My name is Rosa Enriquez and I am the Foster Care Coordinator at BEBHS. At the end of March I began working at BEBHS as a Shelter Services Assistant. Unfortunately I was still living in Santa Cruz and had to commute the 2 and a half hour drive in the rain in the morning and night. But – it was definitely worth it. Right away I could see how passionate everyone was about saving the animals. After about two weeks of being hired I finally got an apartment in Berkeley. The first night I moved in, I took home my first feline foster – Halifax. Halifax is about 8 or 9 years old, almost completely toothless, and very sassy. Everyday my partner and I were falling more and more in love with her. We continued to put her up for adoption each weekend, and, each weekend she hardly got looked at. On the fifth weekend we were suppose to bring her back for adoptions my partner and I decided that she had become too much a part of our home to go anywhere else and we adopted her.
This was my first introduction into the foster program and, of course, I had foster failed. Foster failing is a term I use to describe fosters that end up adopting their kittens or cats after the fostering period. It happens often and we’re very happy our feline friends get to be with a family that really loves them. Even if you are only able to foster a few times, it really makes a difference in how many lives we can save.
As I got to know the organization more and more I became aware of how important the foster program was to maintaining our cat population. After the fire of 2010 we lost almost 80% of our building and our entire on-site cat housing. This means we simply do not have the capacity to house cats here like we used to. It is essential that we have fosters for our kittens and cats to live with during the week. If we didn’t have fosters we couldn't rescue as many felines as we do.
I became more dedicated to the rescue of our cats and became more heavily involved in the foster program. Four weeks ago I came into the position of Foster Care Coordinator. It is the first time since the fire that we have had a position dedicated to our foster program. It is my goal to grow and enhance the foster program. We will always need fosters – the more fosters we have the more cats we are able to save. Fosters will also become more involved in the adoption process of their felines through the use of photos, videos, and biographies when they have time. I hope to create a successful program that is able to save even more felines!
Now that our Kitten Nursery has temporarily closed until we rebuild, the foster program is how we are able to intake underage kittens. These range from ‘bottle babies’ (age 0-5 weeks) and kittens eating on their own (5 weeks and older). Kittens need to live in a home environment in order to become happy, healthy, social adult cats. Once the cats reach the golden 2-pound mark they are able to be spayed or neutered and put up for adoption.
Adult cats also need foster homes to go to during the week when our adoption hours are closed or those that are awaiting medical procedures. Adult cats can be somewhat harder to adopt out so you may have them anywhere from a week to a few months. Many times we do not know the history of our adult cats so they may need a little more time to adjust to their new foster family home.
I really encourage you to foster – it’s giving an animal a new chance at life and the ability to change the life of a human! My Halifax, now renamed Fatty – not due to her size but do to her love for food – is one of my most treasured things in life. Without BEBHS and our foster program I never would have had the chance to meet her! If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is my first blog post and I promise to keep all of our BEBHS supporters updated on the exciting new activities (and animals to adopt) we are experiencing! Without you we could never save animals!