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June is National Foster A Pet Month, a time to shine a spotlight on the incredible impact that fostering can have on animals in need and to celebrate the dedicated individuals who open their hearts and homes to these pets. This special month not only raises awareness about the importance of fostering but also encourages more people to get involved in this rewarding experience.

One such inspiring individual is Jane Urbanski, a Customer Service Representative at Family Friends Veterinary Hospital. Jane’s journey as a foster pet parent is a testament to the difference one person can make in the lives of countless animals. With years of experience and a profound passion for helping pets find their forever homes, Jane has fostered numerous animals, including three dogs from the Great Lakes Golden Retriever Rescue and at least 11 rabbits from various organizations such as the Humane Society of West Michigan, Harbor Humane Society, Kent County Animal Shelter, and Bunnies-R-Us Rabbit Adoption and Rescue.

Jane with her “foster fail” Kayley from the Great Lakes Golden Retriever Rescue

A Heart for Animals: Jane’s Story

“I have the room, the time, the patience, and the passion for animals and the various non-profit organizations who are working so hard to find them forever homes,” Jane says. Her dedication to fostering animals comes from a deep love for pets and a desire to support the organizations that rescue and care for them.

Jane admits that fostering isn’t always easy, especially when it comes time to say goodbye. “Twice I’ve been a foster failure – meaning I failed at fostering because I adopted one rabbit and one dog myself!” she shares with a laugh. For many foster parents, the term “foster failure” is a badge of honor, indicating the deep bond that can form between a foster pet and their temporary family.

Jane with Bennie, a foster from Bunnies-R-Us, who’s been adopted.

The Rewards of Fostering

Despite the challenges, Jane finds fostering to be immensely rewarding. “It’s hard to see a foster go on to a new family, especially a pet who’s become a part of your family and who’s been in your home for several months,” she says. “But you feel good knowing you’ve helped those pets learn their basic manners, get the care they need, and helped prepare them to go on to loving homes.”

Jane’s current foster dog, Millie, who came from a puppy mill, exemplifies the transformative power of fostering. “The foster dog I have right now came from a puppy mill, and needs so much help just learning how to be a dog,” Jane explains. Providing a safe and nurturing environment for such dogs is crucial in helping them adjust to a new life and learn to trust humans.

Kayley (left), and Missy, Jane’s current foster from Great Lakes Golden Retriever Rescue

Why Foster?

Fostering pets offers numerous benefits not only to the animals but also to the foster families and the broader community:

  1. Saving Lives: Shelters and rescues often operate at full capacity. By fostering, you provide crucial space and resources for more animals to be rescued.
  2. Personal Fulfillment: The emotional rewards of fostering are immense. Knowing you played a part in giving a pet a second chance at happiness is deeply satisfying.
  3. Improved Adoptability: Foster homes help pets adjust to home life, making them more adoptable. Pets in foster care receive more individualized attention, training, and socialization.
  4. Community Support: Fostering fosters a sense of community and shared purpose among animal lovers, uniting them in a common cause.

Jane with her “foster fail” Kayley from the Great Lakes Golden Retriever Rescue

How to Get Involved

If Jane’s story has inspired you to consider fostering, there are many ways to get involved. Reach out to local animal shelters, humane societies, and rescue organizations to learn about their specific needs and foster programs. Many organizations provide training, resources, and ongoing support for foster families.

National Foster A Pet Month is the perfect time to start your fostering journey. By opening your home to a pet in need, you can make a lasting difference in their lives and experience the joy and fulfillment that comes with being a foster parent.

In celebrating National Foster A Pet Month, we honor the selfless individuals like Jane Urbanski who dedicate their time, energy, and love to helping animals in need. Their stories remind us of the profound impact we can have when we choose to open our hearts and homes to foster pets. So, why not take the leap and become a foster parent today? Your next furry friend could be waiting for you!

If you are ready to start your Fostering Journey and are in the Grand Rapids area, we highly recommend checking with these rescues:

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