Pet Blog

Parting is such sweet sorrow

By: Todd Borek
By: Todd Borek

A detailed look at being a foster parent for the Lexington Humane Society.

D'Arcy and I might be getting back to the kitten fostering thing again.   The last time that occurred we, for lack of a better word, "failed".  That's the playful way of saying that we ended up keeping one of our fosters (that being Leia Tiberius).  Since Spring/early Summer is 'kitten season', the kitten numbers at the Lexington Humane Society is on the upswing.  This is when foster families are needed.   I wrote the following piece last year when we took in Leia's litter at a ripe age of 3 1/2 weeks old.  Hopefully, this will help those of you wanting to foster but might be afraid of "getting too attached" to your foster pets.  Remember, fostering is for the animals.   It gives them a chance to grow from weeks 4-8 in a comfortable, loving environment, away from cages and other creatures.  It also allows them to get accustomed to humans.   Trust me, it may seem very difficult to "not keep them all" but in the end, you will be doing a wonderful thing for animals in need.

 Ok, so stealing a line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet isn’t exactly the way I wanted to go into any blog, but this one just seemed fitting.

See, today was the last time Anatasia, Nico, and Leia will be together at our house.   In fact, we can only wait for a good family to head to the Lexington Humane Society to adopt them come Wednesday.   They’ve hit the magical 8-week mark in kittenhood.   Unlike age milestones of humans, I’m not sure cats look forward to the eligible age of getting spayed and neutered.   Think of it, when we turn 16, we can legally drive.  At 21, well, there’s no explanation necessary, and at 29 (at least for us Detroit fans) we finally realize we have to rely on the Red Wings, Pistons, and Tigers to win championships because there will never be a Super Bowl appearance for the Lions…EVER.

I digress.   Let’s go back a little:  The whole pet fostering process is for the animals.  Sure, we humans get the pleasure of raising, feeding, and playing with the little ones; but for them, it’s about the extra space outside of the confines of cages.  It gives the kittens and puppies a chance to grow without the chaos which goes on with an overabundance of homeless animals that the Humane Society so graciously takes in.   In this instance, these kittens were just shy of 3 weeks old when we got them (which is way too young to be “fixed” and put up for adoption).  

In addition to this, our place isn’t big and we already have two relatively large 11-year old felines (shelter cats from my days in California).  The one thing we do have is a computer room looking for some occupants not to simply use it for its wondrous technology.    This is where the world of pet fostering meets everyday life.  We had the room and time; the humane society had the occupants.   We began fostering awhile back and as much fun and excitement as we have watching each group of kittens grow, their 8-week old birthday comes with a once-in-a-lifetime gift…the neuter process (it is also that day where we officially say goodbye to our temporary guests.)

The first comment I usually get from friends and family about fostering is somewhere around the ballpark of, “I couldn’t possibly do that because I would want to keep all of them”.  That’s so very true.   I had a difficult time with our first batch but that sadness turned quickly into bliss when I saw them all get adopted to wonderful families the day after surgery.   It was that moment it hit me….we couldn’t possibly provide the space that each kitten deserves.   You’ll be amazed how large a kitten is at 8 weeks compared to 3 weeks.   During the latter, they wobble their fragile bodies like a New Years’ reveler at 4am.  Up is down, left is right…where’s the bathroom again?  Right now, we have to struggle to keep these guys from sprinting out of the room, down the hall, and out to the rest of the universe (like the same reveler, only 8 hours earlier as he/she looks forward to Times Square that night).   It’s time for them to have a real home, with a real territory (you know cats are like that), with a real house to run (you also know the cat rules the house).

Ever since I felt that 'I should’ve had a V-8’ moment, the process has become a little easier.  Key word being “little”.  I’ll always have a spot for each kitten we foster.   I can even show one good scratch mark from every one of them as proof. 

As I wrap this up, a good baseball term popped in my mind.  D’Arcy and I are the middle relievers.   We weren’t on the mound to start the game and we just don’t have everything we need to be the big time closers (a larger space plus we have two veterans demanding playtime everyday).    We fall right in the 6th, 7th, and 8th inning relief stint…someone to take the game from the start and keep the win in place for the closer to save.    

Anatasia and Nico are getting surgery today and should be looking for a closer at the Lexington Humane Society Wednesday (Leia is still too light in terms of weight -- so we are fostering her longer.  Fate perhaps? More on that in a later blog).  

 We’d love to see them adopted together as brother and sister.   Even more important, we’d love to see them find a good home with loving ‘parents’ who will give them all the great things they deserve.

We’ll miss you both! 

 

Todd

 

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