considered doing that for my local shelter.

    If you find the time, I hope that you will send us an update on Peter. I can’t stop thinking about him, and I worry about how he’s doing. (My mom is even asking about him now.) I realize it’s selfish, and I’ll understand if you can’t bring yourself to do it. I just thought I’d ask.

    Take care of yourself, Connie. And never forget that you HAVE helped the cats that you fostered! As an animal lover, I thank you.


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