About a year ago my husband and I started fostering for Alley Cats and Angels. We had adopted two cats from them (Trilli and Dexter) and had been extremely happy with the experience.
I've worked at a no-kill shelter in Winston Salem, the Forsyth Humane Society (as a paid employee, not a volunteer) and had adopted from other rescues in the past.
Alley Cats was different in that they don't have a shelter, all of their animals are in foster homes. This means that even though they work with feral cats and kittens that need socialization prior to being placed in homes, their cats and kittens end up being better socialized than most shelter animals (in our opinion).
They also provide excellent medical care and just seem to be better organized than a lot of other volunteer run rescues. I've adopted before and had trouble getting my new pets medical or information or all of the 'advertised' medical care and such hadn't actually been done. Alley Cats and Angels even calls to check up after the adoption and gives you two weeks to make sure your new pet works with your household or you can have a full refund of your adoption fee.
When we started to foster we had the same concerns that I believe a lot of foster homes do. Will I fall in love with these pets? How will I ever be able to part with them when the time comes? What will our other pets think?
We prepared ourselves for this, but also thought long and hard about it and knew that what we were doing was making 'nice kitties' for other people's homes. We don't have room in our home for any more cats as 'full time' residents, but having a foster cat and kitten can be fun, fun for our pets and we feel like we're really doing something good.
Our pets have ended up enjoying it too. They get 'socialized' to other pets, and with kittens the older ones get new inspiration to play and have fun. It's the kind of interaction that really makes me happy to see.
There are a few I've loved more than others, but all have moved on to new homes without any tears. Part of this is because I feel very confident that Alley Cats and Angels is placing our fosters in great homes where they will truly be loving and be loved.
I like to think that what we are doing is a good thing. People that may have never had a pet before might fall in love with cats because we raised up a kitten to be a super well socialized companion. I believe that people that have animals are kinder, gentler people. They are generally more caring of others and more caring of their environment. I know it seems like just a kitten, but I truly believe by giving people nice pets we are making a world full of better people.
I am writing this because I want to encourage more people to foster. The emotional rewards are great, and you get the joy of giving a safe and happy, albeit temporary, home to an animal who needs one.
I've heard of people having bad foster experiences with a rescue that wouldn't return calls or didn't pay for medical care or whatnot. Even if you've had a bad foster experience elsewhere, if you're in our area, give Alley Cats and Angels a chance - if you're not local, please try another rescue.
All rescues are NOT created equal! There are great ones out there run by great people that would really appreciate a little extra help. Fostering can really change lives, not just for your fostered pet - but for the people who will be forever changed by adopting the pet you helped raise!