I returned to the UK from spending two years in Sydney, Australia, having transferred from the UK with my job in the IT and telecommunications sector.
Before going to Australia I had two lovely dogs and a cat. I have always loved animals but have suffered with allergies for most of my life, which I seemed to have passed on to my youngest daughter so I have had to be very careful with which animals I have in the house!
My pets were all rehomed when I went abroad as I was unsure as to how long I would be overseas for and felt the emigration requirements were too difficult for my uncertain venture, but when I was settled in Sydney, I found I missed having the company of pets and also the exercise I got walking the dogs!
I decided to help with a small charity group – NokillPet rescue, which helps rescue dogs and cats that are on the put to sleep lists, from the pounds in New South Wales and rehomed them.
I was shocked as to the number of animals in the pounds that were not there for behavioural issues and the policy of the pounds is to put these animals to sleep after a period of time; not such a common practice in the UK now, thank goodness.
At Christmas 2008 I began with a blind fox terrier who quickly learnt to follow the sound of my footsteps around the house. Incredibly she found a home within a week with a lady who was disabled herself; a kindred spirit so to speak!
And so it began! During the next eighteen months we made many trips to the pound, and on one occasion, we set out in three cars to collect three dogs from a small pound in the blue mountains, and I returned with an English mastiff, a mother cat, her four kittens aged five weeks, and a month old kitten who was also in tow, and my ever suffering daughter! We managed to rescue all the animals from that particular pound on that occasion.
In the eighteen months I had fostered and rehomed about eighteen dogs and six cats, as well as working full time!
When I returned to the UK I felt I would like to continue working with animals and whilst searching for a new job I was unable to commit to a permanent pet but wanted to be able to help improve the lives of some. After browsing the internet and making a couple of visits to other organisations I contacted the Welwyn/Hatfield District Cats Protection to offer my services.
I found all the people involved – Pam, Bev, Rolf and later Glenn and Helen, to be friendly, helpful and, most of all, caring about the cats.
So what has fostering involved for me? Well, I have shared my home with many cats now, normally one or two at a time, all with different personalities and levels of temerity. I feed them, cuddle them (when they will allow it!) and watch them play and build up their confidence before they choose their new permanent home. And cats really do choose their owners! I have been surprised by how they take instant likes or show indifference as they wish! But I guess, like people, there is someone for everyone, you just have to find them!
My reward has been seeing timid and scared creatures come back to life and find a better future, which outweighs my sadness at them moving on.
So, how little or how much you do when fostering is up to you, and the WHD CP team will support you all the way. Whether you can commit for a short or long time the team will be happy to hear from you!