The idea of fostering an animal for Lowell Humane Society had frequently piqued my interest, but I often second guessed the time that I had to care for one and the emotional strength, or lack of, to return it to the shelter when it came time for adoption.
Like many, my working environment quickly switched to a hybrid situation in 2020 and I now had additional time at home to care for a foster. As an LHS volunteer, I answered the call for foster homes when the shelter was quickly filling up with small animals and returned home with guinea pig brothers Archie and Milton! These boys, a little timid at first, quickly made themselves comfortable by chasing one another around the cage, squealing in delight when they heard the refrigerator door open with the hope of green vegetables and cuddling with me. Archie and Milton were a big hit at my virtual book club and during my family’s virtual Thanksgiving celebration! I realized how quickly I enjoyed their company and started to doubt my ability to return them when it was time. After many tears and plenty of research on how to emotionally prepare yourself to surrender your foster animal, I came across the well-published knowledge that for every animal I fostered, I was saving two lives since it cleared up space at the shelter for another animal. I faced every day reminding myself that I was successfully socializing and preparing them for their new home. When the day came for me to bring Archie and Milton for the meet and greet with their potential adopters, I left my house feeling strong, shed a few tears on the way and walked into LHS knowing that they were going to bring another family as much love and entertainment as I experienced.
Although 2020 was a year with many challenges, I had the positive experience to foster animals that I would not have been able to do otherwise and I realized that I did have the inner strength to be a foster parent!
Thank you to new foster mom, Alicia Amico, for sharing your experience with us!