When Suzi was about to retire, she thought “I’m going to have more time now… What should I do with it?” As a nurse, she loved taking care of others and wanted to continue nurturing lives even in retirement. Having previously adopted from SAFe Rescue, Suzi decided it was only natural to transition to fostering and volunteering.
Seven years and dozens of fosters later, Suzi is one of SAFe’s rockstar helpers. From keeping enclosures clean to sponsoring the adoption fees for special foster kitties, Suzi provides loving care for cats both inside and outside her home.
Why She Fosters
Suzi loves every cat she meets. “Every single cat is unique,” she says. Even a feline with difficult traits has something special to offer, they just need extra time and room to show it. That’s why Suzi’s favorite aspect of fostering is “providing a space where the cats get to be themselves.”
It takes a lot of patience and compassion to monitor the health of a whole litter of kittens, administer routine ringworm treatment, or coax an undersocialized cat out of its shell – all scenarios Suzi has faced. Fortunately, nothing phases her!
“She has a huge heart,” says Michelle Flowers, SAFe Rescue’s Foster Specialist. “So she has a soft spot for special cases.”
It also helps that Suzi’s husband, Jerry, is her right-hand man. When she needs an extra set of hands to distribute medications, track care schedules, or give baths, Jerry is there. Cats need a napping buddy? Jerry’s on it!
Rewards + Challenges
Most fosters start with a low maintenance cat to ease into the fostering process. Not Suzi! The very first foster kitty she took in ended up also being her first “foster fail.” (For those unfamiliar with the lingo, that means Suzi ended up adopting him herself!)
But Suzi didn’t let that deter her from taking on more tough cases. Most recently, Suzi opened her home up to Brigid, whose spinal injury required diligent treatment, supervision, and even diapers. For seven months, Suzi and Jerry looked after Brigid: washing and cleaning up after her, giving her medication, bringing her in for acupuncture treatments, and taking her for walks on her harness. During that time, they also hosted meet and greets to try to match Brigid to a new home.
All that hard work paid off this past October when Brigid (who now goes by Cricket) moved in with her new human companion!
Advice to Future Fosters
To those considering becoming a foster parent, Suzi says “Just do it. The rewards are amazing.”
Suzi sees each day fostering as a new adventure, with its own set of interesting challenges and payoffs. In seven years, Suzi has witnessed cautious cats blossom into loving companions. Though it hasn’t always been easy, it’s worth it.
Like any good nurse, Suzi cares deeply for each and every one of her charges, and it shows. Thank you, Suzi, for your dedication to cats no matter their needs.