Imagine looking after an animal for a few months, earn their trust, feed them, train them, love them. And then they’re gone. Off to live with someone else and you’ll probably never see them again……………….
If you’re reluctant to foster a bird (or any animal) for a rescue centre because you’re afraid it might be too hard to let them go, then you’re not alone. It’s not easy…at all! I’ve had a lot of people assume how much “fun” it is and often they find it hard to believe that I actually do love the birds as much as I say simply because I am able to let go of the ones I foster. But I remember every one of the birds I have fostered, I remember their history and the day I first met them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love fostering because I love learning from the birds, every one of them is unique. But I would hate for someone to go out and become a foster “parront” without knowing what to expect. So I think the best way to do that is to make a list of all the pro’s and con’s (from my point of view).
- Shelters need the space, one animal being adopted/fostered out means one more animal they can save.
- It provides the animal with a temporary loving home environment, perfect opportunity to work through possible bad behaviors and earn their trust.
- Time. Okay so this might not apply to parrot rescues (certainly not ones I know of), but a little more time to find a new home can literally mean the difference between life and death for some animals.
- Learning experience. That was my main reason for becoming a “foster parront”, the opportunity to learn from the different species and personalities.
- It can be FUN! Because….do I really need to explain how birds can be fun? And what’s more heartwarming than when a rescued animal reaches out to you? Uh…nothing!
Now for the con’s.
- Most rescued (rescued, not rehomed) animals have been abused in some way at some point in their lives. Understanding that that takes time to work through is very important, if not vital, to the animal’s recovery. In most cases, it might take more than just love to win them over.
- Letting them go…well, that sucks. Plain and simple. However eventually you start to understand that your involvement is like a stepping stone in that animal’s life (a very, very important stepping stone that is). What they learned from you will now be carried over to the next person, even though they might not trust that individual they do know they can trust people.
- …….Okay I ran out of con’s.
The key is going into it with the appropriate mindset. When I took in birds I KNEW I was just going to foster it was easier to let them go again. I never thought of them as mine. But I have fostered two birds in the past where I got carried away, referred to them as my own, I introduced them to my family, took thousands of pictures of them…but in the end, it was outside of my control. I don’t think of those two as fosters who left, I think of them as birds I’ve lost. Till this day I have trouble talking about where things went wrong…
So in conclusion, fostering is; fun, frustrating, heartbreaking, heartwarming, educational, unpredictable and totally worth it!
P.S in case you’re wondering, those “two birds” mentioned are in fact the ones pictured throughout the blog post.