Required to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, many pet lovers across the country have opened their homes and hearts to provide foster care for homeless cats and dogs.
“The surge in fostering is definitely admirable,” says Kelly DiCicco, ASPCA Manager of Adoptions Promotions. “Animals provide invaluable comfort and companionship, especially during times of crisis, and they obviously love the attention.”
In some cases, foster homes become final homes when caregivers decide to adopt their temporary guests. This is sometimes cheekily called “foster failure,” but the ASPCA prefers a different term: “foster fortune.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 200 dogs, cats and kittens from the ASPCA Adoption Center and Kitten Nursery in Manhattan have been in foster care. More than 20 are now foster fortunes, adopted by their foster caregivers, with more fortunes expected in the weeks to come.
Adopting A ‘Little Angel’
On April 11, Caroline W. adopted her six-year-old foster cat, Della, who had been transported to the ASPCA from Brandywine Valley SPCA in West Chester, Pennsylvania, on February 18, via the ASPCA Relocation Program.
“I had Della for two weeks, which turned into two months,” says Caroline, who used to volunteer at a shelter in her home state of Maryland.
“When I moved here, fostering was on my list of things to do,” she adds. “I chose Della because she is shy and needed to be the only pet in the household. She opened up extremely fast and loves to play. She’s my little angel.”
Caroline, who works in pharmaceutical advertising, said adoption was not her initial intention.
“My business is up and down, and the hours vary,” she tells us. “But I’d reached a slow period where I knew could care for a pet.”
When Della developed ringworm and an upper respiratory infection, she returned to the ASPCA Adoption Center for treatment. Caroline missed her so badly that she adopted Della as soon as the sweet cat had recovered. They’re now riding out the pandemic with family members in Connecticut, where Della spends her days gazing out picture windows and sleeping on Caroline’s laptop.
Caroline considers fostering an important step in knowing if you’re ready to adopt. “Fostering lets you see if you can handle the responsibility and gauge if your personalities match, while helping an animal in need,” she says. “At the end of the day, the goal is to find the pet a home. People rise to the occasion to become foster fortunes.”
More First-Time Fortunes
Marine P. and her husband, Tim G., had long wanted a dog, but their Manhattan apartment building had longstanding pet restrictions.
Then on March 22, a week after the COVID-19 stay-at-home order began, the couple got the green light to foster a puppy. They chose Samara, a floppy eared, mixed breed pooch who had been transferred to the ASPCA from Animal Care Centers of New York City.
Marine, who works in product management technology, and Tim, who works in financial sales, were both working from home, so the timing couldn’t have been better.
But it wasn’t easy at first.
“Samara wasn’t housetrained. She cried. She barked at other dogs. She jumped on counters as well as the couch. She’s a very active puppy,” Marine recalls. “We had to learn to manage her energy. It was time consuming.”
The trio makes frequent visits to nearby Central Park, where Marine and Tim work diligently with Samara on behavior and training.
“She can now meet other dogs without barking,” Marine says. “She learns quickly. And seeing the progress she’s made is really rewarding.”
Confident in Samara’s development and their own abilities as pet owners, Marine and Tim adopted Samara on April 17.
“It would have been too hard to give her back after such a long period,” Marine tells us. “Besides, we love her!”
Although Marine and Tim will eventually go back to their professional offices, Marine has adjustable hours and can work part-time from home. Her office is also dog friendly, so she plans to take Samara with her on occasion.
Although Tim had fostered pets before, Samara was Marine’s first.
“Fostering is a great way to get to know a dog, and if you develop a bond, adopting makes sense” Marine says. “And it’s rewarding to give a pet a second chance.”
Behind every animal rescued and every happy ending at the ASPCA is a generous friend like you. Please help us find loving homes for animals—and make more second chances possible—with your special gift today.
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