Volunteer Spotlight — Valerie Custer
Valerie has been fostering animals for the VBSPCA since 2012, and she has helped us save the lives of over 150 animals! Fosters play a very important role in the VBSPCA’s mission, and we are very lucky to have dedicated fosters who allow us to increase our capacity for care. Read the article below to discover why she got into fostering, how her life has been impacted, and learn about a foster who had a special impact on her life.
How did you get started with fostering for the VBSPCA?
I started in 2012 and I was a mom with two little kids. My oldest was two at the time and I didn’t want to go back to work at the time. I have always loved animals and I had the opportunity to come here and foster. We had three kittens in our first batch and I loved being able to let my kids learn how to handle young animals. It’s kind of like really fun babysitting, you get to help these kittens become big and strong so they can find families to love. Just being able to say “I raised a good kitten” is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life.
Your family fosters three adorable blind kittens. How did you decide to bring them home?
The first time I saw the blind kittens my family and I were in Disney World. I saw the fostering email and I gasped. I kept seeing more emails come in our entire trip. I was confused as to why no one wanted them, so I said to my husband, that if they were still there when we came back we would take them. I immediately came to the shelter to see them when we got back and when I picked one of the kittens up, he immediately started climbing on me and cuddled into my hood.
What has fostering taught you?
Patience. Hands down. They’re not capable of doing anything on their own, and they don’t talk. You have to learn their body language and help them discover how to navigate the world around them. You also have to be ready for whatever life can throw at you, and there’s no time limit on caring for these little nuggets.
Any foster animals that have made a special impact on your life?
We had one, Kermit, who came to us with two other kittens. Kermit is a foster fail. He had so many issues starting out. When we picked him up, he had sticks in his stool. Kermit even ended up developing megacolon due to all of his digestive issues. But just when we got him figured out, he needed to come back to the shelter. His other two siblings were totally fine, but he was so tiny, and I couldn’t in good conscience let him go to the shelter environment where it would stress him out. He only lived for three years, but he was the best smelly cat there ever was.
If you are interested in fostering or volunteering in any other area of our shelter, please visit www.vbspca.com/volunteer for more information.