Category Archives: Foster Pets

May 18

Welcoming a New Dog

Having fostered more than 40 dogs and puppies and taken a course in canine behavior, I’ve learned a lot about how to acclimate and bond with pets joining a household. So when my bestie called to tell me that she would be adopting a one-year-old rescued Dachshund and wanted advice, I decided I should write […]

April 23

It happened

“It’s going to happen. It’s just statistics. If you foster long enough, you’re going to lose one and it won’t be your fault. And you can’t beat yourself up about it. Kittens are fragile and so tiny that we can’t see heart defects, congenital abnormalities or even viruses. Sometimes even with 24 hr/day vet care, […]

December 03

Old Year’s Resolutions

I’m not gonna lie to you. This has been a really tough year for our country and for me personally. Although it’s been a great year for our business, and for that I’m very grateful, I had a lot of illness including two hospitalizations and three friends of mine died this year. A few years […]

October 05

Exercise, comedy and kittens

Repeat after me: Exercise, comedy and kittens. These are the three things that will prevent you from losing your freaking mind in the next five weeks until Election Day. Let’s break it down: Exercise is a must. Not only because all of usĀ  will inevitably be nervously eating leftover Halloween candy on Election Night but […]

August 07

Pet Blessings

My friend and minister Britt asked me last week to bless pets at our church service today. She knew I was “an animal person” but I warned her that I would cry because I’m always moved by the relationship between people and their pets. She assured me that “tears are holy things” and not to […]

November 17

How to have a good day

Last week I had just finished my last teaching gig of the year and was sitting at the breakfast table wiped out. Bill was in Tennessee finishing his last teaching engagement and I had piles of laundry, stacks of contracts and dozens of emails that needed responses. The travel and deadlines had caught up with […]

September 16

In a Blink

I loved Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking about the power of gut reactions to situations that can’t always be explained but are often correct. Gladwell writes about the biology behind these instincts and how important they were to survival as we have developed as a species. He also chronicles the […]

August 25

The Confident Friend

It’s been about 5 weeks since we began fostering Caddy, the 7-year-old Schipapom (Schipperke x Pomeranian mix) on the left. She was very ill with Canine Influenza (CIV) and at one point had to return to the shelter for emergency care. Her prolonged battle with CIV mirrored the struggle PAWS Chicago was having containing this […]

May 06

Diary of a Kitten

Having fostered 18 kittens in the past 11 months, we’ve noticed that many tend to follow a certain schedule. Here’s a sample of the schedule our last two followed. 5:03 am: wake up and pounce on foster parents’ toes under the sheets, biting toes to practice killing prey. 5:04am: chase each other steeplechase-style over the […]

April 20

In His Tracks

[Note: the above dog is not the dog described in this story as I was not able to photograph him while walking per PAWS protocol but is a foster we had last summer.] I volunteered yesterday at PAWS for a bit and ended up walking a big, beautiful 40-50 lb very energetic puppy named Thatch […]

April 18

Bag Lady

I had an important realization a few weeks ago while I was walking one of our foster pups: I used to carry a Coach bag. Now I carry a poop bag, I thought. Given the choice between the two, I’d take the poop bag because with it comesĀ  love.

April 12

Help from Her Friends

Dear future owner of Skyy, I want you to know how many people loved and cared for your barely 3 lb. kitten before you took her home. First there were the intake people who brought her and her newborn siblings to PAWS. There were the vets who evaluated her, gave her vaccines and the assistants […]

April 07

Straining at the Leash

I took one of our foster kittens to PAWS Chicago because a bulge developed over the weekend near the wound from her spaying surgery. After emailing photos of the bulge the vets decided they needed to feel it to see if it was a hernia or swelling from the incision. While I was waiting a […]

March 22

The Hissy One

We picked up our friends’ two cats yesterday for three weeks of crisis care while our friend Bob’s immune system recovers from cancer treatment. Having fostered 26 cats and dogs since last June, we’ve learned a lot about reading the behavior of animals to new environments. When we picked up these cats, the kids in […]

March 08

Standing (or Peeing) Your Ground

Our foster pup Marathon loves to walk around our neighborhood and gets at least three walks each day. As today is our last day with him and the sun was out I took him on a long walk in a different direction. As usual he stops periodically to sniff and then sometimes to lift his […]

February 27

Best Week Ever

Yesterday we took our very affectionate foster cat Vizio back to the shelter for his neutering surgery and his next round of vaccinations. Today he’ll arrive at the adoption center, which is very likely to be the best chapter of his two years of life. We brought home another foster for the next 10 days, […]

January 26


We took our foster kitten Hayden, who had recovered from her cold, back to PAWS Chicago for her spaying and to find her forever family at the Adoption Center. We returned home with two mixed breed puppies, a male and female — probably about eight weeks old, for the next week until they too are […]

Small Miracles

Hayden, our three-month-old foster kitten, has an upper respiratory infection. You know the stuffed up, can’t breathe out of your nostrils feeling? It’s particularly problematic for kittens as their little sinuses clog easily and it compromises their sense of smell. Unlike humans who eat with their eyes and noses, felines only eat with their noses. […]

January 04

10 Truths Learned from 19 Foster Animals in 6 Months

We take back sweet little Bonema the Chihuahua today. She came to us a scared, emaciated two-year-old a week ago. She was our last foster animal of 2014. We began fostering in June 2014 shortly after saying goodbye to our 17-year-old cat Mies, whom we found with his siblings in a community garden. The kittens […]