Animal Foster Parent Speaks Out

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Editor:

This is in response to the (letter) entitled "Animal sanctuary needs our support." This (letter) upset me very much, due to the negativity that the writer portrayed toward the humane society.

I have a few questions for Ms. O'Neil:

First, how did you know that there was a bag of kittens left at the door of the humane society?

Second, if you did know that they were kittens and you were so concerned about them ... why didn't you take them?

Third, how many kittens and puppies have you fostered for the Payson Humane Society (or time have you donated to them)?

The humane society is always asking for volunteers and donations.

We are a foster family (my mom, sister and myself) for the humane society and also for the animal sanctuary. We foster kittens and puppies.

Right now we have a mother and six of her puppies (they are the lucky ones, they have their mom). All puppies and kittens need their mom's milk in the first five to 10 days to survive.

The last group of puppies we had was (a litter of) seven and they were 4 weeks old when we got them. We had them for three weeks and had a two-day break and then accepted this latest group of little loves.

Prior to this, we fostered kittens, six of them that were adopted the minute they were neutered/spayed and given all of their shots.

Not all of the fostering turns out so great. Many times the animals are so young they don't make it, even with all the love and attention a person/ group can give them.

We had 6-day-old kittens that survived for two weeks and then all of a sudden died.

They died in our hands wrapped in towels and heating pads, while we held them and tried to keep them warm, and encouraged them to take the tiniest eye-dropper of powdered kitten formula. We had to put them in the trash barrel and cry ourselves to sleep having nightmares of what else we could have done. Then (you have to) get up and go to work in the morning.

That happened to 11 of them. But when you have a success there is nothing like that joy.

I also have to disagree with your assessment that the mother wasn't feral. Feral kittens are able to be caught, because I have one at home right now that someone asked me to foster.

There are ways to establish if kittens will survive or not. Unfortunately, not all newborn kittens will survive, feral or not, they need mom's milk for a certain amount of days.

Caring for the kittens and puppies isn't easy. It is feedings every two to three hours, lots of laundry for the blankets and towels, tons of paper towels for the little "oops," the potty training (either the potty box or the back yard). With no financial compensation (so we aren't in it for the money).

But there is nothing like the gratitude of kitten purrs, puppy licks and puppy breath.

It is hard to take them back after six to eight weeks, but when you find out that they are all adopted you know that you had a part in all of it. It's very gratifying.

So, Ms. O'Neil if you would like to meet sometime, I would be more than happy to challenge your attitude toward what sometimes has to be done.

If you read the brochure of the animal sanctuary you will also notice that they will euthanize animals due to incurable medical conditions.

So I suggest that you get your facts right before you point fingers. Also I would appreciate an answer to my questions that I have posed to you.

Kathie Larson, Payson Humane Society foster family; Animal Sanctuary member

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