My Point of View: SW Discusses The True Cost Of Fostering (And It Isn’t Cheap)

My POV is a supporter submission series on the Calgary Humane blog. Each of our supporters have unique experiences at the shelter and the ‘My POV’ series is an attempt to allow people to tell their stories and give people a fresh take on animal welfare.

SW is a 50-something accounting professional who volunteers her time at the shelter as an experienced dog walker. Her clients include the big brutes, the ones who lack manners, the ones who are overly energetic or the ones who are super shy. SW also opens her home to animals in need and is a foster parent to many. Following the loss of her two beloved canines in the summer of 2013, she made her way to CHS with the intention of adopting a dog. Instead of walking out with a new doggy friend, SW left with an application to become a dog walker. Although she claims to be a dog person, we have recently talked her into fostering cats.

After having a few fosters under my belt now I have a whole new appreciation of the CHS Foster Parents – kudos to you people.

I was wondering – what does it really cost to foster?  You provide the love and care while the CHS provides all the supplies and vet care needed so what costs would you incur?

There are a few costs CHS is not able to cover however……….

  • A foster dog was very interested in watching the TV – of course I turned on the Animal Planet channel.  Oh look – a documentary on wolves – that dog was standing up on his back legs in front of the TV swiping at the wolves before I realized my error. 
  • I laughed at a foster cat’s “miss” when it attempted to jump up on something and failed (I only laughed when I realized it was not injured – only embarrassed).  I awoke at 3:00am to see this cat balanced precariously on top of a small flat screen TV that sits on my chest of drawers.  How is it possible that it even got up there and, more importantly, how is it getting down without knocking over said TV?  I held my breath for a long time – the fact that when I opened my eyes and saw two glowing eyes staring back from a place there should not have been any assisted with my paralysis.
  • Cat zoomies do not bode well for leather furniture.
  • I was trying to rediscover the lost art of crocheting so that I could make my niece a baby afghan.  A foster ninja will lay in wait until you have five rows completed on said afghan before attacking and ripping the project right out of your hands to engage it in a wrestling match.
  • My family laughed at me for using small solar lights as row markers in my garden.  One foster dog agreed and destroyed them all to prevent any further embarrassment.
  • I was monitoring two foster cats, at different times, for house soiling – they both were faithful  litter box users. They seemed to enjoy sitting next to my large plant and scooping the soil out onto the floor – tried to empty the whole plant pot.  So technically they were actually house soilers.
  • Wine glasses do not mix with an overweight feline that does not realize it’s back end does not move as gracefully as it thinks.

The TV’s are both fine (albeit the sun does show a permanent paw mark on one – makes me smile), the plant lived, minor leather damage repaired, I needed the crochet practice, solar lights were from the Dollar Store and I wanted new wine glasses anyways.

You know fostering is for the best interest of the animal – you are helping them.  I have read a couple of comments from new parents who thanked the CHS for looking after their pet until they found each other.  That gave me a warm fuzzy inside as I realized that I was a part of the CHS team that helped an animal until it was united with it’s forever family.

So, in reality, the only cost of fostering is losing a little piece of your heart every time you have to return one of your “kids”.  We have to realize that with each new foster a little bit (hair, fur, feather, scale) is added to our soul.


 Interested in becoming a Calgary Humane foster parent? Learn more today!

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