Thursday, October 16, 2014

When fostering hurts...

Prada snuggles with two of her kittens.
Over the past 10+ years that we have been fostering animals, I have said goodbye to literally hundreds of fosters. At almost any given point in time, we have a fluffy litter of kittens running around, with the occasional foster dog or adult cat. My most recent group of fosters has been a wonderful little crew. Prada came into the shelter with an adorable litter of six very little kittens. She was placed in our kitten nursery at the shelter, where things run a little slower and the area is quite to keep the families a little less stressed. Even with an amazing staff and calm nursery, the shelter is not a great environment to raise babies and it was fairly obvious that Prada was not comfortable in the shelter. 

Prada nursing her babies shortly
after arriving to my studio.
On one of my weekly trips to update photos for the cat area, I stopped in to say hello to the nursery kittens and decided to take Miss Prada back to my studio, where she had a little more space to raise her family. Once at the studio, Prada made herself at home and relaxed. She felt safe and comfortable for the first time in several weeks and she showed that appreciation to me every day. 

Over the past 2 months, I have become so attached to my sweet momma and although I knew the time would come that she would go up for adoption, I wasn't as prepared as I expected. For the first time ever, I cried on my way to the shelter to drop off a foster. 

Today, Prada will get spayed and once she is on the road to recovery, she will be placed up for adoption. I may never see her again once she moves on to her new home and as much as that hurts, I know that without being fostered, there is a chance she could have lost her kittens, or worse, her life if the shelter had become too overcrowded. 

I volunteer with an amazing animal shelter. We are an open admission shelter, which means we take in any animals that come through the doors, no questions asked. We save nearly all of the healthy and adoptable pets that enter our doors, but that doesn't mean we don't have rough months where our kennels are all full and that dreaded kill-list could go up. 

As hard as saying goodbye has been today, I know that Prada was given a better chance at life because she came to live with me while she raised her family. Seeing her love and devotion to her kittens is an experience that I cherish. Prada has been a wonderful mother and I know that by letting her go, I am giving her the chance to be babied herself. 

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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