Fostering Furry Friends

Junior participates in program to care for animals from shelter


Hope Brown, Features Editor

Although many families own pets, not every family has multiple pets — or a new one every few weeks.

Junior Brooke Rowland and her family have fostered puppies and kittens through Wayside Waifs for the past five years.

The Foster Care Program provides temporary homes for animals who are sick or injured and is a resource when the shelter doesn’t have enough room to provide adequate care for all pets.

“A lot of times, Wayside Waifs will be overfilled with too many animals,” Rowland said. “It’s best for the puppies and kittens to grow up in a good environment. It’s not good for them to be in a cage too much [at Wayside Waifs].”

When a dog or cat is available for fostering, Wayside Waifs contacts foster parents through email.

“Sometimes they’ll send out an email to all foster people, and sometimes they’ll just send it to us,” Rowland said. “We told them we’re interested in puppies because one of my dogs passed away.”

Rowland said she usually fosters puppies and kittens until they’re 8 weeks old.

“The youngest kittens we’ve ever gotten were 2 weeks [old], so you bottle feed them,” she said. “The youngest puppies we’ve gotten were 5 or 6 weeks [old].”

After an average of two to four weeks, the fostered animals are put up for adoption.

“There’s some days when they have a big fostering [event], and they’ll get adopted within the first five minutes we drop them off,” she said.

Rowland said she recommends fostering if someone is frequently available to care for the animals.

“With puppies, they can nap for an hour,” she said. “Then when you have them out, they’ll need to pee immediately and 15 minutes later. With kittens, we’ve had them out in the basement with a litter box, and they’re self trained.”

Rowland said although she likes cats, she enjoys fostering puppies more.

“Sometimes when you get really attached to animals, it’s sad to bring them back,” she said. “People always ask if I cry about it — no, I’m fine.”

After recently fostering two puppies from the same litter, Rowland and her family adopted one of them, Clover.

“They’re basset hound mixed with a shepherd,” she said. “They kind of look like a rottweiler and have dark markings. They’re so cute.”

Although Rowland isn’t sure if she will pursue a career involving animals, she said she plans to foster in the future.

“It’s really impacted my life because I like having the idea I can get a random email and know I can have puppies for a temporary amount of time,” she said. “It just makes me happy.”