by Kimberly Wade
How can you save a life? This question is daunting, exciting, and yet has many answers. If any one of you were asked this, it may seem to be a loaded question. If Nevada Humane Society was asked this, we would have not one, but several answers. Lifesaving if our mission, and that, to us, means saving the young and old, cute and not so cute and everyone in between. To Nevada Humane Society, all healthy and treatable pets should be saved—this is lifesaving. Right now, a different kind of lifesaving is even more prevalent—foster care.
Our foster program allows us—and you—to save the lives of thousands of young kittens and puppies during Kitten Season. It’s the time of year when the weather is warmer and unaltered animals are, well, taking care of business. In turn, we see thousands (not kidding) of babies enter the shelters from roughly April through October. The foster program allows us to place each of these babies in a temporary home—your home—where you help them grow big and strong while getting them ready for adoption. You get the joy of having baby animals in your home; then the reward of knowing you saved them and helped to place them with a loving family.
I’ve been fostering since 2007. In fact, that is how I originally got involved with Nevada Humane Society. Since then, my husband and I have taken in a lot of kittens—even the occasional puppy. Newton was the first one that never left… as in he’s still with me today. He was 4 weeks old facing several physical ailments. He had fleas, ear mites, and wouldn’t use his back leg. Our veterinarians said it was nerve damage. My husband and I combined exercise with massage to help Newton regain the use of his leg. Nearly three weeks later, after we had begun to accept that amputation may be necessary, he began to walk. Today, nearly 2 years later, Newton is thriving. No one would ever guess anything was wrong. His personality is that of gratefulness. He knows he was saved; the way he looks at us says it all (actually he looks at everyone this way). This is why we foster—not just to make a difference but to earn that look. And this can be you. Foster families are the backbone of lifesaving.
It would be impossible for Nevada Humane Society to care for all of these little kitties without our foster program, which is all volunteer based. It’s an ideal, low-cost way to greatly increase the number of lives saved while at the same time providing a wonderful opportunity for the community to become more active. Our program has hundreds of dedicated caregivers who eagerly open up their hearts and homes to care for and ultimately save lives—over 2,300 last year. But we need more. And today.
Foster homes—your homes—free up limited space at the shelter so that more animals can be saved—ones that are ready for adoption. Though there are also foster needs for puppies and certain adult animals, the greatest need lies with kittens. Right now, an average of 20 kittens enter the shelter each day. Will you help us by becoming a foster family?
Here’s the lowdown:
- You provide care until kittens weigh about two pounds—big enough to be spayed or neutered and made available for adoption.
- You pick up kittens the same day they arrive (we call you to tell you we need you).
- You need a separate space for the kittens from your own pets, and your own pets must be current on vaccines.
- We provide supplies, training and support. There is no fee; your time is voluntary.
- Time frame is anywhere from a few days to eight weeks. After that you can take a break or choose to pick up a new batch of foster babies.
So, are you ready to go save the Newtons of the world? Mind you, not everyone has challenges like he did. That’s just what I like. We have plenty of weaned, healthy, happy little ones. It’s fun, rewarding and will allow you to answer that question—how to save a life. Because truly, when you foster, this is what you’re doing.
For info on the foster program or to sign up, please call 775-856-2000 ext. 314. You can also visit our website, www.nevadahumanesociety.org.