Tarlan is one of our superstar foster caretakers. Since November of 2007, she has fostered 61 animals in her home—including 11 at once—and has served as one of our most prolific “shelters outside a shelter.”
Born and raised in Nottingham, England, Tarlan moved to St. Louis, MO, for high school, and subsequently attended Princeton University to study economics. She now lives in Manhattan and works for a risk management company. In addition to volunteering with the ASPCA, Tarlan also contributes her time to the Audubon Society, Project Safe Flight and Tribute in Light, which monitors and prevents migrating birds from getting caught in the beams of light projected in honor of September 11.
“I grew up loving animals,” says Tarlan. “I had cats and a rabbit as a child, and loved playing with the neighborhood cats.”
Still, loving animals and opening your home to groups of them are a different matter entirely. “It’s a madhouse!” Tarlan laughs. “But one I’d never change. It’s such a wonderful and rewarding experience. The kittens adore you and look to you as an example. They want nothing more than food, warmth and love, and they return the affection tenfold. Plus, kittens provide hours of entertainment.”
She continues: “Bud was one of my favorite fosters. From an underweight runt who had to be force-fed, he grew into a gorgeous, loving kitten, who would jump up to greet you when you called his name. I think he thought he was a dog!”
Another character was Quagmire, a kitty with a head fetish. “He had a funny habit of sucking on my hair,” says Tarlan. “I’d fall asleep to the sound of him sucking away happily. Every day I woke up with chunks of hair standing up at funny angles—I knew exactly who to blame!”
Tarlan adds that the day-to-day fostering experience is rewarding, but the most fulfilling moment is when she reads the ASPCA’s monthly e-mail listing the animals who’ve been adopted. She says: “I feel that I’m being rewarded for my efforts—raising, socializing and teaching the kittens—by seeing them go to loving homes that are going to treasure them forever.”
The ASPCA is working on cloning Tarlan—or at least finding more dedicated fosters just like her to help with the program. She has done amazing work for the ASPCA, and we are so grateful for her dedication and commitment, and for being the hostess with the mostest of her very own kitten bed and breakfast!