Shirley Chan
This is writing…

Getting them on their feet

by Shirley Chan
(Rotorua Daily Post, SPCA insert)

For every ounce of love given, an equal amount of satisfaction is guaranteed

As any mother knows, raising children involves the giving of oneself. You feed them, train them, prepare them for life ahead on their own as best you can, love them more than you thought you could, hurt when they scrape their knees… then comes the dreaded day when you have to let them go… out into the big, wide world, on their own, without you.

When the young ones leave, you experience a deep sense of satisfaction… for you have given, loved, protected, allayed their fears, earned the rust and love of the now secure, healthy beings who are ready to be independent of you.

It leaves you with a deeply satisfied feeling of accomplishment, unsurpassed in every way, of having done a good job… a satisfaction that comes not only from a pat on the back or reward of any kind. It is a satisfaction that comes from knowing that your wards are ready and able to be on their own and walk securely through their lives because of your love and care.

The SPCA’s Foster Care Programme offers you a similarly unique brand of incredible satisfaction. The SPCA provides food while the foster parent takes the babies home, provides care, love, socialisation and basic obedience training. Fostering period is approximately 10 weeks or when the weight reaches 1 kg, whichever comes first. Normally a pair or kittens or puppies is fostered in the same home to enable socialisation.

Too many kittens and puppies are abused, abandoned, orphaned, left in plastic bags, trash cans, rubbish heaps or by the roadside. Others survive murder attempts, drownings, with yet more abused in unspeakable ways… all of them incapable of defending their right to live, to find and learn there is kindness in spite of their bad start in the wrong hands.

A foster parent is a person with a lot of love to give. A foster parent is a giving, caring and committed person who enables these young babies to have a good chance at life. A foster parent has a big heart which overflows with kindness, compassion and love.

Karen Rolfe volunteers her heart and soul to foster kittens and is responsible for the SPCA ambulance one night a week, going to the aid of injured animals no matter how unearthly the hour. She says most of her callouts are to road accidents; a sad reflection on the carelessness and unthinking behaviour of some people.

Karen fosters because it gives her “immense satisfaction” to see poor, scared kittens grow into confident, happy kittens, ready to be re-homed. It is good grounding for children in foster families too. They learn responsibility, caring for others, to give and also to nurture. In return, they get a buddy to confide in. Most of all, children experience the unique satisfaction that only giving from the heart can achieve.

Affable Lois Galliers is excellent with animals and is often found on Saturdays mornings from 10am, at the Ngongotaha Dog Run. Lois runs puppy and dog training classes. She fosters both puppies and kittens. In her understated way, Lois says she loves the experience of “seeing them turn from mangy bits to healthy things”.

The SPCA needs you to foster because there is not enough room at the shelter. Fostering is good for the heart and soul. Fostering is a win-win arrangement. Fostering keeps good, innocent kittens and puppies from death’s door. There are no losers in volunteer fostering.