Foster Spotlight: Molissa Farber
While most of us would call fostering animals charitable or generous, Molissa Farber has very different ideas.
“It feels very selfish because I enjoy it so much,” says Molissa, who has been fostering for BARCS since 2015.
Her home has seen cats, dogs, kittens and puppies, but, she admits, “I have a soft spot for moms and babies.” In fact, despite fostering around 30 cats and 15 dogs, her only “foster fails” were two kittens and one puppy from litters she helped care for.
The two kittens were littermates, and one was the “runt,” who needed supplemental feeding. That special time created a strong bond between the kitten and Molissa, so she decided that this kitten and a sibling would remain with her. “When I would get home from work she would rush to see me to be picked up and cuddled,” she says.
In the case of the puppy, she too created a special bond with her. Molissa took in a new momma dog and her 10 puppies when the pups were just eight days old. Feeding that many puppies put quite a strain on this new mom, so Molissa, once again, helped with supplemental feedings.
Molissa says with the help of the professionals at BARCS, she learned so much from the experience.
“I didn’t fully understand how important that first eight weeks of a puppy’s life is,” she says. That is when they learn how to be socialized and how to interact with other dogs and people. She found herself emailing BARCS every few days with questions about her fosters, and she notes they were always quick to respond with good advice.
“BARCS is committed to keeping litters together with their moms,” Molissa says. “I never realized how important that was until I experienced it.” While she admits she “didn’t have much of a ski season,” caring for 11 dogs, she wouldn’t have traded it for the world. “It felt like a once in a lifetime experience,” she says.
Another wonderful “perk” BARCS offers is for fosters and adopted dogs to participate in play groups at the shelter, so Molissa took the mama dog so she could take a break from her puppies and have a chance to have some fun.
Molissa has created a Facebook group for the adopters of the 10 puppies and their mom. They even had a reunion recently. The group is supportive of each other and shares experiences, good and bad. “An early post said, ‘did anyone sleep last night.’” Molissa adds with a laugh.
While she is staying in touch with this group, Molissa notes that this is an exception.
“I fade into the background,” she says. “After all, they adopted an animal, not me.” But Molissa is quick to add she thinks about them all the time.
When any of her friends say they might be thinking about fostering, she urges them to give it a go.
“You are a soft landing spot for animals during a very stressful period of their lives,” Molissa says. “It grows your heart.”
“Whatever your comfort level or time, BARCS will work with you to find the animal or animals who are the right fit,” says. “Even if it’s only one cat,” she adds, “you are changing the life of that one cat and are opening up shelter space for another.”