I’ve been fostering from a rescue for about a year now, started off with Kali, formerly known as Cali, and ended up with Ren and Stimpy. However, I’ve been involved in animal rescue for about 4 years, not accounting for all the animals I’ve taken in from people who couldn’t properly care for them.
How many foster animals do you currently have?
We have 2 at the moment. Everyone is officially ours.
You foster Ren and Stimpy, bonded cats with special medical needs. Is it difficult to care for animals who are special needs?
Fiscally I couldn’t do it without Sarama Animal footing the bill. It is extremely expensive even as anyone whom has had extensive vet visits knows. Their care can be a little difficult at times, and worrisome like any child. However, the reward is far greater than the stress.
Why do you think its so important to foster animals?
It’s important because it offers the animals a quality of life they wouldn’t have elsewise and it alleviates some of the pressure on rescues to house the animals.
What is the best part about fostering?
The best part of fostering is knowing that you can make the world better for at least one life, if nothing else.
I saw recently on your Instagram page that you were working on a TNR project. Can you tell me more about that? Why is TNR so important?
TNR work is crucial because it ensures the quality of life for the ferals. It offers the opportunity to prevent more kittens from suffering, adults from fighting and humans from trying to get them euthanized. It provides the colonies a chance at surviving with the possibility of thriving.
As difficult as TNR can be, the real champions are those out there whom are faithful to colonies, feeding them and trying to vet them. Those cat people have so much love it makes my efforts seem like a sterile lab approach.
As for myself, I’ve officially been doing TNR work for somewhere around 5 or so years and managing a colony in Sunset Park for probably about 6 years. It all starts with a kitten and trying to talk reason to someone whom is not reasonable.
You both (Michael and roommate Cynthia Villafone) seem to be true blue animal lovers. Were you always this way? Was there an event or person in your life that inspired you to get involved in rescue and fostering?
I’ve had animals before I had friends. As a kid I was allowed to care for my first pet in kindergarten. I aspired to be like Steve Irwin but sometimes life doesn’t make work out as you want it to. It started with birds that I’d find with injured wings and making popsicle splints. So I guess you could say it stumbled into my life.
Any advice or words of wisdom for first time fosters?
It’s a beautiful and sometimes heart wrenching journey. You have to be willing to accept the good with the bad, and life can really try to break your will, but one loss cannot stop you from doing your all. We all face loss, and sickness but life goes on. As the adage goes, where there is life there is hope.
Also, if like myself, you have a roommate or partner whom is interested in helping you, scheduling is important when it comes to medication and communicating with your rescue.
Anything else you want to tell us about your foster experience?
I’d like to thank Sarama for allowing us the opportunity and liberties we’ve been granted in helping our fosters. I think everyone whom wants to adopt a pet should consider fostering first. Unfortunately, pets and kids are just not for everyone! Wet your feet before you jump into the ocean.