Our Featured Foster: Kathy Harrington
Did you have prior foster experience before coming to SG? If so, tell me about it.
We were always cat people and had fostered Mama catswith kittens. Before moving to North Carolina our 16
year old daughter convinced us to get our first dog (puppy) to keep her company. That was 15 years ago.
Do you have any pets of your own? If so, how many and what type?
We have two almost 16 year old puggles. We got one as a puppy and the other from a rescue when he was 2.
Do you typically foster singles, pairs, small litters, large litters, mom with pups and/or recoveries? Why do you prefer those fosters?
We have fostered all of the types you mentioned and enjoyed them all. I try to stay flexible and help out with what is needed, but my soft spot is for the Mama dogs. They are just so grateful for anything you do for them.
What attracted you to Saving Grace?
A friend of mine, who volunteers at Saving Grace, had fostered a few litters and it seemed like something I
would enjoy, so we decided to try it.
How long have you been fostering at Saving Grace?
We had our first litter of 5 in December 2016. We have fostered around 250 dogs.
What made you decide to become a foster?
Our dogs are getting older (us too!!), almost 16, and we want to be able to travel more when we retire. We thought it better, when our two are gone, to not have a permanent dog that we would have to always leave behind, especially if we took longer trips. I always struggle with missing them when I travel. So we thought fostering would scratch the itch of having a dog(s) for companionship, but be able to not have a dog when we want to travel. So we decided to give fostering a try. There is a foster opportunity whenever I want one.
And the Mama does most of the work for the first 3–4 weeks. We just do the laundry and love on Mama and the babies. We have been doing this long enough now that we have a good setup for a large litter, (our garage and a 10×10 in the backyard). When we first started fostering we had them in the house, which worked well too, but not for litters of 9 or 10. Because we work from home we are able to care for them easily.
Do you have a most memorable moment from your foster experience?
Had you asked a few months ago, I would have had a different answer, but our last foster experience was one
that doesn’t happen often. We had a pregnant Mama who had 11 puppies, a record high for us. When the pups were 3 1⁄2 weeks old, we took in an additional litter of 8 orphan puppies(!) so they could have a nursing Mama.
This Mama was fabulous and treated them like her own. We helped out by bottle feeding the orphans several times a day (another first for us, which I really enjoyed) and then Mama had all 19 in with her at night. We had the 19 puppies for 7 weeks, a total foster of 13 weeks from getting Mama to the last one going back, and it just worked out perfectly. We know those orphans had no shot at life without our help, and it was just such a great feeling to see them all grow up and get adopted in their forever homes. The hardest part was remembering all their names!!
Why do you continue fostering?
The need is SO great for foster homes. We know we are saving little lives that might have no other chance. To be honest, it is quite addicting!
What advice would you offer new fosters?
Know that there will be poop! Every puppy/litter is different and some are easier than others. Saving Grace has so many resources to help with any questions you have, and the other volunteers are just super nice people.
I have made some great friends. I always get asked if it’s hard to give the dogs back. I find when I have just one dog, I bond more and it can be harder. But when you remember there is another dog/litter that needs your help, you just feel good knowing that they now have a great home, and you can help the next ones.
What are your hobbies and interests?
We have 6 grandchildren that live close by that we love to spend time with. They are always asking when we
are getting more puppies to play with! My husband and I have always enjoyed gardening and we love to travel or try new restaurants with friends. We are looking forward to retirement when we can do more of that!