Foster fail: A term of endearment within the rescue community; the foster parent can’t imagine their lives without their foster animal, and adopt the animal themselves.
Jill and her husband have worked in rescue for years. They’ve had so many fosters over the years that at times it can be difficult to remember all their names.
“Animal rescue is a wonderful cause to support but it has its drawbacks. You quickly realize that the plight of homeless animals far outreaches your neighborhood, your county, your city, your country. It is global. Billions of animals – feral, stray, abandoned, helpless, hopeless, sick, hurting, cold. Billions. That is when the “I am just one person” mentality sets in. I am just one person. What can one person do against insurmountable odds? Once most people reach this point – they're done. It's discouraging. They've thrown their hands up in the air and given up because they feel they can't FIX it. And they're right. One person will never ever be able to save everyone. It is a sad realization but once you get past it, it's a lot easier to focus on what you can do,” Jill states. And Jill and her family certainly have conquered that discouragement that can be common.
Jacob was special from the start for Jill. She’d always had a soft spot for the lanky boy cats, and they seemed to have a soft spot for her, as well. But she and her husband were determined to just foster, and not adopt. Jill’s husband was especially strict about this. “He's good at fostering,” Jill mentions. “He loves those kits, but he understands he will have to let them go to new homes and he's genuinely happy for them when they find new families. I am genuinely happy too, of course, but fosters leaving for their furever homes never happens without a few tears on my part.”
Jill’s foster cat Jacob was unique in that he didn’t show indifference to his human companions. While the majority of cats like their independence, Jacob just wanted to be close to Jill and her family. “A closed door is an invitation for him to sit on the other side and sing you the song of his people until you relent and let him in. I think it's adorable!” Jill describes of Jacob’s need to be near his humans.
Jacob has the sweetest tendencies – he happily plops into Jill’s lap, content as ever. He will nuzzle each member of the family and purr warmly at them to convey his love. “Looking at him now you'd never guess that not long ago he roamed the streets alone and hungry,” Jill says of the beautiful cat.
Despite the mutual love going on in Jill’s household with Jacob, Jill knew she couldn’t keep him, and so persistently tried to find him the best home. “If he couldn't be a part of our household permanently then I would work extra hard to make sure he had an excellent furever home,” Jill says. “I wrote a bio for him and helped him get featured in a few newsletters. I took him to many adoption events and always helped him put his best paw forward when people showed interest in him, but still no one applied to adopt him.”
Then, on February 2, a wind of change came. As Jill was pulling out the cat carrier, Jacob began to fuss. He always did when she tried to get him ready for adoption events, and her husband would come and help get the troubled cat into the carrier. “But this time,” Jill explains excitedly, “instead of helping me get Jacob into his crate, my husband said, ‘He wants to know why you keep taking him to meet people. This is his home.’ And I melted.”
The decision had been made. After years of fostering, Jill and her family had foster failed on Jacob.
“You can't save all of them,” Jill says, “but you can save one. Right now... today... you CAN save one animal. You never say, ‘I only saved one animal.’ You say, ‘I SAVED ONE ANIMAL.’ I ran across a quote years ago that perfectly summarizes animal rescue for me: ‘Saving one animal won't change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal.’ That is my goal – to change the world for one animal, one at a time. Like my Jacob.”