Often, the ASPCA receives orphaned or abandoned Pit Bull puppies, and we know it’s important that they learn puppy manners and human socialization immediately. That’s why we sometimes send these canines off to Canine Kindergarten with very committed foster mom, Marisol. We chatted with Marisol, a pre-K teacher who is studying to join the animal welfare field, about her experience as a foster mom.
ASPCA: What brought you to the ASPCA?
Marisol: About seven years ago, I decided I wanted to volunteer with animals in a shelter. I searched around and up came the ASPCA. After all the necessary training, I started volunteering at the shelter, at off-site events and ultimately at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. My volunteer work became a full time position as an animal care technician for two years. I left to return to school, but my heart and passion always were with the ASPCA.
ASPCA: How long have you fostered with us?
Marisol: I have been fostering for the last three years, and this year has been my puppy year! I have also opened my home to cats, kittens and puppies, and mother cats and their litters.
ASPCA: Who was the most memorable foster? Why?
Marisol: During one of my shifts at the hospital, a batch of orphaned kittens came in for a health check in the early morning, just as I was about to leave. I immediately fell in love with them and wanted to help them personally. I asked if I could and before I knew it, I was taking home five three-week-old kittens.
The experience was so rewarding; I cared for them for three months and watched them grow. I knew from that experience that if I could help and give love to one animal at a time, I could make it possible for them to be loved the way they deserve to be in a forever home.
ASPCA: Has the foster program enriched your life?
Marisol: The program has made me more appreciative of the unconditional love these animals give us. I have become more attuned to the wants and needs of not only my own animals but those who come and stay with me. They need exercise, mental stimulation, obedience training, and above all love and to feel loved. I also take all that and apply those principles to the students in my classroom.
ASPCA: Has fostering offered any other benefits to you?
Marisol: I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge by volunteering and working with animals. And because I continue to learn so much, fostering is my source of motivation to immerse myself in the veterinary field and work with animals full time.
ASPCA: What’s the most challenging aspect of fostering?
Marisol: Cat-proofing and puppy-proofing your home! Keep anything valuable safely guarded. You want to maintain a safe environment for your foster pet.
ASPCA: Anything else you’d like to tell potential foster parents?
Marisol: Enjoy the time you spend with your foster animal. You don’t get that time back so make it count! You should feel proud that you want to bring an animal you don’t really know into your home, into your life and into your heart and love them as if they were your own. When you give them back, a part of you goes with them and that time you put into them goes with them into their new home. Not every animal gets an opportunity to be loved, and as a foster parent, you get to give that love.