For animals that are shy, fearful or undersocialized, a foster home can act as the perfect stepping stone on the road to adoption. Foster parents provide individualized attention and care that helps pets acclimate to home life, and the ASPCA is so grateful to all the fosters who have opened their hearts to our furry friends. In honor of National Foster Care Month, we’re sharing the success story of one foster feline named Torvald.
Torvald arrived at the ASPCA in March 2013. Found as a stray in Brooklyn, New York, the four-year-old cat was incredibly shy, timid and fearful. He was frightened of toys, strangers, noise and movement, and at the ASPCA Animal Hospital he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. He was the perfect candidate for foster care.
We sent Torvald to live with a foster named Ellen, and she quickly observed many of the traits we had seen at the hospital. “Torvald is a scaredy cat,” she reported. “When a neighbor stopped by briefly, he retreated into his closet for a full day. He is terrified of aluminum foil—even when I just reach for the box—and he runs away when I reach for the oven door.” It was clear that living in a home was a new experience for Torvald, but under Ellen’s care he soon began to improve.
“Torvald has become my buddy,” Ellen stated a few weeks later. “He hangs around with me all day, looks out the window and sleeps on my bed.” She also reported that while he was originally scared of toys, he had begun to explore and enjoy playtime. “I’ve really come to like him. He’s a good cat and he deserves a wonderful home.”
After his transformational experience in foster care, Torvald was finally ready to begin his search for a permanent family. He was transferred back to the ASPCA Adoption Center, and fortunately, it wasn’t long before he met Alix and her boyfriend, Joe.
“I wanted a companion who was independent, clever and loving,” said Alix of her quest for a pet. She and Joe had never been to the ASPCA before were immediately drawn to Torvald. “It was his eyes!” she recalls. “He tilted his head back, looked up, down, left and right, and finally straight ahead at me. He looked just like Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, and I wanted to protect him and give him the world from that one look.” She and Joe adopted Torvald and changed his name to Regimus, or Reggie for short.
We told Alix and Joe that Reggie might take some time to come out of his shell, but she was happy to report that, “after only 10 minutes in his new home, he was taking selfies with us!” She says that although he always has a hiding place ready, he is a loving presence who enjoys when they play hip-hop and R&B music in the house. “What made my heart melt the most was when we called him by his new name and his head popped up, eyes glistening, and he walked over to us. We were on the same wavelength and that moment confirmed that he fell for us like we did for him,” Alix says.
Reggie’s journey from “scaredy cat” to beloved pet wasn’t always easy, but he is living proof that sometimes, a little extra love and care is all it takes. Thanks to an amazing network of behaviorists, fosters and adopters, this is one sweet kitty who is living the “Happy Tail” of his dreams.
When we rescue dogs from lives of fighting, we eagerly await the day that we’ll be able to share stories of their new lives as beloved pets. One such dog is Lucy, a sweet pup who was one of 367 dogs we rescued from a multi-state dog fighting ring in 2013. On the dog fighting property in Alabama, Lucy had been left to suffer in extreme heat with no visible fresh water or food. After her rescue, she received veterinary care and behavioral enrichment from the ASPCA and was later transferred Bully Project, a local rescue group in New York City. She was ready to find her perfect forever family, and a few months later, Peter and Anthony stepped in to fill that role.
“Anthony and I had been looking to adopt a dog for three years, but constantly found ourselves in a state of transition that made owning a dog difficult,” says Peter. After settling in Harlem, New York, the couple began to browse adoptable pets at New York City shelters and rescue groups. Their landlord introduced them to Bully Project in April.
“When we were shown a picture of Lucy, it was love at first sight,” says Peter. “We met her the next day and decided there and then to adopt her. Five days later we adopted her into her forever home.”
Lucy’s new life—with a bed to call her own, plenty of toys and lots of love—couldn’t be more different than the life of suffering she experienced before we rescued her.
“Having Lucy is amazing,” says Peter. “This is a first-time experience for both of us, and while there are many things to learn about having a dog—and about Lucy specifically—and there are adjustments we need to make to our lifestyle, we wouldn’t have it any other way. While Lucy can be timid and shy at first, she is incredibly sweet and loving. Watching her personality come out as she becomes more comfortable around us is heartwarming and entertaining all at the same time.”
We’re thrilled that Lucy has found such a loving place to call home.
“We are as excited to come home to Lucy as she is for us to come home to her,” Peter says.
It’s National Foster Care Month, and we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight an exciting way to help animals in need. If don’t have the capacity to add a permanent furry friend to your household, becoming a pet foster parent is a great way to pitch in. By fostering a dog or cat, you’ll free up crucial space in your local shelter and you’ll help pave the way for that animal to find a loving home.
At the ASPCA, we rely heavily on our volunteer animal foster caregivers, who create “a shelter outside of our shelter” in their homes for thousands of animals who are not quite ready for adoption. Foster caregivers provide these animals with the time and attention they need while preparing them to find forever homes. As a result, our Adoption Center staff has additional time and shelter space to help thousands more animals.
If you’re in the New York City area and would like to find out more about fostering for the ASPCA, please email [email protected] and visit our foster care page to learn more. If you’re not in New York City, visit our shelter finder to locate a shelter or rescue group in your area that might be in need of foster volunteers.
This Mother’s Day, the ASPCA Adoption Center is offering various adoption specials in the hopes of finding special moms (or dads) for our many adorable cats and dogs in search of loving homes. If you have two-legged or four-legged kids at home already, or you’re considering adopting, now is a great time to expand your family!
From Friday, May 8 through Sunday, May 17, we’ll be offering the following adoption specials:
Cats older than 1 year will have their adoption fee waived
Kittens younger than 1 year are “AOGO,” or, adopt one kitten and the second kitten has no adoption fee
Dog adoption fees are reduced by 50%
All adopters will receive a free custom-engraved heart shaped ID tag
All cats will go home with a free cardboard carrier
All dogs will receive a free collar and leash
As always, all pets are vaccinated, spayed/neutered and microchipped
Not in the New York City area? Visit our Adopt section to find adoptable dogs and cats in your local shelter. Thanks for making pet adoption your first option!
While there are many differences between being a pet parent and parenting a child, we think there are some similarities, too. Here are some of the adorable dogs and cats at our Adoption Center who would love to be your furkid.
Looking for a fun and friendly feline companion? Then Ginny’s your girl. This social cat thinks playtime is the best time. She’d be thrilled to go home with a new family who will spend time playing with her and give her plenty of daily exercise. If Ginny’s not getting enough attention, she’ll look for ways to amuse herself—like pouncing on feet as they walk by. But this pretty girl also enjoys her space and will let you know when she’s ready for a little alone time.
Ginny prefers to be the Queen Bee and should be the only cat in an adults-only home. She would do best with an experienced adopter who is good at reading feline body language. Adopt Ginny today!
Ginny is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting Ginny, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Ginny, please visit her profile page.
Check out the video below to see Ginny play with her friends at the ASPCA Adoption Center.