Foster hero feels helping an animal through a rough stage of its life is extremely rewarding

Note: This story was originally published on Jan. 12, 2023

In the last year and a half, Kathleen "Kitty" Wisneski has fostered eight dogs and five cats. As a traveling bartender based in South Tampa, her ability to foster animals for extended stints at a time is often limited. Despite her busy schedule, she still makes time to welcome pets into her home for days or weeks at a time.

A pup named Blackie

Her passion for fostering began when her mom emailed a picture of a pup named Blackie that needed serious help. Blackie's owner had recently passed away, leaving the 12-year-old dog alone, struggling with a skin condition, and recovering from a brain tumor. Though her mom was unable to take Blackie in, Kitty was up for it.

Blackie had several medical needs - including medicated baths and multiple doses of medicine a day. Even though Blackie required extra care, Kitty credits her time with him as one of her most precious foster experiences. She feels that helping an animal through a rough stage of its life is extremely rewarding and often quite revealing. Kitty pointed out that it's when animals feel comfortable and content that their true personalities begin to show.

"There's always a moment in the first week or so when a dog will melt into you. They melt into your lap knowing that they're in a safe spot. You can tell that they're happy to be there and relaxed. They start sleeping like a rock." For Kitty, bringing a pet into her home and watching it come out of its shell is deeply moving and intensely gratifying.

Foster success

Kitty has helped six of the animals she's hosted find their forever homes while under her care. A large part of her success comes from sharing pictures of foster pets and tidbits about their personalities on social media. To further spread word of a pet's availability for adoption, she has a harness that her foster dogs wear when they go out with her. The harness has the words "adopt me" on it and always gets the dogs lots of attention.

One of Kitty's favorite things about pet fostering is that it is not a time-consuming commitment. She enjoys the flexibility of the program and the option to host a pet for an afternoon, a weekend, or a week. She also appreciates that the Pet Resource Center consistently matches her with compatible friends - usually pets that are older, housetrained, and not in need of vigorous exercise every day.

She also finds joy in knowing that she is caring for disadvantaged animals that require special attention (often due to medical issues or disabilities). Sadly, these pets often get overlooked by potential adopters. However, by creating personality profiles for animals with unique needs, Kitty's efforts go a long way towards finding special pets their much deserved forever homes.

Image Caption: Kathleen "Kitty" Wisneski enjoying a night out with one of the many dogs she fosters from the Pet Resource Center.
Last Modified: 2/12/2024, 2:21:12 PM

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