CARE’s fostering program prepares pets for adoption
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – His name is “Tiny Tim” and at only nine weeks old, he has an injured right front leg that may have to be amputated.
The Chihuahua puppy, which is only eight inches long, four inches tall and weighs less than two pounds, fits in the palm of your hand. But lucky for this little homeless puppy, he has a foster family through Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE) that is taking care of him until he can be adopted.
Kristin Kuck of Carbondale has been fostering Tiny Tim for more than a week. He’s only one of many puppies and kittens that Kuck has fostered, in addition to the three dogs and two cats she already owns.
“One of the main reasons I do it is because I love animals and I like to help animals in need,” Kuck said. “It can be a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding. It’s hard to give them back, but you know they’re going into a great home, and that’s a wonderful feeling.”
Kuck is a certified veterinary technician who works at the Carbondale Animal Hospital and teaches pre-vet tech classes at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus.
“CARE is so supportive of your fostering,” Kuck said. “They supply the food and materials, and if you have to go out of town, they’ll take the animal until you get back. And they also make sure that the person and the animal are a good fit.”
For 12 years, CARE has taken in homeless and abandoned animals that have special needs into their foster care program until they can be placed into adoption. The volunteer foster homes provide a safe place for them to stay, nutritious food, socialization and health care.
“There are a variety of reasons they need homes and it could be for one week or it could be for six weeks,” said Leslie Rockey, executive director of CARE. “We provide the food, litter box and toys, and the foster homes give them some structure and routine. But we’re with you every step of the way.”
Before becoming a foster care volunteer, people need to consider whether they have the time and energy to do it. In addition to the time spent caring for and socializing the foster animal, foster families should keep in mind the possibility of additional time for veterinary visits, emergency care, record keeping and returning the foster pet to the shelter during normal business hours.
Then there’s the emotional attachment that can develop.
“You must face the reality that, in spite of your best efforts, not all foster animals will thrive,” the CARE guidelines advise. “We cannot guarantee that each and every animal will fine a permanent home.
“We do everything in our power to treat illness or other health problems that may befall foster animals, but you must b e prepared that some illnesses, health problems or injuries may not be treatable because they are life-threatening, cost prohibitive or not in the best interest of the animal in the long run,” the guidelines state.
And sometimes, just giving them back is difficult.
“It’s hard,” Rockey admits. “But the biggest thing is that fostering is an amazing gift to give to an animal, and you’ve got to trust that we’ll find them an amazing home.”
There are typically about 30 families providing foster homes at any given time.
During the summer, the biggest need is finding homes for kittens.
“We have so many kittens that don’t have moms or they’re undersocialized,” Rockey said. “Kittens are so much fun – kids really get so much out of it. We always, always need homes for kittens. We don’t want them to grow up in a cage.”
But whether it’s a puppy or a kitten, and older animal or just one that’s been in the shelter too long, it’s all rewarding.
“They just make you happy,” Kuck said. “They just can’t help but to make you happy.”
For more information about CARE or to apply to foster an animal, call 947-9173 or visit http://www.colradoanimalrescue.org.
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