Fostering a homeless animal is always a form of changemaking. Just by the act of taking an animal into your home, sharing your world, and offering your care, you are making a statement. And by being willing to give that animal up, when he or she finds a home, and then take in another, you have given those animals a chance at life that they would not have otherwise had in a crowded shelter. And if you let others know that you foster, you are spreading the word that animals deserve to live.
A number of shelters around the country, including the San Francisco SPCA and New York’s ASPCA, offer a very special type of foster care which, perhaps, make an even more powerful statement about the value of animals’ lives. In their “fospice” programs, they find foster homes for terminally ill animals who would otherwise have to be killed, even though they still have some quality time left on this earth. The message of this program is loud and clear — each life matters.
Does saving these animals make sense? For one thing, they will require veterinary care. For another, their foster parents will have just gotten comfortable with them, and come to love them, when it’s time to say goodbye. And in a world with too many animals, we obviously need to prioritize and help those who have the most to gain. So yeah, a good argument could be made that it makes no sense at all.
Competing against all of these perfectly valid arguments is the fundamental fact that each life matters. So I admire those who are able and willing to take in these animals and ease their final days. But I hope that when they do so, they don’t keep it to themselves. Let the world know. Then, perhaps, the message that this act of compassion carries will reach others who need some lessons in how to think about animals.