A day in the life of a foster volunteer

By: Sabrina D’Orazio Egan – Foster Volunteer

My relationship with the GTHS began about 3 years ago when I received a notice that they were in need of a Cat Food Fairy volunteer. Cat Food Fairies are volunteers that come in very early in the morning to feed the hungry kitties at the GTHS Animal Centre. I thought to myself, “do I really need to watch my kids at the crack of dawn swim laps for 2 hours at every single Clippers’ practice? Heck no!” Truth be told, I would ALWAYS choose petting a cat over… well, anything. So, I signed up! Two years and two kitten adoptions later, it was time to take back my mornings as my eldest was getting her G2 license imminently, and was now able to drive herself and siblings to practice. Sadly, this meant giving up my GTHS position. Little did I know, that merely weeks later, fate would set me up to do something I always dreamed about…FOSTERING!!

The COVID pandemic in early 2020 brought life as we knew it to a halt. For our family, with three active kids, it meant no more skiing, no more swimming, no more dancing, no more momma running on fumes in three places at once. At home, with no place to go, I wasted no time filling out a foster parent application form and strategizing with my kids on how we were going to get dad on board. The latter is a story for another day, but as you can guess, it worked! Two days later, I brought home our first foster litter to the delight of my kids. We fussed and poured all our love into those kittens. It was, by far, the most memorable and enjoyable part of that original lockdown…although our actual cats refused to speak to us for several months after that.

Fast forward to lockdown #3, and we are on our fourth foster litter (we quickly switched to puppies because, well, our cats…) and it has continued to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. But, it’s far from easy. Some less favourable parts of the job include:

1. Pee & poo schedules, and amounts, colour & texture become a part of regular conversation.
2. There’s a lot, I mean A LOT, of accidents to clean up.
3. My home smells like a zoo (see previous two points).
4. In hopes of a better smelling house, we potty train by bringing everyone outside every hour (or less) for 5 minutes or longer depending on how quickly they figure out why we are outside.
and….
5. Say goodbye to full night sleeps (’cause, well… babies)!

None of this is a deterrent for me though. I love watching my family come together to care for these fosters. I love watching the fosters’ individual personalities slowly blossom as they settle into our chaos knowing they are safe. I love watching my dog & cats befriend them. I love training and watching them adapt to life in a family friendly household. Of course the very best part of all is snuggling, cuddling and loving them. All of this is worth the millions of tears we shed when we have to say goodbye and they go off to their new homes. But, we do this knowing they will have an amazing life, and we helped make that happen.